General 109: Local Educational Charity Celebrates Success

Left to right , Cllr Percy Prowse Trustee, Sarah Vickery of the Montgomery School & Wynstream Primary School Federation, and Cllr Rob Hannaford Chair Heles Educational Trust, with the improved and new play equipment at Montgomery School, St Thomas.

The Hele’s Educational Trust was established as a charity by Devon County Council in 1987, with the funds produced from the lease of the former Bishop Blackall School building.  At the end of the lease, when Exeter College indicated that it did not wish to renew the lease, the property was sold, and the proceeds invested to produce income for the Trust’s purposes.  Additional monies from other small, and now defunct, charities and bequests, have also been allocated to the Trust by the County Council to be used for grant giving.

The Trust’s purposes for the application of its income were defined as providing such special benefits of any kind not normally provided by the local education authority for Exeter College, and any maintained schools in the City of Exeter, and otherwise promoting the education of persons under the age of 25 years who are attending, or have attended Exeter College or any maintained schools in the City of Exeter.

Since the changes to education provision brought about by the creation of the Academies system the Trust has been prevented from giving grants to Academies, as they are not maintained by the local authority as defined in the Trust’s terms. But the Trustees are currently in active discussions with the Charity Commission, with the view to vary the terms of the Trust to allow them to give grants to those academies in the city which were previously maintained schools.

Grants can include individual help for children, play equipment, sensory gardens, subsidies for schools trips, projects and events, art and dance projects, computers, disabled equipment, and also musical instruments. Some recent grants have included £25,000 for new play equipment at Montgomery School, and £24,000 for landscaping and play improvements at Ladysmith School.

Exwick and St Thomas County Councillor Rob Hannaford, who has been a trustee of the charity since 2005, and is Chair the trust adds:

“Over the years we have been able to positively help hundreds of local children both individually and collectively, made key and vital interventions into their educational development, and have worked hard with schools, governors, PTA networks, teachers, and parents to enhance and enrich Exeter’s Schools, nurseries and Children’s Centres. It’s been a great privilege for me, and all my fellow trustees, both current and previous, to have done this important work. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Devon County Council for their ongoing support, and in particular our long standing excellent Clerk Joyce Hatton. Now that we are in a new financial year we are looking for new applications, so please come forward and apply.”

If you would like more information about the Trust, or make an application please email  helestrust@virginmedia.com or call 01392 421425.

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