Region Benevolent Fund Report

Report to Region Meeting February 2019

This year is my last year as your Trustee of the Benevolent Fund representing the Cheshire, North Wales & Wirral Soroptimists.

The AGM I attended in November stressed the important role that the Trustees have in our organisation. I hope that someone in our clubs will start thinking that they too would like to become a Trustee. They would need to take over at the Benevolent Fund AGM next November which takes place in No 63 London.

One of the first items discussed at the AGM was a slight change to the Constitution. The section which has changed reads:

“The object of the Fund shall be the relief of women in need who have been a member of a Soroptimist Club within the United Kingdom ( incl. Channel Islands and the Isle of Man) and the Republic of Ireland for at least 3 consecutive years and whose membership continues, or, if they have left their Club and have not been a member of a Soroptimist  Club for five Years, or, at the discretion of the Trustees.”

Being a Trustee means you have joint responsibility for all the funds of the Trust. For the last few years I have been a member of the Finance committee. We meet once a year on the day prior to the AGM and have feedback and discussion with the investment advisor from Paradigm Norton and make decisions on investments. These are then reported back to the remaining Trustees on the following day. The finance committee also do a telephone conference call with the investment advisor midway through the year.

However the most important role is the link with members of our Region and ensuring, if possible, that no one slips through the net. Our members are proud independent women and they find it difficult to discuss their financial difficulties with someone who is a comparative stranger. I can only stress again that anything which is told to the Trustee will be in complete confidence.

Anyone who need to know more please get in touch.

This year, for the first time Trustees are invited to attend  a Training Workshop in February. One of the subjects to be covered is  “Guidance for Trustees on the Benefits System”. Hopefully this will become a regular feature for new Trustees.

At the AGM this year it was sadly reported that a number of former beneficiaries had died. We were quite alarmed that some areas had no beneficiaries at all. Then, in the weeks following the AGM, we have been sent a steady number of documents for applicants who seem to have come to light all at once. Reading their applications is sometimes extremely distressing and I say “Thank you, “ to all the Soroptimists of the past who had the determination and the doggedness to set up the Benevolent Fund which helps these women and of course thanks to all members who support it with their levies.

Thank you.

Susan Jones

Benevolent Fund Trustee