Funding appeal to rescue the Letchworth Settlement gathers pace

PUBLISHED: 08:52 24 June 2020

Settlement chair Pam Burn had originally announced the organisation will be closing down with effect in July. Picture: Google

Settlement chair Pam Burn had originally announced the organisation will be closing down with effect in July. Picture: Google


An urgent funding appeal to save the Letchworth Settlement from closure has received a “very promising” reaction, since news of its imminent closure spread last week.

Last Tuesday, Settlement chair Pam Burn made the shock announcement that the 100-year-old organisation was to shut down with effect, and lay off all its staff.

This past week has seen an onslaught of support for one of Letchworth’s prize institutions, and committee member Nigel Carrick is now “confident” something can be done to keep the Settlement alive for the next generation.

“The Settlement is an essential part of many lives,” Nigel said. “Celebrating a centenary this year has maintained the traditions and ethos of the founders of the organisation. It must not be allowed to fail.”

As it stands, emergency reserves built up by the Settlement will cover costs until July 31, and pay for redundancies.

The committee is asking for urgent donations to see them beyond July 31, which would keep the building open with minimal staffing until autumn of next year. This would give the Settlement “breathing space and confidence” to work out how to develop a future.

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Nigel added: “As an involved community we need to raise a serious amount quickly. This could be done by at least fifty people pledging to give or provide a long term loan of £1,000 or more. Smaller amounts will also be more than welcome allowing everyone to contribute in whatever way they can.”

“It will be an opportunity for us all to support the Settlement in these troubled times and ensure continuity of a great institution.”

If you are willing to help, you should email and title it ‘Pledges’.

Committee members are also actively searching for a small action group they hope might be the leaders of tomorrow – the present committee will be standing down at the end of July.

Nigel added: “This is a great opportunity to be involved in the survival of The Settlement. In particular we need enthusiastic people who are able to give time, may be well-versed in digital technology or have financial and organisational skills – and who will come with ideas and visions for the future.”

Chair Pam Burn said: “We hope there will be a future as we begin to emerge from this crisis. The Settlement will need a new group of trustees and volunteers to make things happen but where there is a will there is a way.

“I hope our members understand and appreciate the dilemmas we have faced and feel strongly enough to get involved in the next chapter of The Settlement story.”

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