Charlotteville was a small village immediately adjoined to Guildford and is claimed to have been the town’s first suburb. With all the shops now closed and with the pubs disappearing, the identity of The Village as it was known has largely disappeared.
In the late 1960s the community centre (also known as the Institute) was demolished along with the village church to be replaced with sheltered housing. After that time the community had occasional use of Coyle Hall at St Luke’s Hospital but no proper venue they could call their own.
In 2002 the Charlotteville community came together to hold the best and possibly the biggest street party in Gulildford. 600 tickets were sold, there were gate crashers a plenty, and a fantastic day was had by all. We had £1000 left in the fund and the decision was taken to invest the money in a community project.
The Charlotteville Jubilee Trust Ltd. was formed as a registered charity and set about raising funds to restore an old workhouse building known as the Spike (an Edwardian hostel), for use as a Community Centre, Heritage Centre and children’s Nursery. With a lot of hard work and perseverance that £1000 was turned into more than £1.6M and refurbishment of the Spike was completed in 2008. Today (2019) the Spike goes from strength to strength, the Community centre is often at capacity, the Heritage Centre is the No. 1 thing to do in Surrey according to Trip Adviser and the Nursery is rated Ofsted Outstanding.
So what’s all that got to do with Pancakes then? During our publicity campaign Dr Elliot a local doctor, who in his spare time visited Guildford’s night hostels to check on the less well off, wrote a letter to the Surrey Advertiser saying he was concerned that using part of the Spike as a Museum to vagrancy would suggest that homelessness was a thing of the past.
In response to this in 2005 the Trust decided to organise pancake races in Guildford High Street with the proceeds going towards one of Guildford’s homeless charities (No 5 Night Shelter). The money would not only benefit them but also raise awareness that such places are still a modern day necessity even in affluent Guildford.
In the last 14 years the Trust has raised more than £5000 for local good causes and this year we will be supporting Guildford Young Carers a GBC Philanthropy project support by the Mayor Cllr Mike Parsons.