In 1618, Dr Thomas Edwards made a gift of £20 for the immediate benefit of the poor of Fulham and left £100 to buy land for their longer term benefit. In 2018, we celebrate the 400th anniversary of that gift – from which was to come so much more.
In 2018, we celebrate the 400th anniversary of that gift – from which was to come so much more. Two years later – in1620 – Bishop King left another £20 for the poor of Fulham to be bestowed upon them in “bread, beef and money”. The parish overseers of the poor asked Bishop King’s widow if they could add this bequest to the earlier one and established the principle of bringing together generous gifts to the parish which has enabled trustees over four centuries to make more effective use of these gifts, continuing to relieve need in our local area. We explain some of that tradition and the story of how Dr Edwards and Bishop Kings’ Fulham charity subsequently gave rise to Hammersmith United Charities too in the history section of this website.
In this 400th year, Hammersmith United Charities are looking to achieve these things;
- Firstly, we want to celebrate the diversity of our Area of Benefit and its rich cultural heritage which makes it so distinctive and so vibrant. To do that, we are holding a series of “enigma lunches”. Each one will shine a spotlight on one of the specific communities within our Area. At these lunches we will relaunch a publication first made in the 1980s recounting the memories of migrants to Hammersmith from that area. We will also bring that community together with others to see what spontaneous conversation we might achieve; and we will use the arts to get the conversation going.
- Our second objective is to celebrate talent and enthusiasm wherever it might lie. Under the banner of the Festival of Joy, we will focus this year as much on the positives in the Area of benefit as on the issues and needs. We are supporting the borough’s first disability arts festival in partnership with Hammersmith and Fulham Arts fest and Turtlekey arts and the Lyric as well as many other local organisations including sponsors Stanhope.
- We are also commissioning a new piece of dance from DanceWest to be performed by an older peoples’ dance company which will be shared at our main celebratory event on 6 July. We will focus on the joy of our gardens with a special “gardeners’ question time” event and we will bring joy to all local groups with an additional £50k in the grants budget.
And after 400 years, there has to be a big new idea. Watch this space for news of our new local giving scheme – 21st century philanthropy in the spirit of Dr Edwards and Bishop King and intended to make a deep and long an impact as their far sighted gifts did.