Harp Trust at 70
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