The Henry Leigh Withypool Educational Trust
In 1876, local landowner Henry Leigh gifted an area of land to build a school in Withypool. Over the years, ownership passed from the local School Board to Somerset's Local Education Authority. The school closed in 1970 due to falling numbers.
As the original gift was "for the benefit of the children of the parish” the LEA could not use it or dispose of it, but had to ensure that the property continued to be used for the benefit of local children.
In 2001 the buildings were in bad need of repair, and the council decided to sell the and the Henry Leigh Withypool Education Trust was born.
It's objectives are to "provide for the provision of services and facilities for any school in the area of benefit* which children resident in Withypool now attend and or by promoting the education (including technical, artistic, social and physical training) of persons under 25 years resident in the area of benefit or who attend or have attended the school or schools."
*The “area of benefit” is the civil parish of Withypool and Hawkridge, and the adjoining civil parishes of Exford, Exmoor and Winsford.
Benefit from the Trust is open to any person aged under 25 who lives in the area of benefit or is a past or present pupil of Exford First School.
There are 6 Trustees, two from Withypool and Hawkridge and one each from the other three parishes of Exmoor (Simonsbath), Exford, and Winsford, as well as one from Somerset County Council, and a co-opted Trustee from the area.
For details on how to apply and other information visit the trust's website.