Christmas this year will be very different. It may not be possible to celebrate in the usual way, with family, friends and colleagues, and some will be struggling financially and worried about providing for their families.
2020 has certainly been a testing time for everyone and the pandemic looks like it will continue to affect people’s lives for some time to come.
The Railway Benefit Fund 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. Somebody reaches out to the RBF for help and guidance every seven minutes – 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. It has extended its grant programme and enhanced its wellbeing toolkit to ensure no family in the Rail Industry who needs help is left unheard.
However, this funding depends on people’s generosity. The charity relies solely on the donations and fundraising of its loyal supporters and now, more than ever, it needs everyone’s help. With that, it 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.
How can you help?
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.
Other ways to support the RBF in the run up to the festive season include:
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. 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 the charity’s 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 gives to families via their Family Support Fund and it’s just enough to make a real difference to a Railway Family that is struggling and enable them to have a Christmas to enjoy.
RBF CEO, Claire Houghton said: “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.”
Find out more about Christmas with RBF at https://www.railwaybenefitfund.org.uk/events/christmas-with-rbf/