With January intensifying the difficulties people face financially and emotionally, new research has revealed nearly half a million people turned to charities for help in just one year, with the NCC Benevolent Fund supporting over 5 times more people alone, than the previous year.
National data from the Association of Charitable Organisations (ACO) shows the number of people seeking help from charities and benevolent funds because they have nowhere else to turn following an unexpected change in circumstances has risen over the last four years.
The ACO represents more than 120 charities, including the NCC Benevolent Fund, that provide financial support in the form of grants, which help thousands of people across the UK. A recent survey of members* showed more than 100,000 people applied for financial help in the last financial year. When extrapolated across its entire membership base, it is estimated ACO member charities will have supported at least 400,000 people in need. In 2015, the charities distributed more than £56million in grants. In comparison, this rose to more than £60million last year - £216million when applied to its entire membership base.
The ACO is highlighting the work done by its member charities across the UK on 22 January 2020 by sharing the stories of people whose lives were turned around thanks to the support they received.
Its campaign, One Day Changes Lives, will show how an individual act of support granted by a charity one day can have a huge impact in improving someone’s life. Together, individual acts by ACO charities amount to a colossal positive impact on society.
Melanie Day, NCC Benevolent Fund Manager, said: “ The Fund is here to support anyone that works past or present in any sector of the caravan industry. We are able to support people with their mental, as well as financial wellbeing, ensuring people are fit for life and for work"
Donal Watkin, Chief Executive at ACO, said: “These figures show the increasing levels of support needed by people with nowhere else to turn. Today we’re highlighting the big difference our members make to people’s lives through financial and non-financial help, and the role charities continue to play in the UK.”
Those supported by the charities were driven into a crisis for reasons including them or a family member facing sudden illness or disability, incurring costs for unexpected household repairs or bills, being unable to pay the high costs associated with a health condition, poor mental health, being involved in an accident, family breakdown, or redundancy.
Whilst ACO members are predominantly grant-making organisations, they also provide practical assistance, employment support, befriending services, and mental health and wellbeing support. Members are seeing an increase in supporting applicants with non-financial aid, rising from 60,584 people helped in 2015 to 93,308 in 2018.
Help can include the purchasing of fridges, clothes and food, and support with the costs of childcare, healthcare and household bills. Some of the people supported needed help to buy wheelchairs, hearing aids, medical equipment and respite care. The charities also provide legal, debt and/or employment advice.
Chris, had worked and lived on a holiday park for six years, when he lost his job. This meant that he also lost his home, he spent 6 month living with friends and family, sleeping on floors and sofas. Chris was spending less time with his son and felt a burden to those who were helping him, it took a toll on his mental health. Chris, found a new job and was offered a housing association property, however the property came with no essential household items at all, without a cooker, fridge or freezer, Chris was unable to move in. The fund was able to supply the essential items, and we are pleased that Chris and his son are now settled into their new home.
The NCC Benevooent Fund is encouraging members of the public who have ever been helped by grant-giving charities to take part today and share examples of support on social media using the hashtag #OneDayChangesLives
If you are an individual in need of support, please visit www.nccbenevolentfund.org.uk or contact [email protected]