The Fund managed by the Foundation awarded £1,771 to the shop to help sponsor its popular Tuesday lunches over the next six months.
Association chair Anne Johnson-Rooks said: ‘We are very grateful for this grant. We are a small community shop, which has recently been diversifying in order to survive, finding it difficult to compete with the likes of Lidl and Tesco without doing so.’
The shop serves a home-cooked lunch in its café area every Tuesday for local residents, many of who are older people.
‘Some of them are in social housing or live alone and welcome a hot meal,’ Anne said.
Volunteers cook and serve up a two-course meal, plus tea or coffee, for £7 a head. People also enjoy the opportunity of meeting others in a comfortable, friendly setting.
Said Anne: ‘We consider that the cafe is a valuable social asset in our little village, which is around five miles from the nearest town. Any profit goes to the shop.’
The shop also serves up breakfast baps on a Saturday and soup lunches during the week.
Two recent visitors to the Thorncombe lunch sessions were Kitson & Trotman Partner Tracy Scammell and Dorset Community Foundation Ambassador John Dean, who were impressed with what they found.
‘It’s not just a meal, it’s the epicentre of the village,’ John said. ‘The volunteers do a fantastic job.’
Tracy said: ‘We were very pleased that Dorset Community Foundation’s Funding Panel chose the Thorncombe Village Shop Association as the first recipient of a grant from our fund. This is exactly the kind of local project we love, because it helps communities by bringing people together.’
Said John Dean: ‘Dorset Community Foundation helps people give back to Dorset to improve the lives of others. As an Ambassador of the Foundation, I’m pleased to see the fantastic benefit to the community a partnership between the Foundation and a well-respected solicitors’ firm can bring.’
The Kitson & Trotman Fund is administered by the Foundation. The fund was set up last year by West Dorset law firm Kitson & Trotman as a way of using unclaimed client balances.
Law firms across the country are often left with unclaimed client balances. This can occur, for example, where all steps to find the whereabouts of a potential beneficiary of a historical trust fund have been unsuccessful due, perhaps, to the beneficiary losing contact with family/friends and even moving abroad. Sometimes funds are actually never claimed by the beneficiary.
Once all avenues are exhausted, firms can pass these unclaimed client balances to a charity which provides the firm with an indemnity to repay the funds in the event that the beneficiary is located.
Kitson & Trotman decided to use a local community charity which gained approval by The Solicitors’ Regulation Authority to donate unclaimed client balances to create an endowment fund where the interest will be used to support community projects.