The Friends of Woolstone Church was established in 1995 and obtained registration with the Charity Commission in August of that year. The objects of the charity are stated as “to maintain, repair, restore, preserve, improve, beautify and reconstruct for the benefit of the public the fabric of Woolstone Church, its monuments, fixtures, fittings, furniture, stained glass, ornaments, bells and other chattels and its churchyard”.
Initially, The Friends of Woolstone Church was created in order to accept from Erik Penser and his company, Fraxinus SA, the portion of land on the northern side of the churchyard, between the churchyard and Laundry Cottage, Woolstone. This piece of land had been offered by Mr Penser as a gift to Woolstone, but the policy of the Oxford Diocese was not to accept additional land to extend churchyards because they maintained that any such land should become the responsibility of the village and the advice from the Vale of White Horse District Council was that a Parish Meeting was not a fully elected body and therefore it could not accept the land on behalf of the village. Under these circumstances it was agreed that a Trust should be set up with the specific objects of owning the piece of land, maintaining the church fabric and the churchyard.
The Trustees of The Friends of Woolstone Church are the Churchwardens and the Chairman of the Parish Meeting, plus two other parishioners whose names appear in the civic electoral roll. As a charity registered with the Charity Commission, The Friends of Woolstone Church are obliged to make regular returns to the Charity Commissioners, but the control of the funds is entirely in the hands of the Trustees and any funds are not taken into account when the church finances are reported to the Diocesan Administrators.
At the present tine the funds of The Friends of Woolstone Church Trust stand at just under £900 and it is planned to build up a reserve of funds within the Trust so that in due course the object of maintaining the church fabric and the churchyard can become the responsibility of The Friends of Woolstone Church.
As a charity registered with the Charity Commissioners and recognised by the Inland Revenue, The Friends of Woolstone Church is in a position to accept covenants and gifts by Gift Aid which, if these gifts have been made out of taxed income, the Trust is able to reclaim the tax paid at the basic rate on any covenant or Gift Aid donation. This has the effect of increasing the value of any such gift by approximately 30%. Covenants can be for any amount of money, but must be regular donations for a period of not less than four years and Gift Aid donations can be for any amount in excess of £250. Bequests and Direct Legacies to The Friends of Woolstone Church are free of any inheritance tax.
The Friends of Woolstone Church encourages gifts and support from those who are not associated with the church but recognise that the church is the only public building in the village of Woolstone and the preservation of it and its surroundings is important as part of the heritage which should be passed on for future generations.
The Friends of Woolstone Church
Registered Charity No. 1047210