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It is some time since I last wrote about the Steep in Need Charity.

Readers will recall that the three unused allotment sites in Steep – in Steep Marsh, on Ridge Common Lane and by Steep Village Hall – were placed in the hands of independent trustees some time ago. A charity was subsequently set up, with the objects of “the prevention and relief of poverty in the parish of Steep and adjoining parishes”. A website was also set up ( and the charity recently achieved registration (Charity No. 1172000).

The big question is, how do the trustees plan to achieve this “prevention and relief of poverty”? (We spent a long time trying to persuade the Charity Commission to give us much broader objects, but they were quite adamant about the wording). The answer is that we hope to build up a capital fund, from which to make monetary grants to those in need, and we have made a start by offering for sale, on the open market, the old allotment site in Sandy Lane, Steep Marsh.

What next? The first thing is that we are keen to begin making grants, and have already identified possible candidates. Grants will be very small at this stage, but at least we are making a start.  The next big challenge is what to do about the Church Road site, where there is obviously keen interest from villagers and of course Steep Parish Council.  We are well aware of the aims set out in the Steep Parish Plan and we will be working with the Council throughout our deliberations.  I realise that this doesn’t really tell you much, but I hope to able to say more in the autumn.

I suspect that some of you will want to know how we propose to identify those in need, and how do we assess that need? The answer is that we are in touch with various welfare organisations – CABs, churches, schools etc –  and they let us know where our help would be beneficial. The decision on grants will be made by the trustees.

We plan to update the website to reflect these developments.