Chichester Welfare Trust merges with others

The chairman of two local trusts, one dating back to 1861, said she was left ‘hurt’ after it was decided to merge them with the Chichester Welfare Trust.

Valerie Gostling was shocked when trustees of the St Pancras Community Association Trust voted to merge with the Elizabeth Johnston Educational Foundation – and for both of them to amalgamate with the third trust.

The merger means the welfare trust will effectively take control of the accounts of its counterparts, which total more than £60,000.

Valerie, a former city councillor, said: “As chairman of the two St Pancras-based trusts, it is my wish that we continue to administer the trusts as we have been doing for the past 15 years.

“The late councillors Colin Tupper and Eva French both were former mayors of the city of Chichester. They worked very hard to restart the dormant charities for the sole advantage of the residents of the St Pancras area.”

Speaking of the Elizabeth Johnston trust which began 150 years ago, she added: “Why should we lose all that history?”

Four members from the two groups have been invited to become new trustees of the Chichester Welfare Trust, joining four existing members.

The mayor of Chichester Cllr Tony French, treasurer of the welfare trust, said he could understand why Mrs Gostling would be upset with the merging of the three trusts. He said Mrs Gostling was invited to a meeting last week to decide the future of the three trusts – but she and one other trustee failed to attend.

He added: “It is very straightforward. There are a number of small trusts but over time there has been very little demand for their services.

“I met with the Dean of Chichester who said it would be a good idea to bring all the small trusts together.”

Cllr French said the majority of people from both trusts thought the merge was a ‘good thing’.

The St Pancras Community Association started in 1948 and exists to promote the ‘well-being and the common good of the community resident’ in St Pancras, which the Johnston Educational Foundation was started by a deed poll in November 1861. It was originally established to provide nurses to the sick poor residents of St Pancras, but the modern objectives of the trust are to assist the education of girls who live in the parish.

They can do this by making grants, to individuals or organisations, which include schools and charities.

The Chichester Welfare Trust is based at Norwich Road in Chichester. The trust can issue cash grants or provision of items such as furniture, bedding, clothing, food or fuel. plus a limited amount of money is held for cases of emergency.