Charity for The Benefit of Inhabitant Householders of Parish of Middleham (the ‘Charity’) Charity registration number: 506048
The Council is sole Trustee of the charitable trust which owns various areas of land held for the benefit of the Town’s residents.
Origins and Status
By means of a conveyance (a legal agreement transferring land and other assets) dated 24 November 1925, certain ‘manorial lands’ were transferred to a Charity known as the ‘Charity for The Benefit of Inhabitant Householders of Parish of Middleham’. This conveyance is the founding or constitutional document that sets out the Charity’s purpose and will be called a ‘Trust Deed’ in this article.
A copy of the Conveyance, which is handwritten, has been transcribed into a Word document and can be seen here. Conveyance 24 05 1925
The Charity was first registered at the Charity Commission on 21 February 1977 and a copy of its certificate of registration is shown under the Documents section of this website. If you wish to look at the details shown on the public register of the Charity Commission, they may be viewed here which is a link to IH page on Charity Commission website
Aims of the Charity – and who benefits?
The Trust Deed gives a description of the purposes for which the charitable income may be used: it’s very simple – “to the use of the Council and their assigns forever in fee simple Upon Trust for the benefit of the inhabitant householders of the Parish of Middleham”. (Subsequently the Parish became a Town, however this change makes no difference to the Charity or its purpose.) In its role as the sole Charity trustee, the Council needs to be satisfied that the expenditure will benefit the inhabitants of the Parish. It is a wide-ranging power but the Council must only act as the Trust Deed directs and cannot apply the charitable funds for anything other than the benefit of the inhabitants of Middleham. Over recent years, Charity income has generally been used to maintain the town: for example, the costs of cutting grass, hedges and tree maintenance have been covered by the Charity.
What are the Charity’s assets?
The Charity owns the following:
- The Low and High Moors
- 12 Acres
- Western Willows
- Lowlands 40 Acres
- The Busks
- Most, but not all, of the cobbled areas known as the ‘Town Wastes’
The Playing Fields and a small area of grazing known as Green Gates are not part of the manorial grounds and are owned directly by the Council and leased to MSCWA.
The conveyance does not specify how the Charity should be managed. In managing the Charity, as sole Trustee the Council observes the following:
- It holds separate meetings when meeting as Trustee. Unlike Council meetings, the public do not have a right to attend the Charity’s meetings or access minutes and agendas although in practice any residents present are allowed to remain in the meeting room. Councillors believe that it is preferable that residents can see how the Charity operates and, except where confidential matters might be discussed, copies of minutes and agendas may be viewed here.
- There is a separate bank account and bookkeeping. The Charity needs to be independent of the Town Council in the sense that decisions about the administration and operation of the Charity need to be taken solely in the interests of the Charity, with a view to furthering its charitable purposes, and for no other purpose.
- The work of the Trustee is supported by the Town Clerk whose principal role is to convene meetings by circulating an agenda, taking minutes, bookkeeping and accounting and providing advice and guidance to the Trustee
- The Charity pays 50% of the costs of employing the Clerk and running the Council’s office.
What is the Charity’s income?
The main income accrues from the lease of the Low and High Moors to the Middleham Trainers Association. Over recent years the annual income falls within the range of £21,000 to £26,000. Copies of the annual accounts and details of all land holdings are within the Documents section of this website under Financial Reports.
Most years the income is largely spend on land maintenance. The Trustee has adopted a grant funding policy available to local groups. The Policy and application process can be downloaded here MTC Grants Policy Nov 18
The trustee can apply for grant funding separately from the Town Council.