~ FROM THE 1st MAY, THE FRIENDS OF WHITWORTH HOUSE’ WILL BECOME ‘THE WHITWORTH TRUST’ ~
‘The Friends of Whitworth House’ was founded some 20 years ago, by a group of women who wanted to provide for the need of homeless young women in Cambridge, for which there was a serious lack of provision. Money was raised to buy and establish a suitable house, Whitworth House, which is now owned and managed as supported social housing by Orwell Housing Association. “The Friends” continue to support the House in various ways, notably recently by raising over £100,000 to support an extension to the House to give a halfway-house to independent living.
Since the new Trustees of “The Friends” took over in March 2016, we have been reviewing the work of the charity. The need to support Whitworth House continues, of course, but in addition we are very aware of the great shortage of provision for street-dwelling women in the cold winter months in Cambridge, and the very great difficulty former residents of Whitworth House have in finding affordable move-on accommodation in such a high rent area. We plan to extend the charity’s work to assist in these two areas in particular, and have already gone into partnership with Jimmy’s Cambridge on a project that will provide independent move-on accommodation for two homeless women in the city.
The current objects clause of the charity reads:
The objects of the Charity are the relief of poverty; more particularly amongst young women normally resident in the City and County of Cambridge needing supported residential accommodation such as that provided by Whitworth House or similar institutions.
This does give us some latitude, but at our recent AGM we voted to make the wide remit of our charity more explicit, by amending it to read as follows:
‘The objects of the Charity are the relief of poverty; more particularly amongst women normally resident in the City and County of Cambridge:
i) needing supported residential accommodation for young women such as that provided by Whitworth House
ii) needing other assistance and support in finding and securing secure and affordable accommodation’.
In accordance with this widening of the role, those present at the AGM also voted to rename the charity “The Whitworth Trust”. Doing so allows us to retain the link both with the House and with the Whitworth family, who are still strong supporters of the Charity.
This name change has been approved by the charity commission, and it will come into effect on 1st May.
At our AGM we said goodbye to two very special and long-serving members of our committee: secretary Ank Rigelsford, and chairwoman Sarah Martin.
Sarah (pictured below, on the left) and Ank have done so very much for the Friends over the last ten years, and we thank them heartily for their generosity and energy!
Tim Wheatley, another very special and long-serving member of the committee, is staying with us for the time being --- not least to help us ensure a smooth transition over to the new group. Tim stepped down from his role as treasurer at the AGM, but we thank him for his wisdom and his commitment to our cause!
The 2017 Annual General Meeting of the Friends of Whitworth House was held on Thursday 6th April.
Our guest speaker was Lord Richard Best (pictured below, alongside our President, David Whitworth, and the Mayor of Cambridge). It was brilliant to welcome a number of guests from local agencies and organisations, and to discuss the future of the charity, and our role in supporting homeless women in Cambridge.
We have a few announcements to make following the AGM : watch this space!