The Trust was set up by Lord Deedes (W.F. Deedes) in 1997 using money from his books, the first of which was “Dear Bill”, with the aim of funding projects in developing countries worldwide with particular emphasis on Africa.

Although the funds available for projects were relatively modest, Lord Deedes’ intention was that this funding should be used as “seed money” to enable development charities that he knew and trusted, to enhance their own communications and fundraising. The Deedes Trust has over the past 16 years chosen two main charities to help in this way: CARE International UK and AMREF UK (African Medical and Research Foundation).

The money was given either to fund media visits to the field in order to increase understanding of the individual organisation’s work; or to enable staff in fundraising departments who would not normally be able to travel, to visit projects overseas to see for themselves the vital work being done by their organisations. Over several years, this has resulted in considerable benefits to the charities and individuals involved with demonstrable fundraising results.

Lord Deedes himself had spent many years travelling to see both emergency interventions and development projects with a wide variety of charities: CARE International; Save the Children; Plan International; various Landmine charities and as an ambassador for UNICEF. He had visited and reported on, theatres of war, refugee camps, earthquake zones as well as a huge range of development and rehabilitation projects in areas as diverse as Latin America, Asia, Europe and of course Africa.

His special areas of interest were: women’s development; disadvantaged children (he was a UNICEF ambassador for several years); the Sudan, especially Darfur which he often wrote about in his columns; HIV/Aids which he recognised as being a major threat to development, as well as a humanitarian disaster. He also campaigned for victims of landmines. Above all, Lord Deedes always focussed on the individual and the ways in which one human being could help another, with benefits accruing to both.

The Deedes Memorial Fund

After the death of Lord Deedes in August 2007, a fund was set up from the generous donations of Daily Telegraph readers. This Memorial Fund was used for donations to AMREF and UNICEF.

The Trust was also chosen to be part of the Daily Telegraph Christmas Appeal. Money from this appeal was used by the Trust to help the work of three charities working in Africa: CARE International UK, working in Sudan/Darfur; Plan International and its “Because I’m a girl” programme which promotes the rights of girls living in extreme poverty and a smaller charity ACE Africa (Action in the Community Environment) working in Western Kenya with HIV/AIDS orphans.

Lord Deedes’ daughter Lucy, one of the Trustees, visited Western Kenya to see some ACE-Africa projects in Bungoma and Siaya. She says:

“ACE works in the community to identify and protect HIV/AIDS-stricken families.

As well as supporting the sick and vulnerable in the rural communities with health education and practical nutritional and gardening assistance and training local volunteers, ACE runs a bursary scheme to fund their orphans and vulnerable children through the four years of secondary education.

At Kamba Primary school in Siaya there are 958 pupils and just nine teachers, most of them volunteers. There were smiling faces in the kitchen, where ACE has built two proper stone stoves which maintain the heat and conserve wood; lunch is under way for the needier pupils who will find nothing to eat at home. ‘Some are too embarrassed to admit it: they will run home at lunchtime and go hungry rather than face the stigma’, the teacher explained.

I was struck by how closely ACE worked with the community with an aim to helping them help themselves; by how far a small amount of money was made to stretch; and by the enthusiasm and attentiveness in the schools. The children were grabbing this chance of an education with both hands. I felt that my father would have warmly applauded the principals and aspirations of ACE.”

Anyone who would like to make a donation to support the work of the Lord Deedes of Aldington Charitable Trust should visit www.justgiving.com/lorddeedes

 
 
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