The C J Gallard's Almshouses Charitable Trust [Registered Charity number: 209787] was established in 1906 in accordance with a bequest of the late Mr Charles J Gallard (a
Tunbridge Wells businessman and Chairman of Southborough Council). Mr Gallard's wish was for the provision of 20 flats for the purpose of housing elderly and needy persons from the Southborough area.
Construction of the flats commenced in 1911 and they were first occupied by beneficiary residents on 23 October 1912.
The area of benefice was expanded in August 2006 to include the town and parishes covered by the Borough of Tunbridge Wells, but with preference being given to applicants from Southborough and High Brooms.
The Trust is a non-profit making charity, controlled by the Charity Commission. The Charity's Trustees, who give their services voluntarily, are responsible for administering the Charity and the appointment of beneficiary residents when vacancies occur. A Clerk to the Trustees and an Almshouses' Manager carry out day to day administration and management of the Almshouses' flats and gardens. The Almshouses' Manager lives on site and watches over the health and welfare of beneficiary residents without unduly interfering in their lives or intruding on their privacy.
The purpose of the Redevelopment Project was to enlarge the existing almshouse flats and to provide six extra units.
In 1992 the ground floor flat at the south end occupied by the Almshouses' Manager was enlarged but apart from that the premises were largely unchanged since they were built. The size of the other nineteen units was small [less than 30sq m] and the bathrooms and kitchens were very poor by modern standards. The trustees wished to provide better accommodation.
There were wide gaps between the three blocks of housing and these gaps have been filled in to provide the extra units with the existing flats being extended at the back. There are now also two new communal rooms. The Foresters Room contains a W.C. and a small kitchen area and is available for use by residents as well as for small meetings. The Pantiles Room also contains a W.C. and small kitchen area and has a pull-down bed so that it can be used as a guest bedroom. This is a facility which is available at most modern almshouses to cater for residents' visitors and the Trustees are pleased to now be able to offer this.
The existing flats were not well suited for disabled access but the new flats all have a level entrance. Staircases have been designed to suit those with walking difficulties. There are also lifts which additionally provide disabled access to the existing first floor flats on each side of the new units.
Work commenced on the project in March 2011, following the appointment of Westridge Construction Limited as building contractors, and was completed on time in December 2012. The gardens were reinstated by Hever Landscapes Limited in the early part of 2013. To supplement the Trust's own small reserves, finance was provided by The Colyer-Fergusson Charitable Trust, the Homes and Communities Agency and Southborough & High Brooms Age Concern. In addition there were generous donations from local organisations and individuals, a loan from the Almshouse Association and a bank loan; we are most grateful to all that helped us complete the project.
The C J Gallard's Almshouses Charitable Trust is a very small charity in financial terms and most of the funding for the project was raised from outside sources. The total cost, including professional fees, was about £2.3 million.
Part of the cost was funded by means of a loan and whilst this will be repaid over time anyone wishing to help us reduce the amount outstanding is invited to contact The Clerk to the Trustees [see Contact page]. We are registered for Gift Aid.
C J Gallard's Almshouses - helping the elderly to live independently in the centre of Southborough
C J Gallard's Almshouses
27 Gallard's Close
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