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Harpenden Trust celebrates 70 years of helping people in trouble in the AL5 postcode

PUBLISHED: 12:29 14 November 2018 | UPDATED: 12:29 14 November 2018

The staff who man the Harpenden Trust's office. Picture: Brian Cooke.

The staff who man the Harpenden Trust's office. Picture: Brian Cooke.

Archant

While well-deserved plaudits continue to pour in for the 70th birthday of the NHS, another organisation which helps people when they need it most is also celebrating its septuagennial anniversary.

Since Dr Charles Hill formed The Harpenden Trust in 1948, its mission has been to help individuals and families who are in need and living in the AL5 postcode.

One mother said of the service: “When I was 17, I had my first son and when I moved into my first flat, I had nothing.

“My mum told me to go and see the Harpenden Trust and they were amazing. They helped with furniture, bedding and also a lot of other essentials to get me started.

“I will always appreciate what they did for my son and I in those early days.”

A 1948 newspaper article said of the trust: “Working together and with 55 local organisations of every political colour, age and outlook, the group who founded the charity were attempting to harness the energy and goodwill of the people of Harpenden to serve the 16,000 people who live there.”

The trust, which now spends upwards of £90k a year helping people, runs two funds: the care fund and the community fund.

The care fund is part-financed by an annual Christmas collection, that raised £53k last year; while the community fund comes from £2.1m from the Abbeyfield Trust selling its Harpenden property a decade ago.

The community fund has since administered nearly £500,000 to benefit Harpenden residents.

Cooking classes for older people, Workers’ Educational Association courses and a new TV for care home residents to watch a Royal Wedding have all benefited from the trust’s help.

The trust’s history has been charted in two books covering its various achievements.

‘70 Not Out’ by Pamela Mann covers the last 28 years and explains why the trust converted to a limited company; how it earned the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service during its 60th anniversary; and how the Abbeyfield benefaction enabled it to help community groups.

Mann followed on from a book covering the trust’s history up until 1990, which was written by former chair Reg Davis and titled ‘A Lifeboat Moored in Harpenden’.

To find out more, visit theharpendentrust.org.uk

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