Cabinet urged to merge old funds

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REDUNDANT trusts and charities with assets of more than £117,000 could be merged to help relieve the hardship felt by organisations and individuals in Calderdale.

The council has identified 17 redundant funds, some of which were set up 100 years ago and no longer serve a useful purpose.

It includes an ancient bequest which has an annual income of £3 to help pay for the upkeep and maintenance of an ambulance, which was a council responsibility.

There is £18 in the Norris Memorial Fund and £19 in the Cockcroft prize fund for educational attainment.

A fund set up to maintain People’s Park, Halifax, has nearly £70,000 in the bank and an annual income of £262.

Calderdale Council Cabinet, which has sole responsibility for the funds, has been advised to merge them and hand over responsibility for distributing their combined income to the Community Foundation for Calderdale. Such a move will require the approval of the Charity Commission as five of the funds, including the Mayor of Halifax’s Distress Fund, which is worth £1,750, are registered charities.

Talks have already taken place with the commission, according to the council’s head of partnership services, Ian Hughes.

The new combined fund could attract additional match funding from the Office for Civic Society.

“Initially, it is proposed to set aside £10,000 from the new Calderdale Community Fund to distribute in 2011/12 so that it is possible to make grants immediately,” said Mr Hughes.

The cabinet will decide how to progress the scheme when it meets on Monday.

Other funds include the Bailiff Bridge War Memorial which has a balance of £4,393, which was set up to provide a library and the James Robertshaw Scholarship worth £3,717.

l Is the council right to merge the funds? Email yoursay@halifaxcourier.o.uk