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"Support when you need it most"

  • 22/10/2018
  • Author:bridgetmccall

The Chemists' Community Fund: The difference a grant can make

Woman and girl

Established in 1920, the Chemists’ Community Fund is a confidential support service available to members, and in some cases former members and dependents of members, of the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC).

The Fund’s primary objective is ‘relieving poverty amongst beneficiaries’, which was widened in 2014 to include the ‘prevention of poverty.’ The Fund team offers advice, guidance and financial support to those who are experiencing times of financial hardship.

How the Chemists' Community Fund helped one member

A common mistaken belief is that the charity only helps members who are retired. Yet people who have received help range in age from 24 to 83 - and many are still working.

One such person was a long-standing member of the RSC, of nearly 25 years, who was struggling to juggle a traumatic change in family circumstances alongside her career in Quality Assurance.

In an interview below with the Chemists' Community Fund, she describes the help she received and how it helped her family.

How did you find out about the Chemists’ Community Fund?

Through Turn2us, I applied for the Elizabeth Finn Fund and when I received their letter; they had referenced the Chemists’ Community Fund for more help and support.

What concerns did you have when making the initial contact with the Fund?

The concerns I had, were apprehension, what would happen if they would not help me and how would I cope financially as I was so desperate.

What circumstances led you to approach the Fund?

My husband had been sentenced to prison and it turned our worlds upside down. My husband was the main breadwinner prior to his prison sentence, so when he was not here money was exceptionally tight and I could not make ends meet. For the sake of the children, especially my daughter, who found it all very emotionally tough, I was trying to keep their lives as normal as possible as they had enough to cope with in their lives, therefore I applied to the fund, desperate for their help.

What happened after your initial contact to the Fund team?

After initial contact, the fund asked for all my details and then a home visit was arranged. Dawn and Emily came to visit me and were so lovely and supportive and instantly put me at ease. Following their visit, I had to wait to hear, as the committee had to meet. When the email came through letting me know what financial support they had granted me, it felt as if this huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I felt so very grateful.

How did the support you were granted assist with your situation?

The support I received enabled me to be able to pay all my bills and I was able to try to keep the children’s lives as normal as possible, which meant so much to me as they were going through a tough enough time. I was also entitled to counselling if any of us needed it. Therefore, if things did get out of control I know I had that support there. My daughter did receive counselling, but this was through the school, but if she had required more professional help, I knew this was there.

How did you feel you were you treated and how did it make you feel emotionally?

I was treated so well and with such kindness and understanding. Dawn and Emily were so supportive and instantly put me at ease. I will never ever forget their help and kindness. I had hit the bottom, but I knew they were there for me; emotionally I felt so relieved to have their support.

How have things progressed for you since the support from the Fund?

When my husband was released from prison, we decided to give our marriage another go as we had split up. Initially things were very tough but he got another job and through a lot of determination and hard work, things are slowly getting back to normal. Money is still tight but we are coping.

What would have happened if you had not had the Benevolent Fund there to help?

If I had not had any help, I am not quite sure what would have happened. One of main worries was losing our home. My daughter took my husband’s sentence very hard and I think without help, I would not have been able to try to maintain the normality she and my son desperately needed and I really do not want to think what would have happened.

What would you say to any member facing difficulties and thinking of approaching the Chemists' Community Fund?

I would say do not hesitate in contacting the fund as you are given so much help and support, both emotionally and financially, it is the best thing I did.

Find out more

Find out more about the Chemists' Community Fund

Acknowledgement

This interview first appeared on the Chemists' Community Fund website and is used with the charity's permission. Photo posed by models.

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