THE OLDEST charity in Stratford is set to shut up shop after helping thousands of elderly residents.
The Mayor’s Fund was founded nearly 100 years ago to provide financial assistance to older people in need. Three times a year pensioners receive a £25 grocery food voucher which is funded by money raised at supermarket collections.
But the charity – which is overseen by the mayor and currently helps 25 people across the district – is set to close this summer with trustees saying other organisations are in a better position to identify need.
They plan to hand the charity’s £10,000 in assets to the Citizens Advice Bureau which will ring fence the money to help older people.
Trustee Kevin Hand told the Observer: “The trustees of the Mayor’s Fund are proud of their record of helping the needy in town and also sad at its closing.
“However there are many more wonderful new charities in Stratford and the trustees believe monies raised can be better managed and targeted by the Citizens Advice Bureau.
“Part of our reasoning for closure is that other charities have more refined structures for identifying need. The need might also be greater than food to include heating, water and other utilities. They can also ‘signpost’ to other charities or council benefits. The Mayor’s Fund relies on recommendations without any mechanisms for establishing the exact scale or nature of need.”
The charity says the highlight of their time helping the community has been when they have chance to visit users.
Mr Hand added: “Beneficiaries welcome both the voucher and human contact often over a cup of tea.
“It’s the knowing that someone is thinking of them that is important to them. It’s the confirmation that our Christmas voucher will enhance, in particular, their Christmas and New Year experience which has been so rewarding for the Fund.”
The current users of the charity will receive a final £25 voucher along with a visit from one of the trustees who will explain the situation. They will also be given a list of contacts or charities and organisations who can help support them.