15th March 2019 by Neil Barnes
Benenden Charitable Trust reached a milestone of £1 million in grants awarded since its foundation in late 2018
The charity was founded in 2005 to support those struggling under the weight of health-related hardships. Independently-governed, the charitable trust offers grants to current and former members of the health and wellbeing organisation Benenden Health, as well as non-members recommended by the trust’s charitable partners.
One Benenden Health member who received a grant to help resolve his severe spinal issues said that “the improvement [in his health] is absolutely out of this world”. Before his grant-funded surgery, the member described fearing that a fall could leave him quadriplegic. With the support from Benenden Charitable Trust, he then said: “I can do everything, the secondary support which I received, which was to help fund the operation has made life really worth living.”
2018 was the first time the trust has been able to help more than 110 households in a one-year period. This represents a 35% increase on 2017 figures.
The charity awarded almost £230,000 in grants in 2018 alone and anticipates similar levels of interest in 2019. This growth is due to increased awareness of the charity among Benenden Health members.
Thom Craigen, Charitable Trust Manager, said of the charity’s work: “We are extremely proud to have been able to help people in difficult situations over the past 13 years. As well as funding treatment, we have been able to offer grants that will help with a range of other needs and to have reached this milestone is humbling.”
Since the charity’s founding, grants have provided much needed funding for NICE approved medical treatments that are not available on the NHS or through a Benenden Health membership.
The grants have also been made to help to reduce some of the everyday strain of living with a medical condition through the purchase of vital, specialist equipment and disability aids including mobility scooters, profiling beds, stairlifts and wheelchairs.
One member who received this type of grant described it as “life-changing”. Her grant was used to make her garden safer and more accessible once she started struggling with more limited vision. “It's just changed the whole way I think,” she said, talking about the unexpected mental health benefits the grant afforded her, “When I come downstairs in the morning, and look straight out of my kitchen window I can see the colour and the birds and the nature”.
Thom added: “The Trust also offers general financial assistance to provide some breathing space and help people get back on their feet again. By aiding in this way, the Trust is able to ease some financial hardship and distress that can arise as a result of health problems.”