With focus very much on the future and what that looks like for rail, the Railway Benefit Fund (RBF) wants to show the industry how it is developing for a changing industry.
The Railway Benefit Fund – sponsors of the RBF ‘Heart of Gold’ Award for Charity at this year’s RailStaff Awards – has one simple purpose: to support rail staff and their dependents in times of hardship. However, how we have achieved this in the past, and how we will continue to do so has and will evolve alongside the industry.
What won’t change is those entitled to our help – that is anyone that works in the rail industry from maintenance to freight, from administrative staff to station staff. We are the only charity that solely supports rail staff and their families and have an open support programme available. We want to be inclusive and there for anyone who may need us.
As we approach our 160th anniversary, we are reviewing the support we offer to allow us to extend our reach and impact across the industry. In particular, we are developing services that support current rail employees. We have recently completed a large piece of market research and conclude that our challenge is to meet the real needs of current staff whilst ensuring that we continue to provide valuable support to those in financial hardship. We will also continue to support those no longer currently employed.
The support we offer has broadened to include advice and information services, ensuring that those seeking help receive a package of support. Our aim is to provide assistance that deals with both the immediate hardship affecting the individual and the underlying causes, wherever possible. We offer free, confidential support that is person focussed.
Our charity has a long and poignant history within the rail industry. When we first set out, a very long time ago in 1858, we were dealing with issues regarding safety and working conditions. Today in 2017, we are looking at a step-change in the services that we provide to current staff and, by extension, to develop and broaden the relationship that we have with rail employers.
Job insecurity, debt and financial worries, relationship and family issues and increasing caring responsibilities are a few examples of where RBF is looking to support rail staff.
We are keen to develop our debt advice offer and recently launched a free confidential advice line for those struggling with debt or dealing with financial worries that is available to all staff irrespective of role or grade. Our aim is to develop this service and extend its reach across the industry on a rolling programme. We have launched a service assisting rail staff who may be tempted by the use of payday loans and other forms of short-term, high-interest finance that often escalate cost and which does not solve financial difficulties.
SPREAD THE WORD
With the help of our supporters and dedicated team, our future is bright! We need you to spread the word and tell your colleagues that we are here for them.
If you want to speak to our dedicated service team about help contact: welfare@ railwaybenefitfund.org.uk or call: 0345 241 2885.