The Blue Book
The "Blue Book" is a publication which was given to every household in Dunwich in 1996 to inform the residents of the constitution, purpose and objects of the Trust. The 2012 revised edition is reproduced below.
The Dunwich Town Trust was formed under a Charity Commission Scheme in 1889 to administer the property of the dissolved Corporation of Dunwich. The Pension Charity was founded in 1899 under a separate Charity Commission Scheme to administer the endowments of a charity known as The Hospital of St James and The Maison Dieu. Since then there have been several revisions to both Schemes culminating in the current Scheme, dated 1st January 2010, which amalgamated the above two charities maintaining the original Pension Charity resources as a restricted fund. The charity is controlled by its governing document, a deed of trust, and constitutes an unincorporated charity.
In 1996 the trustees of the Dunwich Town Trust and the Pension Charity published a booklet which was distributed to every household within the Parish of Dunwich to inform the inhabitants of the aims and objects of the two charities, how the trustees were elected and explain how grants were dealt with. This booklet, presented in a small loose-leaf blue folder, came to be known as ‘The Blue Book’.
With the consolidation of the two charities into one, The Dunwich Town Trust (DTT), it was felt timely to update the original booklet but appropriate to maintain much of the historical information which would always be relevant. It is intended that this updated version will be available on the Town Trust’s website whilst hard copies form a part of the induction process for new trustees.
Trustees & Clerk
In accordance with the Charity’s governing Scheme six trustees are appointed by the Dunwich Parish Meeting at meetings held according to the ordinary practice of that body; and three trustees are co-opted at special meetings of the trustees. All trustees serve for a term of three years.
The trustees are required to hold meetings at least twice in each year. Currently they meet at least six times each year. They notify their meeting dates in advance and post copies of the minutes of their meetings on the Parish notice boards. Information pertaining to personal matters is kept strictly confidential to the trustees. Copies of agendas and minutes are available by application to the Chairman
Schedule of Property
The assets or property of the trust known also as its permanent endowment, currently consist of:
- dwelling houses on the Westleton Road:
• 1 & 2 Town House (property of the dissolved Corporation, in the Scheme of 1889)
• 1 & 2 Maison Dieu (built by DTT during 1930s)
• The Spinney (bought by DTT, 1987)
• 1 & 2 Barne Cottages (built by DTT, 2011, with Section 106 planning restrictions which define geographical and financial parameters for the selection of tenants)
- the Corporation Marshes
- land to the rear of No.2 Town house
- the allotment (Maison Dieu Hill and Maison Dieu Hill Piece)
- the old mortuary
- winch and hut tolls
approximately four miles of foreshore and shingle between the northern boundary of the National Trust property at Dunwich Heath to a point close to Walberswick north of Corporation Marshes with all wreckage rights granted under 3 Edward IV (1463).
Despite owning dwelling houses it should be noted that the Town Trust is not an Almshouse Charity.
Property within the restricted fund
The assets of the original Dunwich Pension Charity now fall within the restricted fund of DTT:
- freehold land, about four hectares, once known as Reedland Marsh and Fish House Piece, a part of which is leased out as The Flora Tea Rooms and the car park.
- Gallows Field.
Objects of The Charity
The object of the charity is to further the general benefit of the inhabitants of Dunwich. The trustees are required to manage all the assets of the trust, including the property, and apply the yearly income in furthering the object of the charity in such charitable ways as the trustees think fit, applications which benefit one sector of the community rather than the inhabitants in general would not be approved by the Charity Commissioners.
The income from the restricted fund is to be applied for the relief of persons resident in Dunwich who are in ‘need, hardship or distress’ by making grants of money to them or by providing or paying for goods, services or facilities for them, or by making grants to other persons or bodies who provide such services to those in need. In exceptional cases the trustees may further the objects of the charity outside Dunwich and may apply income from the restricted fund to assist someone who is only temporarily resident or is living outside Dunwich.
Applications for Grants or Relief
The objects of the Charity and of the restricted fund within this are different:
i) A request for financial assistance to help a public purpose which would be for the general benefit of all who live in Dunwich would be granted by the main charity.
ii) Help for individuals in need would be granted from income from the restricted fund’s assets.
Any resident in Dunwich or village organisation can ask for assistance if they have a particular need. Brief standard application forms, for individuals and village organisations, are available from the Chairman.
What is ‘Need’?
The Charity Commission gives advice on defining ‘poverty’ and ‘financial hardship’ noting that:
‘People in Poverty generally refers to people who lack something… which the majority of the population would regard as necessary … for a modest standard of living.’ While ‘not everyone who is in financial hardship is necessarily poor’, thus, for example, an elderly person who owns their own home and is ‘asset’ rich might have insufficient income to meet the costs of a heating bill. Financial hardship might be temporary, due to sudden change in circumstances. The assistance given to individuals should be no more than is actually required to relieve their need. The individual circumstances of each case must be considered carefully. 1
1 Charity Commission document ‘The prevention or relief of poverty’, section C.
Situations in which grants might be given include: help with winter fuel costs, contributions towards costs of tertiary education, one off payment following some crisis, helping towards travel expenses to visit someone in hospital, providing personal alarms, paying towards meals on wheels or personal alarms.
The trustees will consider all applications. Bearing in mind the requirement for the trustees to establish general or individual need, each application for assistance is considered on its individual merits, taking account of the resources available. The Trustees have absolute discretion in making decisions, and may attach conditions. The trustees would welcome information from organisations or persons having knowledge of cases of general or individual need which might not otherwise come to their attention.
Induction of New Trustees
New trustees will be given a copy of this Blue Book, the 1st January 2010 Scheme, the latest annual report, recent sets of minutes, the DTT ‘Grant giving policy’, and a list of the serving trustees together with their terms of office.
They will be directed to the Charity Commission publications:
‘CC3-The Essential Trustee: What you need to know’ and ‘A Guide to Conflict of Interest for Charity trustees’:
or given a hard copy if requested.
Administration and Further Information
Any applications for grants, relief or further information should be addressed to the Chairman. It would assist the trustees if any matters which are to be brought to their attention are notified to the Chairman 2/3 weeks prior to a meeting. However, urgent matters should not be delayed as procedures for emergency relief are in place.
Further information, sight of or copies of the governing documents of the Charities, sight of or copies of Charity Commission publications, can be made available by the Chairman upon reasonable notice. A summary of the charity’s activities and financial history are available on
An eminent local historian, the late Dr Ormonde Pickard, one time Curator of The Dunwich Reading Room and Museum, was invited to present a public lecture in 1989 on the occasion of the centenary of the founding of the Dunwich Town Trust. It was appropriate that it was delivered in the Beach Cafe, situated on what was "Fish House Piece" forming part of the permanent endowment of the Pension Charity. That area, presumed to be the site of the Hospital of Maison Dieu, is protected as an official ancient monument although recent excavations (1996 for the installation of ground drains when Suffolk county Archeologist was present, 2011 by Channel 4 TV Time Team) found no evidence for the existence of an ancient monument).
A copy of Dr Pickard's lecture is included in this booklet by kind permission of his widow Madge Pickard, in whom the copyright is vested. The trustees are indebted to Mrs Pickard for making a copy available, Dr Pickard's opinions are not necessarily shared by the trustees, either past or present. The Centenary Lecture