Clare Combined Charities?xml:namespace>
The ‘combined’ designation covers five charities which were once individual but which have been managed by one Board of Trustees since 1924.
Nine Trustees, of whom eight are appointed by Clare Town Council, each for a four-year re-electable term, manage the Charities. There is no requirement for a Town councillor to be a Trustee. The vicar of
Church is ex-officio the ninth Trustee. The Trustees between them form two sub-committees.
The Almshouses sub-committee looks after the general upkeep of the three Almshouses in
Church Lane, including insurance, water supply and repairs and maintenance. The Common sub-committee manages the Common and Goosecroft (see below).
The income comes mainly from rents, for the three Almshouses, the allotments and arable land and a small amount from cattle grazing. The Lower Common is currently in DEFRA’s Countryside and Stewardship Scheme and a small annual wayleave is received from EDF Energy. Residual income arises from investments and interest from a savings account. Allotment rents are collected annually each March.
The largest expense recently was the upgrading of the Almshouses. This required replacing windows and plumbing. Roof tiles and guttering need regular attention. Occasionally the Common requires grass topping and each year, before the cattle come to graze, fencing is repaired. The Allotments occasionally require weed control.
There are three of these, in
Church Lane, each consisting of a bedroom, lounge, kitchen and bathroom. By covenant, occupancy is restricted to widows who are (semi)-retired and who have lived in Clare recently for a period of several years. They are not available for widowers or couples. Tenants pay rent each month by standing order.
The Lower Common is not a public open space. It is private land subject to public rights of way across it. It is permanent pasture which (except for 2001 when Foot and Mouth disease restricted cattle movements) has been grazed annually probably for many centuries. It is also an ancient monument with a long history of human involvement.
These form part of the Upper Common and again are private property. A public footpath skirts them but there is no public right of way through them. Allotment plots of various sizes are rented out each year in March. Rent depends upon plot size but is a minimum of £2 per annum. The remainder of the Upper Common is an arable field (let to an agricultural tenant).
For further details on how to obtain an allotment please telephone Stan Perry on 01440 707043.
This dates from the death of William Cadge in 1669 and his headstone can be seen in the churchyard. There are separate Education and Widows funds which are applied, respectively, for education grants in Clare and for a distribution to widows and pensioners of Clare at Christmas time.
This is located between Clare and
Chilton Street and comprises small areas of both grazing and arable land. The income is applied in the same way as that from Cadges Charity.
This Charity has little input into the Combined Charities since it has income of less than £3 per annum.
Two of the Charities, the Common and Cadges Education, have an educational aspect. Grants are available for educational purposes, such as the purchase of books and play equipment but not for school or college fees. Each year the Charities provide such grants to five youth associations in Clare. These grants are not available for adult associations.