Harp Trust at 70

Hertfordshire Life - - FEEDBACK -

In the year the NHS reached 70, it’s worth re­call­ing an­other of our county’s grass­roots bod­ies that has also cel­e­brated the mile­stone. The Harpen­den Trust was formed by a group led by Harpen­den res­i­dent Dr (later Lord) Charles Hill, who in 1948 re­alised there would still be a need for a lo­cal safety net be­neath the ‘cra­dle to grave’ NHS. Just as so­ci­ety had passed some by in the dark days af­ter World War Two, it still does to­day, which is why in a town per­ceived to be af­flu­ent, the trust has gone from pro­vid­ing sacks of coal and help­ing moth­ers af­ford baby prod­ucts to spend­ing £90,000 to­day help­ing with util­ity bills, fur­ni­ture or school uni­forms, or qui­etly help­ing to­wards the cost of an ed­u­ca­tional visit. It as­sisted 433 fam­i­lies fi­nan­cially and in other ways last year, reach­ing up­wards of 1,000 peo­ple.

An­other sep­a­rately re­sourced part of the char­ity has ad­min­is­tered nearly £500,000 in grants to a huge cross sec­tion of res­i­dents. Scouts and guides have had head­quar­ters mod­ernised, play­grounds have sprung up, en­vi­ron­men­tal projects sup­ported. Schools have had climb­ing walls and new li­braries. Char­i­ties have ben­e­fit­ted from im­prove­ments to their Harpen­den prop­er­ties and sports like cricket, soc­cer, swim­ming and bowl­ing have had large grants. It’s not sur­pris­ing, then, that the town is proud of its home­grown char­ity.

Michael Ime­son, The Harpen­den Trust

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