The Grace Gardner Trust
Grace Gardner was the daughter of a prominent Northallerton solicitor and grand-daughter of a governor of Northallerton Prison. Following her death in 1966, her will bequeathed to Northallerton Urban District Council assets to be used ‘for the benefit of aged and other persons’. The Urban District Council was succeeded by Northallerton Town Council in 1974 and, on 17th November 1980, the Town Council established a charitable trust (registered charity 511030) for the administration of the funds bequeathed by the will in the form of investments, known as the Grace Gardner Trust.
The Trust’s Administration
The trustees of the Grace Gardner Trust comprise three managing trustees and two ex officio trustees, who must be the Mayor and Deputy Mayor of the Town Council. All trustees are appointed for a period of one year. In practice, the trustees are re-appointed (by voting if necessary) at the Annual Meeting of the Town Council held every May.
The current trustees are Councillors Phil Eames (Mayor), Paul Cornfoot (Deputy Mayor), Amanda Eames, Julie Hutson and David Calvert.
Trustees meet a number of times throughout the year; a quorum of three is necessary to make decisions. They are assisted by the Town Clerk & Responsible Financial Officer in respect of the production of annual accounts and fulfilment of the legal requirements for reporting regulated by the Charities Commission.
The Trust’s Investments
The assets of the Trust are invested in the Charities Official Investments Funds (COIF), split between COIF Fixed Interest Fund Income Units and COIF Charities Investment Fund Income Units (variable interest). In addition, the Trust has a current account at a high street bank to enable it to pay administrative expenses and disburse funds. The income of the Trust (the profits from the investments) is of the order of £4-5,000 per year, dependent on investment performance.
The Obligations of the Trust
Schedule 4 of the Declaration of Trust sets out the requirement to use the ‘clear income’ of the charity for the purpose of providing relief for elderly persons in the parish of Northallerton who are in conditions of need, hardship or distress.
Excerpt from the Declaration of Trust Schedule 4
The excerpt shown is transcribed in full below:
- (a) To relieve, either generally or individually, elderly (the interpretation of which expression shall be in the absolute discretion of the Trustees) persons resident in the Parish of Northallerton North Yorkshire who are in conditions of need, hardship or distress.
(b) The Trustees shall apply the clear income of the Charity for that object by making grants of money or providing or paying for items, services or facilities calculated to reduce the need, hardship or distress of such persons.
(c)The Trustees may pay for such items, services or facilities by way of donations and subscriptions to institutions or organisations which undertake in turn to provide such items, services or facilities for such persons.
(d) In exceptional cases the Trustees may grant relief to persons otherwise ineligible therefore who are resident immediately outside the said parish but who in the opinion of the Trustees ought nevertheless for sufficient reason be treated as if resident therein or who are located for the time being within that parish.
How the Trust Meets its Obligations
The Trust meets its obligations in partnership with Hambleton Community Action (Schedule 4 Section 2 (c) of the Declaration of Trust permits the use of a third party organisation as an agent). Hambleton Community Action is a registered charity, founded in 1979, which utilises a network of over 150 volunteers with the aim to enable the participation and engagement of Hambleton residents by offering schemes such as befriending, carer respite sitting, community car and shopping, as well as arranging social activities and offering advice, information and support. Because of its size, reach and the nature of its work, Hambleton Community Action has a strong capability and track record in respect of identifying and supporting local elderly people in need.
The agreement between the Grace Gardner Trust and Hambleton Community Action is described in a formal agreement which is renewed on an annual basis.
Each year the clear income of the Trust from the previous year is transferred to Hambleton Community Action subject to conditions that are designed to ensure that the requirements of Schedule 4 Section 2 of the Declaration of Trust are met in a transparent way:
- Funds must be used to assist persons of 55 years old and over; this age is the criterion used for access to sheltered housing schemes in the UK and is the age defined by the World Health Organisation as elderly;
- Funds must be used for the benefit of individuals resident within the Parish of Northallerton;
- Funds must be used to assist individuals in need, hardship or distress, which can be physical (such as disability or frailty), psychological (such as loneliness or bereavement) or economic (such as fuel poverty, food poverty or the inability to replace or repair appliances). Funds can be used to provide direct assistance (for example the provision of a replacement domestic appliance) but may also be used to provide indirect assistance in the form of the provision of advice and advocacy by HCA staff or volunteers in cases where the ultimate financial assistance may be provided by another organisation (such as Citizens Advice in the case of debt relief, for example). In such cases the cost of HCA staff time or volunteer expenses is borne by the Grace Gardner Trust.
