1883 Tilehurst map

Tilehurst Poor's Land Charity

The purpose of this long-established Charity is to provide financial grants to those in need, hardship or distress who live in the ancient Parish of Tilehurst, in other words living in Tilehurst, Holybrook, Theale or West Reading. As the name suggests, the Charity owns land, some of which has been sold and the proceeds invested, so that the Charity's income comes from both investments and rents.

allotment gardens

Some land is let as allotments, and the rents contribute to the annual sum available to help the poor. Although the Charity lets allotments to about 100 people, it is under no legal obligation to provide allotments, and does so as a way of raising money. Under Charity law, the Trustees of the Charity are obliged to seek the best income possible from their investments, and so should always be looking for opportunities to improve the Charity's income.

Victoria Recreation Ground

The Charity also owns the Victoria Recreation Ground in Tilehurst, Reading, which is leased to, and managed by, Reading Borough Council. Were the Council to give up the lease, the Trustees have no authority to manage a recreation ground, and would need to find a new manager or to use the land for another purpose.

The purpose of the Charity is to provide financial help for the poor in the local area and each year it provides around £12,000 to help about 90 applicants. There is no typical applicant, but many live on State Benefits, and may have just been housed by the Council in empty accommodation, with no furniture, carpets or electrical goods. Many applications are from single-parent families who have no support from the other parent and find themselves with an urgent need to replace a cooker or a washing machine, or to buy uniform when a child goes to a new school. Others include small grants toward the cost of further education or retraining.

Some examples of financial grants include:

  • A single mother with two young children who had just left a violent relationship was re-housed in an empty property - the Charity provided her with a cooker, a freezer and a washing machine.
  • Another single mother with four children, the oldest aged six, who moved into new accommodation - the Charity provided bunk beds for the two older boys.
  • A married couple with two young children, forced to move to Reading following racial harassment elsewhere - the Charity helped to provide furniture for the family.
  • An elderly lady in her 90s - received a grant from the Charity for non-slip flooring for her bathroom.
  • A severely disabled gentleman and an amputee - each received a grant from the Charity for new clothes.