Looking after our own…The Benevolent Fund was established in 1942 for the relief of women in need who had been, for at least three consecutive years, members of a Soroptimist Club in the United Kingdom including the Channel Islands, Isle of Man and the Republic of Ireland. Its income is derived from an annual levy on members within these islands, interest from investments, and from donations and legacies.
We are all aware that investment income has been exceptionally poor for a number of years and the Fund has needed to dip into investment funds to meet the needs of applicants. If the past two years, the COVID pandemic and the most recent exceptional rise in the cost of living, has taught us anything, it is that no one can be complacent about the long-term stability of their financial situation.
Applications to the fund are treated with the utmost confidence, therefore, it is difficult to give you a case study, however, you will know from the widely reported stories in the media, that many people are probably more worried than they have ever been, as to how they are going to pay their utility bills, heat their homes adequately in the winter months and buy the food they need to retain a healthy diet. With this in mind consider the people who are currently receiving help from the fund. They are already in a difficult situation, they have struggled on before admitting that they needed a helping hand, some if these people are going to be even more worried now.
Yes employment is high at the moment but some of our recipients are not young, they are living in their old family home, often in need of repair, with little income, reliant on meagre pensions if they have one (other than the state pension) some were professional women prior marriage but were required to give up their posts when they married (e.g. this was required into the 70s in high street Banks).
As it stands at the moment, without considerable increase in investments, the Benevolent Fund will run out of funds in approximately five years, sooner if there is another unforeseen influx of applicants, such as during the COVID pandemic. The Trustees do not want this to happen, they know the stories of those who turn to the Fund for help, The recent past has shown us that hardship can arrive at the door of those who least expect it.
This year the fund is 80 years old, please help it to continue well beyond its 85th birthday so that it will be there for those who need it in the future. For some people a small amount can make a world of difference, together we can continue to look after our own for years to come, please think of the Benevolent Fund whenever you are dispersing your charitable funds and consider remembering them in your will with a legacy. Thank you for all you have done, and continue to do, to help and support our own members.
If you need more information, an informal chat, or would like me to attend your club meeting, please contact me by e mail.
In Soroptimist Friendship.
SIGBI Benevolent Fund Trustee, SI Midland Chase
Last updated 11th July 2022