Church Fields Charity

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St George's is blessed in having regular help towards its costs, thanks to the Church Fields Charity.

The main purpose of the charity is to to apply its income "for the repair and maintenance of the fabric of the parish church of the Ecclesiastical Parish of St George, Beckenham".

If any income is left over, the trustees may apply it "in otherwise furthering the religious and other charitable work of the Church of England in the said ecclesiastical parish".

Church Fields has made grants towards many projects. In 2014 it provided over £2,800 to fund unexpected costs to upgrade emergency lighting in the church. In 2013 it paid for a major renovation of the organ, at a cost of nearly £25,000, as well as over £7,000 for church masonry repairs.

In earlier years, projects supported by the charity have included a new heating system for the church; refurbishing the vestry and sacristy; and work on the Narthex, kitchen and disabled lavatory facilities at the rear of the nave.

At the church Hall, Church Fields has funded work on the kitchen; dealing with asbestos; and many general improvements. Remember work to fix flooding in the Hall car park? That was paid for by Church Fields.

The charity’s contributions to such projects have run into many hundreds of thousands of pounds.

In addition to major projects, the charity typically contributes as much as £15,000-£20,000 a year towards the routine maintenance of the church, picking up bills for the annual insurance; servicing the heating system; gutter clearing; maintaining the fire and security alarms and lightning conductor; and tuning and servicing the organ. Total available income in any year is generally around £60,000 - helpful, though still far less than St George's costs to run!

In years when St George’s has a curate, Church Fields also makes a contribution towards the cost of supporting them and their families by making available a house which it owns at 37 Rectory Road, near Beckenham Junction station, at a favourable rent.

ORIGINS OF THE CHARITY

The charity started in the seventeenth century, when Sir Edmund Langley gave three local fields to St George's. Two of these were on what is now Churchfields Road and the third was on Beckenham Road. Most of the land has long since been sold, generating capital which forms the charity's investment portfolio.

The charity still owns the field that is used as the Churchfields Recreation Ground. This was let to the local council under a 999-year lease signed in 1905, which still generates the princely sum of thirty-seven pounds and ten shillings in rental income every year!

GOVERNANCE OF THE CHARITY

The charity is run by seven trustees, who are all unpaid. The trustees consist of the rector and two churchwardens of St George’s; one trustee nominated by the PCC (currently David Rogers); and three co-opted trustees who, “through residence, occupation or employment or otherwise”, have special knowledge of the parish – these are currently John Emly (chairman), Ken Maliphant and Alan Duncan.

The charity is governed by a Charity Commissioner Scheme of 3 July 1979, and it is registered with the Charity Commission under registration number 217211.

If you would like to know more please ask any of the trustees, contact the clerk, Chris Porter, or look up Church Fields on the Charity Commission Web site www.charity-commission.gov.uk, where you will find background information and detailed annual reports.