A LAW firm and a charity have joined forces to launch a charitable fund to help west Dorset organisations. 

Kitson & Trotman and Dorset Community Foundation – the county’s primary organisation for raising and distributing funding and grant-making to good causes – have established the fund.

Local registered charities as well as community groups are able to apply for grants of up to £5,000 through the foundation’s existing neighbourhood funding programme, which will be used to distribute the Kitson & Trotman funding. 

Jon Yates, Dorset Community Foundation’s chief executive, said: “We are very pleased to be working with another local responsible business who wants to give back to their local community and achieve real impact on their doorstep.”

Law firms across the country are often left with unclaimed client balances. This can occur where all steps to find the whereabouts of a potential beneficiary of an historical trust fund have been unsuccessful due, perhaps, to the beneficiary losing contact with family/friends and even moving abroad. Sometimes funds are actually never claimed by the beneficiary.

Once all avenues are exhausted, firms can pass these unclaimed client balances to a charity which provides the firm with an indemnity to repay the funds in the event that the beneficiary is located. 

Kitson & Trotman decided to use a local community charity which gained approval by The Solicitors’ Regulation Authority to donate unclaimed client balances to create an endowment fund where the interest will be used to support community projects. 

A spokesman for Kitson & Trotman said: “Setting up a charitable fund like this is a wonderful way to give back to local charitable causes. We are very pleased to be working with the foundation as it has more than 17 years’ experience in supporting local residents facing disadvantage.”

Kitson & Trotman was founded in 1756 and has offices in Bridport, Beaminster, Weymouth and Lyme Regis.

Grants from the Kitson & Trotman fund will be dispersed through the foundation’s neighbourhood funding programme which addresses local issues, social problems and disadvantage due to age, illness, disability, isolation, discrimination or financial hardship. 

For example, The Countrymen’s Club, a project by Future Roots, was an initiative previously supported by the Neighbourhood Fund. The club offers an opportunity for older people with life-changing conditions such as Parkinson’s and dementia to benefit from farming therapy.

For more details on the work of Dorset Community Foundation and the funds it manages on behalf of individuals and businesses visit dorsetcommunityfoundation.org.