Organisation is 25 years old in 2015, and the plan is to break iconic barrier

The Comet: The Stevenage Community Trust volunteersThe Stevenage Community Trust volunteers (Image: Archant)

Let’s make it a million next year – that’s the bold aim set out by Stevenage Community Trust chairman Robert Stewart.

Speaking to guests at the organisation’s annual celebrity lunch, the Stevenage businessman reported that the Trust had given away £84,000 to local good causes over the course of 2014.

But next year the Trust marks its silver anniversary – and during 12 months of celebration he aims to add 25 new members from the town’s business community and give away £100,000.

If that aim is achieved, it will take the amount of money pumped into the Stevenage community since 1990 over the £1 million mark.

The Comet: The Barclay school Big BandThe Barclay school Big Band (Image: Archant)

Mr Stewart is planning a factfinding trip to the United States during the anniversary year to find out more about how trusts work there.

Although Stevenage Community Trust was one of the first to be established in the UK the model has been used in America for much longer – the city of Cleveland can call on a fund endowed with billions of dollars, and the New York counterpart is even larger.

In the USA two per cent of gross domestic product is directed towards charitable causes, he said – the figure in the UK is only 0.7 per cent.

Friday’s event added nearly £10,000 to the coffers thanks to a raffle and silent auction, with support from sponsors Ian Campbell, the Follett Office, Stevenage Packaging Ltd, HRJ Foreman Laws solicitors, Wagstaffs accountants, The Wine Society and Toppers printers.

The Comet: The Stevenage Community Trust volunteersThe Stevenage Community Trust volunteers (Image: Archant)

Young musicians from Barclay School and talented singer Jochebel Ohene MacCarthy, a Year 13 student at the John Henry Newman School, entertained more than 200 guests who also heard from celebrity speaker Garry Richardson, one of the most experienced sports broadcasters in the BBC’s team.

To find out more about how the Trust operates, and how to apply for a grant, call 01438 525390 or visit

The Comet: The Stevenage Community Trust celebrity lunchThe Stevenage Community Trust celebrity lunch (Image: Archant)