What is the Stradbroke Trust and what does it do?
In 1994, due to the retirement of Dr Brian Goodge, one of the Practice partners, it seemed as if Stradbroke would lose its Doctor’s Surgery, which at the time was a small and not very soundproofed house in Doctor’s Lane. All medical services would in future have to be concentrated in Fressingfield and this prospect did not meet with much enthusiasm here in Stradbroke.
The Parish Council therefore immediately set up a sub-committee consisting of Peter Smith, Ann Kerr and Reggie Elvin to consider the possibility of building a new surgery on Parish Council land on the Community Centre site. When such a project seemed difficult but nonetheless feasible, two additional people, David Bates and Gerald Jenkins, were invited to join what was to be called the “Stradbroke Health Trust”. The Trust was set up as a charity, completely independent of the Parish Council.
Once an estimate of the building costs had been established, it was decided to appeal directly to the people of Stradbroke for cash donations. Very soon, the sum of £32,000 was donated by individuals and grants of £36,900 were obtained. The rest was obtained as a mortgage from HSBC and construction work was able to start. No money was provided by the Parish Council, just the lease of the site at a peppercorn rent!
The NHS paid a monthly rent for the use of the building and any surplus funds were used to benefit the people of Stradbroke and the surrounding villages. This had been done with considerable success as the list below shows. Additional funds were obtained by further generous donations from individuals and businesses and from a wide variety of grant-giving authorities and charities and the hard work of all the Trustees. With this expansion of interests outside the field of health, it seemed more appropriate to change the name to “The Stradbroke Charitable Trust”.
The Trustees were then Peter Smith (Chairman), Stuart Crane, Roger Turkington, Jane Merritt, Gerald Jenkins and Michael Grigg all living in or very near to the village. It is well worth repeating here that no Trustee has ever received a penny in expenses since the Trust was founded. The running costs of the Trust as regards the Trustees has been precisely zero.
Thanks to so many private donations and help from local businesses, a substantial legacy from Reggie Elvin and grants from many different Authorities and Charities, the Stradbroke Charitable Trust has was able to supply or participate in the provision of the following facilities for Stradbroke:
- Building, enlarging and maintaining the Medical Centre and its garden.
- Constructing the Permissive Path up to the Cemetery.
- Constructing the Fitness Track around the playing field.
- Paying half the cost of the suspended ceiling in the Community Centre Hall.
- Contributing substantially towards the drainage of the playing field and largely managing the project.
- Contributing substantially to the MUGA, the multi-use games area at the School.
- Purchasing the Draper’s Hill Field (with the aid of a loan from HSBC) to use for Allotments and Leisure Gardens.
- Providing access to the site, a roadway and car parking for allotment holders and visitors.
- Overseeing the construction of the allotment area and providing a mains water supply.
- Providing the club shed, a compostable toilet, fruit trees, hedging plants, trees and wild flower seeds for the remainder of the site.
- Starting the work around the donated pond to create a leisure and wildlife area.
- Contributing to the resurfacing of the Community Centre car park.
- Managing and completing ‘The Shed’ a new storage facility for the Sports Clubs and village furniture.
In 2018 the Trust converted to a CIO (Charitable Incorporated Organisation) and changed its name the the Stradbroke Trust. The primary reason for doing this was to limits trustees personal liabilities in the hope that we could attract new trustees. Unfortunately, coincident with the conversion to a CIO the Parish Council demanded an increase in the rent the trust paid from £1200 to £12,500. A very expensive and unnecessary legal battle ensued culminating in the Trust having to surrender the lease for the land and therefore the surgery building. The Parish Council has had responsibility for the surgery since April 2019.
The Trust continues, albeit with greatly reduced financial resource. Our focus has been to ensure the Village Gardens are maintained and in particular that the allotments thrive.
The current Trustees are Roger Turkington (Chairman), Jane Merritt (Secretary), Peter Smith and Mike Grigg. If you have an idea for future projects, please contact any of the trustees and if you might be interested in helping or becoming a trustee please contact the Chairman.