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By Eric Sorensen, Chairman
THE 1980s and 1990s saw the transformation of the social, physical and economic environment of Newham's Docklands. This was characterised by an increasing determination by central and local Government, and by the public and private sectors, to work together to create a successful economy and community for the 21st century. The rapid growth in the number of residents has been underpinned by major investment in community facilities of all kinds and new employment opportunities.
Successful regeneration and success in business depends on the economic and social health of the community as a whole. This requires financial support for community projects which are vital in establishing stable communities and the development and support of the skills and expertise of local communities. Experience demonstrates that this can most effectively be achieved through partnerships between local employers, key public agencies and local communities. In the decade up to its demise in 1998, the London Docklands Development Corporation (LDDC) worked in partnership with the London Borough of Newham (LBN) and Newham's voluntary sector to run a joint funding programme which offered financial support to community projects and the voluntary sector. To maintain this support into the future the LDDC and LBN, in partnership with representatives of the local community and senior business leaders, established the Royal Docks Trust (London). The LDDC provided the Trust with a core endowment of £2,700,000. The income generated is added to year on year by the London Borough of Newham. This has allowed the Trust and the Council to develop and sustain a grants programme approaching some £200,000 p.a.
The Trust thus provides an essential element in the continuing regeneration of Newham's Docklands. The Trust aims to be truly representative of the communities it serves and positively welcomes the involvement of new members from the local community and from the business and voluntary sectors. I hope you will wish to join with the Trust to work for its continuing success and that of Newham's Docklands.
THE TRUST'S VISION
THE Royal Docks Trust (London) is determined to play a key role in the continuing regeneration of Newham's Docklands. Central to the Trust's focus is the belief that if local community organisations are properly supported they will help to build a thriving and vibrant Newham Docklands community. Funding for such groups is therefore a key objective. The Trust wants also to foster and develop partnerships of local residents, local businesses, key developers and Newham Council. The Trust believes that partnerships of this kind, which bring together the experience, skills and expertise of local residents and local business, also help to secure a flourishing, economically secure community which is not only mutually supportive but also benefits from a lower incidence of crime.
OBJECTS AND AREA OF OPERATION
Royal Docks Trust (London) was established in March 1995 as a company limited by guarantee (registration number 3032232) and registered as a charity (registration number 1045057) with a broad range of objects which in summary are
advancement of education including vocational training
relief of poverty and sickness
provision of or assistance with providing facilities for recreation and leisure
provision of or assistance with providing housing for needy persons, including the disabled and handicapped
advancement of public education in the Arts
preservation, repair and maintenance for public benefit of buildings of historical, architectural or constructional interest
general support of any religious order solely and specifically of its charitable work
improvements to the physical and social environment.
Being a registered charity, the Trust is a not-for-profit organisation.
THE Trust holds the freehold interest in the following properties in its area which are used for community purposes:
The Docklands Equestrian Centre
The Explorer Scout Hut at Eastbury Road
WINSOR PARK MANAGEMENT COMPANY
THE Trust also inherited from LDDC the "special share" in the Winsor Park Management Company Limited.
The Winsor Park Estate is a large housing development built on a site which in former times was a part of the Beckton Gas Works. Investigations by LDDC showed that contamination was present over much of the site including various liquors and tarry products. Surface water ponding across the site was also shown to be highly acidic and contaminated with oil-tar material. Waste products from the gas works were found to a depth of 4 metres and included substances which are both toxic and carcinogenic even at very low concentrations. Many of the contaminants were also corrosive and therefore damaging to construction materials. LDDC concluded that the only viable approach to the reclamation of the area was by a containment system. This had the advantage that no material needed to be removed from site which would be instantly available once the engineering works were completed. In view of the degree of contamination it was felt that the barrier should consist of a minimum of a metre clean imported material with venting and a perimeter drain to allow ground water discharge. The Winsor Park Management Company was set up to monitor the reclamation scheme and LDDC established an Accumulation Fund, held by the management company, to meet any expenditure required in respect of any failure of, or damage to, the reclamation works.
The special shareholder has a responsibility to oversee the conduct of the Company. It has the power to appoint up to four directors of the Company if it sees fit and two such directors have been appointed. The special shareholder is also a joint signatory of the Accumulation Fund account and has a duty to ensure the proper operation of that account.
The fund currently has a value of several million pounds and attracts about £200,000 of interest per year net of tax. It is to be held by Winsor Park Management Company Limited until 11th April 2070, unless it is required to be spent as above or unless an engineer reports that there is no reasonable likelihood of the fund having to be spent for that purpose - such engineering reports have to be obtained every 10 years commencing 11th April 2010. In either event the fund, or what is left of it, becomes repayable to the Trust as the holder of the special share.
The Trust provides the corporate umbrella for a statue for which a group of local people raised the funds over a period of some years. The statue is now in place on the north side of the Royal Victoria Dock, adjoining the western entrance of the ExCeL Exhibition Centre. It depicts dockers at work and thus celebrates the past of the area and many of its people. Apart from taking "ownership" of the project the Trust also donated £25,000 towards the cost. The sculptor is Les Johnson.
The economy is going through a bumpy patch and this is bound to have an impact locally. At such a time it is more important than ever that the Trust should be working hard to help support the local community. Even so, the area is full of opportunity and there is land for development including:
And there are transport projects too. The DLR has been extended to Woolwich Arsenal and work on Crossrail is under way.
The Trust is managed by a board of trustees who are not permitted to profit from their involvement. All give their time freely without payment. Their number may not fall below seven nor exceed seventeen. Apart from two nominated annually by the London Borough of Newham and three positions available to be filled by co-option annually, their term of office is three years but there is no bar preventing them from seeking re-election on retiring.
ADMINISTRATION AND FINANCE
The Trust's Officers are:
Deborah Hindson - Director for Finance, London Borough of Newahm
Grants and Community Development: John Johnson
Investment Advisers: Investec Wealth
& Investment Limited
For grant and community development matters:
The Royal Docks Trust (London)
Registered in England and Wales as a company limited by guarantee: Registration No: 3032232
Registered as a charity: Registration No: 1045057
Registered office: 37 Rushey Green, Catford, London SE6 4AF