19th century cash to feed 2014 poor

Money left lying in trust funds set up to help the poverty stricken of Wigtownshire 100 years ago is to be transferred to food banks to help families on the breadline in 2014.

The 30 trusts have accumulated approximately £20,000 in total and as they were not cost effective to manage individually by Dumfries and Galloway Council, the decision was taken by the members of the Wigtown Area Committee to wind up the trusts and distribute the money to organisations with a charitable status.

The bulk of the funds will be given to food banks run by local church organisations as elected members felt these were the most appropriate recipients for money put in trust for poor relief in the parishes of Wigtownshire, mainly by 19th century Galloway philanthropists.

After the decision was taken to transfer the funds, Mid Galloway Councillor Alistair Geddes was dismayed that society was still allowing people to fall though the welfare safety net. He commented: “While I commend unreservedly the efforts of those operating the foodbanks in this part of the world, and supported the Area Committee’s decision this week to allocate them the funding in question, I consider it an outrage and an affront that such action should be necessary in 21st Century Scotland. What have we come to? The existence of food banks in this day and age is repugnant to me.”

Council officers were distributing a percentage of the funds every year but as this meant 20 cheques for £1 being posted out to recipients, the transfer of the trust fund money to charities was advised.

Money in the John Beddie Trust, totalling £154.19, which was specifically put aside by the founder for town improvements in Wigtown will be given to the Wigtown Festival Company on the understanding it is used only to improve some aspect of the town.

Mid Galloway Councillor John McColm quipped: “The people of Wigtown will be delighted to find out that the Beddie Fund is not a mythical black hole!”

Wigtown West councillor Roberta Tuckfield urged that the money be forwarded to the food banks before Christmas to allow special yuletide treats to be purchased for the Christmas food boxes.

Machars Churches Basics Bank and Rhins Churches Bascis Bank handle food bank distributions in Wigtownshire.