A LOAN to the Chiltern Centre for disabled children in Henley has been repaid — 13 years early.
The charity was given £100,000 by Henley Town Council in 2006 so it could buy the freehold of the centre, off Greys Road.
Under the agreement, it was required to pay interest of three per cent a year in arrears and to pay off the loan in full by 2026.
The charity gave formal notice that it intended to repay the loan on or before September 1 this year and it did so on August 16.
The town council was entitled to claim a further £1,430, the interest for the period from February 22 to August 15, but has agreed to a request from the centre’s trustees to waive this sum.
Ian Reissmann, chairman of the council’s finance and strategy committee, said: “We have got our money back.”
Councillor David Nimmo Smith said: “I want to congratulate the Chiltern Centre for what they have done and for being in the position to do what it wants.”
Councillor Elizabeth Hodgkin said: “I am really pleased that they are able to do this. I think we should congratulate ourselves for having the foresight to lend them the money.”
Councillor Will Hamilton added: “It may be an incentive for others to pay us back.”
Paul Barrett, chairman of trustees, said: “The Chiltern Centre is delighted to be in a position to repay this loan early as a result of a very generous bequest from a local supporter and benefactor.
“Their specific request was that we should utilise their gift to increase the security of the trust, which we feel this has enabled us to do.” The centre, which marks its 10th anniversary this year, has 22 staff and volunteers who provide respite care for more than 85 families of children and young adults with severe physical and learning difficulties.
It raised £350,000 after launching its Building Our Future Appeal in February 2011 when it had low cash reserves and was facing the threat of closure.
The appeal, which was supported by the Henley Standard, was re-launched as the Chiltern Jubilee Appeal in April last year to mark the Queen’s diamond jubilee and reached its target in December. South Oxfordshire District Council gives the centre a grant of £25,000 a year but it still needs to raise £200,000 each year just to keep running.
Among the latest donations were a cheque for £5,800 from the the Gentlemen’s Friday Lunch Club, which meets at local restaurants and pubs about five times a year and has made the Chiltern Centre one of its two chosen charities.
Club organiser Alan Popham said: “A couple of members have children who have had care at the centre and we like to support local charities.”
Mark Staines, from Emmer Green, raised £560 during a sponsored cycle ride from London to Geneva in June and decided to give half to the centre, where his father-in-law, Paul Barrett, is chairman of the trustees.
Mr Staines said: “It is a really worthwhile cause and it is so important for the local community.”
The other half went to 1MoreChild, which helps children in Uganda.
* The centre is currently recruiting for roles including a new registered manager to report to director of services Marion Lee, two senior care workers and a nurse. To apply or donate, call the centre on (01491) 575575.
AN art exhibition to mark World Alzheimer’s Day is to be held at Sunrise Senior Living in Sonning.
A walk-in gallery showcasing artwork by senior citizens will be open from tomorrow (Saturday) for a week. Some of the pieces were specially created by residents of Sunrise Sonning.
General manager Judy Addison said: “Many of our residents find drawing and painting a relaxing hobby and they really enjoy the regular art activities we hold here.
“The gallery will be a wonderful way to showcase their talents.”
All are welcome to visit the gallery at Sunrise in Old Bath Road, Sonning.