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Charitable trust shake-up delivers 370,000 to city organisations

15/04/14

Almost 370,000 has been distributed to Aberdeen registered charities following a major reorganisation of charitable trust funds administered by Aberdeen City Council.

City councillors agreed last year to shake up the way in which it administered 52 historic charitable trusts in order to maximise the benefits for registered charitable organisations working in the city today.

Many of the trusts date back hundreds of years and were set up to benefit groups and organisations which no longer exist today. Several were no longer viable and were an administrative and financial burden on the City Council.

Councillors agreed that 39 trusts with funds of less than 20,000, and two with funds in excess of that sum and totalling 99,000 combined, should be closed down and their funds transferred to charities with similar charitable purposes to benefit the citizens of Aberdeen.

The trusts have now been re-organised to benefit Aberdeen Art Gallery Trusts, Aberdeen City Council Guildry and Mortifications Funds, fishermen and seamen, the Gordon Highlanders, religious organisations, social care services, medical groups, children's services, older people's organisations, the University of Aberdeen, and charities dedicated to alleviating poverty.

The first funds have now been distributed to the following organisations:
  •  Aberdeen Seafarer's Centre – 87,501
  •  Instant Neighbour – 81,506
  •  Aberdeen Cyrenians – 55,556
  •  VSA (Voluntary Service Aberdeen) – 55,500
  •  Befriend a Child – 4,877
  •  Aberdeen Street Pastors 3,118
  •  Care & Repair Aberdeen – 5,778
  •  Gordon Highlanders Association – 1,180
  •  Disabled Persons Housing Service – 2,763
  •  Aberdeen University – 16,234
  •  Minnie Cecil Bequest for Aberdeen Infirmary – 5,037
  •  Aberdeen Art Gallery Trusts – 49,329
  •  NHS Grampian Endowment Fund – 77,306

Further applications have been submitted to the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator in relation to trusts linked to the Guildry, which could net 132,000 when reorganisation approval is granted.

Finance, Police and Resources convener Councillor Willie Young said: "The rationalisation of these historic trusts was long overdue and has now resulted in some significant extra funding for organisations which are doing tremendous work for the people of Aberdeen.

"I am sure the individuals who founded some of these trusts many years ago would approve of the careful and sensitive way in which we have gone about the review and would be proud of the fact that Aberdeen City Council is making sure those who are in need benefit from this modernisation."

Among the trusts wound up and their funds transferred to the new groupings are the Booth Coal Fund for the "provision of coal to the poor in the parish of Newhills", the Mary Duthie Williams fund for the "provision of blankets for the deserving poor", the Jean Guild fund for "widows of burgesses and aged virgins", the Alexander Forbes of Morkeu Trust to provide "a summer treat to inmates of Woodend Home (formerly poorhouse)", and the Bedlam Fund for "persons deprived of the use of reason".