A charity which owns parcels of land and homes in north Suffolk is set to sell the estate in order to focus on its work with young people.

The Kerrison Trust is seeking a buyer for its 60 hectares of land and property at Thorndon, near Eye.

Tenants of the 16 residential properties have been advised of the trust's intentions and "are being supported in understanding the likely process for an onward sale", said the charity.

East Anglian Daily Times:

The trust also owns land including a former playing field and other recreation fields used by dog walkers and others in the village.

The 150-year-old charity says it wants to focus on its central mission of supporting young people across Norfolk and Suffolk.

The charity started out in 1856 as one of the earliest Reform Schools. It has already disposed of some of its commercial properties in recent years, with parts of the old school turned into housing. 

It has also carried out significant upgrades to its leased residential properties.

East Anglian Daily Times:

It is set to appoint agents to help with seeking a commercial buyer - with shortlisted agents due to visit the site in the coming days.

A spokesman for the trustee board said the trust had relied on its property holdings to provide the principal source of funding for its activities, with the rental income from its residential properties enabling it to make grants to many worthwhile causes. 

However, with the costs of upgrades and repairs rising, trustees concluded the purposes of the trust would be best served by selling the whole estate of land and properties in Thorndon.

East Anglian Daily Times:

“The core objective of The Kerrison Trust is to help young people in need of care and support, living in Norfolk and Suffolk," he said.

"This is something the trust has done to great effect, making over £362,000 of grants to individuals and organisations over the last six years, and it’s a source of support and aid which is never more important than in this period of increased strain for many families and communities.”

The sale would enable the charity to centrally focus on assisting young people in need, he added.

East Anglian Daily Times:

It is not yet known whether a purchaser might want to maintain the tenancies of all occupied properties - or require the buildings and land to be fully vacant.

The trust said it would make every effort to keep all tenants abreast of the progress and will, as appropriate, seek to keep the local community informed on the sale.

“We are acutely aware of how sensitive those in and around the Thorndon community will feel about this decision and - while our principal focus must be on the trust’s tenants - our intention going forward is to keep people abreast of developments," said the spokesman.

East Anglian Daily Times:

“We know that right now our work in helping young people in Norfolk and Suffolk is so very important, and it is right that this should be our priority, given this was the ultimate purpose of our trust.”

The trust was founded by Lady Caroline Kerrison - an artist and one of the few females to be accepted by the Photographic Society.

East Anglian Daily Times:

She was responsible for the design of the Kerrison Reformatory - as the school later became known.

Reform Schools were originally conceived as an alternative to prison for juveniles convicted of a crime and to support destitute youngsters.

East Anglian Daily Times:

Organisations and individuals can apply to The Kerrison Trust for grant aid for various projects or needs. 

In recent years, it has funded organisations such as The Greenlight Trust, 4YP, Future Female Society, and University of East Anglia (UEA).

To enquire about the scope for purchase contact Crispin Muir at cmuir@lsk.co.uk.