YOUNGSTERS can get a helping hand with their career development, thanks to a 350-year-old pot of money.
The Dr Triplett Charity was set up in 1664 by the then Rector of Whitburn, Rev Thomas Triplett, to help disadvantaged young people in the village progress after leaving school.
Dr Triplett also left money to the parishes of Washington and Woodhorn (now Ashington).
Although both Washington and Ashington have distributed all their money, there is a £20,000 pot available to young people in Whitburn to help further their studies or training.
The money is entrusted to Whitburn and Marsden councillors Peter Boyack, Tracey Dixon and Sylvia Spraggon, who are inviting young people in the parish to apply in writing for a grant.
The cash can be used to pay for courses or equipment needed for an apprenticeship, or even travelling expenses to a new job.
Coun Boyack, chairman of the charity, said: “The charity was set up to support disadvantaged youngsters in Whitburn, but nowadays it is used to support local young people with their education or training.
“Whether they are young apprentices or they need some books for study, they may be eligible for a grant. However, they must live in Whitburn, as stipulated by Dr Triplett back in 1664.
“There is a considerable amount of money still available, so we would urge local youngsters to apply.
“It offers them a wonderful opportunity to benefit from a fund that was set up by a pillar of the community, who was committed to giving the children of Whitburn a better start in life.”
Dr Triplett handed out scores of grants in the 1600s. But the fund became stagnant and the money available gradually increased over the years due to interest and inflation.
Youngsters can apply for a grant by contacting Coun Tracey Dixon, secretary and treasurer of the charity, on 529 2048.