Hambleton Community Action seeks permission of the Trustees in the event that it believes it appropriate to provide relief to individuals who do not meet the above eligibility criteria (as allowed by Schedule 4 Section 2 (d) of the Declaration of Trust) and is unable to provide this relief by any other means.
Hambleton Community Action allocates the funds provided by the Trust to a specific line or cost centre in its budget.
Hambleton Community Action identifies individuals in need, and the nature of their need in relation to the above criteria, using its proven ways of working; any additional administration involving the seeking of permission from the Grace Gardner Trust on a case-by-case basis would invoke administrative costs that would dilute the impact of the Trust’s funds.
Hambleton Community Action demonstrates how funds have been used to the Trustees by means of a written quarterly report, which itemises each case of assistance by (1) age of recipient (2) nature of need and (3) financial spend. Recipients are not named to protect their anonymity. The quarterly report is reviewed at a meeting of the Trustees. Further information on specific cases may be requested as a form of audit.
In the event that funds are underspent in any particular year, then they are carried over by Hambleton Community Action budget.
The performance of the arrangements between the Trust and Hambleton Community Action is reviewed at first meeting following the election of Trustees at the Council’s Annual Meeting and the Memorandum of Understanding is renewed or otherwise.
Northallerton Parish Boundary
Grace Ingelby Gardner was born on 27th August 1895. The only photograph that we have of her was taken in 1911, at the age of 16 or 17.
Grace Gardner in 1911 (in the centre of the three children) with her father in the foreground
She is pictured together with Dudley and Gladys Russell, who went on to become a well-known artist.
Grace Gardner devoted most of her life to public service in Northallerton and was a prominent figure in the Women’s Voluntary Service (WVS) which was established in 1938 to prepare women for civil defence work during World War II (it exists today as the Women’s Royal Voluntary Service or WRVS).
Grace Gardner died on 21st July 1966 aged 70. In her will dated 18th December 1961 she bequeathed to Northallerton Urban District Council assets to be used ‘for the benefit of aged and other persons’. The Urban District Council was succeeded by Northallerton Town Council in 1974 and, on 17th November 1980, the Town Council established a charitable trust (registered charity 511030) for the administration of the funds bequeathed by the will in the form of investments, known as the Grace Gardner Trust.
Grace Gardner’s grave in Northallerton Cemetery
Grace Gardner (1895 – 1966) was the daughter of Ernest Gardner (1860 – 1929), a Northallerton solicitor who was the son of Captain George Gardner, a survivor of the Charge of the Light Brigade at the Battle of Balaclava in 1854 and the governor of Northallerton Gaol between 1862 and 1891.
Ernest Gardner in the 1890s
Ernest Gardner married Cicely Jefferson, the daughter of Northallerton’s leading attorney, John Ingelby Jefferson, and had two children, Dudley and Grace. He became Northallerton’s foremost solicitor and the coroner for the North Riding of Yorkshire, was elected chairman of the Urban District Council (the predecessor of Northallerton Town Council) and brose to become the Commanding Officer of ‘H’ (Northallerton) Company of the 4th Battalion Green Howards Territorials by 1910. He was also one of the most accomplished local amateur actors and entertainers.
Dudley Gardner was commissioned in the Green Howards 1914 and then seconded to the Royal Flying Corps, obtaining his pilots wings in 1915. He flew on the western and other fronts in World War I and was awarded the King of Italy’s Silver Medal for Valour and the Military Cross in January 1918 for ‘consistent and meritorious bravery’. He was Northallerton’s first aviator.
Portrait of Wing Commander Dudley Gardner, 1943
(Air Ministry Portrait Gallery)