Supporting the railway family during the festive period
Christmas this year will be very different for us all. We may not be celebrating in the same way with family, friends and colleagues and some will be struggling financially and worried about providing for their families.
But one thing that won’t be changing will be the support from the Railway Benefit Fund – which has been helping railway families through tough times since 1858.
The demand for its services has reached record levels, but the charity’s funding relies solely on donations. It’s new Chief Executive Officer Claire Houghton has written an article for railbusinessdaily.com about the demand, and how now more than ever it needs help.
“2020 has certainly been a testing time for us all and the pandemic looks like it will continue to affect our lives for some time to come. RBF has been there to support the railway family during these difficult times and will continue to do so through the uncertainties ahead.
The charity has seen a huge increase in the demand for its services, particularly over the first few months of lockdown and in recent weeks during this second wave. It has been calculated that every 7 minutes somebody reaches out to RBF for help and guidance – a level unseen since the charity began over 160 years ago.
With many in the Rail Industry still experiencing changes in working patterns and pay, some are struggling to cover the basic costs of living and are finding themselves in extremely difficult financial situations. The run up to Christmas is a particularly stressful time with all the financial pressures it puts on families.
RBF is the charity they turn to. We have extended the grant programme and enhanced the wellbeing toolkit to ensure no family in the rail industry who needs our help is left unheard.
The funding depends on your generosity. The charity relies solely on the donations and fundraising of its loyal supporters and now, more than ever, we need your help. Together with your help, they can ensure that every family in need is given the chance to enjoy Christmas in a warm house with enough food on the table and presents for the children under the tree.
Have an ‘RBF Party’ – if your work or family Christmas party isn’t going ahead this year then why not have an RBF party instead? A great way to have some fun and show your support to help a railway family get the Christmas they deserve. Sign up for your party pack which includes a quiz (with Pete Waterman announcing the winners live on social), party ideas including a mocktail recipe and the story of a family they have helped in time for Christmas to show how important your help is.
Become an RBF Friend – a way for organisations to come together with the RBF to show their support to the Rail Industry and the Railway Family. Not just for Christmas – this is a three-year commitment to work together in ways which benefit your business and staff as well as fundraising for RBF.
Visit the RBF online Christmas shop – The 2021 Calendar ‘For the Love of UK Railways’ is sponsored by RBF Friend TES 200 Ltd. It includes stunning images provided by staff at Avanti West Coast, Southeastern, Caledonian Sleeper, Rail Delivery Group and Gemini Rail Group. March features the industry’s tribute to the NHS and Mr January is RBF President, Pete Waterman.
Pete has also put his signature and a personal message on the back of their exclusive Christmas card which feature sparkle, snow and steam – what more could you ask for?
Donate to make a difference – If you don’t need a party or cards and calendars you could just make a donation. £200 is the amount RBF give to families via their Family Support Fund and it’s just enough to make a real difference to a Railway Family who are struggling and enable them to have a Christmas to enjoy.
For most people, Christmas is a time for fun and family, but it’s also a time for reflection and an opportunity to help those who are struggling in life, for whatever reason. Our funding depends on your generosity. The charity relies solely on the donations and fundraising of its loyal supporters and now, more than ever, we need your help.”
Claire Houghton, CEO, RBF, www.railwaybenefitfund.org.uk