ROCKLAND ST MARY POOR’S TRUST
(Charity Commission Reg No. 21399)
The origins of the Trust date back to 1808. Following the Claxton and Rockland St Mary Enclosure Act, commissioners determined that nine acres of land surrounding the Staithe be given to a specially established charitable trust as compensation for the loss of Commoners Rights. The sole purpose of the Trust was to manage this land in order that an annual fuel “allowance” be provided to parishioners in need whose ancestral right to collect fuel from “common” land had been taken away by the Act
The original Trust land, comprising largely of marshy meadow, reed beds and a small area of allotment gardens, was given a new lease of life in the late 20th century when the Staithe area was re-developed with the addition of the existing car park, slipway, quay and grassed areas.
In recent times in addition to the annual “fuel allowance” (now made as a cash “gift” to qualifying pensioners at Christmas) the remit of the Trust has been broadened to provide assistance by way of a grant to any parishioner considered to be in need.
What are the obligations of the Trust?
These are two fold:
• To maintain its assets; and
• To fulfill the charitable objectives stated in its constitution.
How does the Trust raise money?
The main source of income is via Staithe mooring and slipway fees, both from the Broads Authority and private individuals. A small area of pasture on Lower Road is leased to a local farmer. The Trust also leases the Staithe car park to the Rockland Parish Council and allotments on the New Inn Hill site to interested parties.
How is the money spent?
The largest annual outlay is keeping the area around the Staithe and car park neat and tidy (the grassed “amenity” areas cut and hedges and verges trimmed). The next largest cost is an annual insurance policy. Additionally, there is ongoing long term maintenance, for example in 2014 the Staithe jetty was replaced at a cost approaching £5,000 and in 2016 car park repairs, allotment improvements and replacing rotting quay headings totalled nearly £3,000. After asset maintenance costs have been met a proportion is set aside as a “reserve” and the remainder used for charitable distribution. Grants made to individual parishioners are generally, though not always, made after a referral from local social services or other specific organisations such as Help the Aged.
The Trustees are:
Seb Shelton, Chair
Simon Black – Treasurer
Janet Hill – Clerk
These are based on the length of the vessel and are currently set between £11.00 and £13.00* per foot, depending on mooring location. Demand for moorings is high and there is always a waiting list. Parishioners on the list are given priority when moorings become available.
* £15.00 for 2018-19
Plots are rented out on a four year basis. Current charges are £16 per annum per plot.
Occasionally “half plots” are available at a reduced rate.
Situated opposite The New Inn public house at 10 New Inn Hill, the cost to use this facility is £3.00. For details of how to get the key to the gate please contact Keith Saxton, 01508 538622.
How can I get involved?
As a Trustee: Trustees are elected for four year terms and generally meet formally four times a year, giving up their time on a voluntary basis. Beyond the legal requirements set by the
Charities Commission, the only requirement is that the applicant has been resident in Rockland St Mary for a minimum of two years.
As a volunteer: Occasionally Trustees organise working parties to undertake maintenance tasks
from tree pruning to general repairs. If you are interested in helping out, please contact the Clerk.
How to get in touch?
Contact the Clerk:
Tel: 01508 538800
Write to: 4 Bee-Orchid Way, Rockland St Mary, Norwich, NR14 7UJ
Trustees have recently agreed that the South Yare Wildlife Group will manage the area of allotments adjacent to the car park as part of their “Wild Patch” initiative. The area in question has never been cultivated due to it being waterlogged for much of the year. For more
information see the SYWG website http://southyarewildlifegroup.org/ .