November 18th, 2020.

The automotive charity Ben is making an urgent 'rallying cry' to industry leaders as it faces a 50 per cent increase in demand for services against a £1m income shortfall, following the cancellation of fundraising events.

Without additional funding, Ben may be forced to make difficult decisions about which cases to support.

Covid-19 continues to have an unprecedented impact on the health and wellbeing of the automotive workforce. As a result, more and more people are turning to Ben in financial hardship, or are struggling to cope with mental health issues and other life challenges including bereavement.

In an open letter (published below) Ben’s Chief Executive, Zara Ross, and Chair of the Board, Steve Nash, outline how the industry can help ensure no-one faces life’s challenges alone.

Matt Wigginton, Fundraising Director at Ben, said: “This is an urgent situation that we’re facing - our support teams are at breaking point, with more cases than ever before and we don't see that changing.

“The issues people are facing are more complex and more urgent than we have ever seen before. If we're unable to fill this funding shortfall then we may not be able to support everyone who turns to us for help. That could have a life-changing impact on someone in your business.

“The automotive industry is like a family, we have to look after each other. People will remember what the leaders of our industry do in a time of crisis and I urge everyone to consider how they can help ensure Ben is there for everyone, no matter what.

"Amazingly, we have already received pledges for donations of more than £65,000 on the first day of this campaign. Every donation makes a huge difference to people's lives and we'll be celebrating each and every one publicly over the coming weeks. Thank you to those who have already pledged their support.”

The letter reads;

Dear colleague,
Our industry is facing challenges on a scale we have never seen. Covid-19 and the risk of a very hard Brexit are all weighing heavily across the sector, and these issues are deeply affecting our colleagues, too.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, we’ve seen a 50% increase in the number of people turning to Ben for support compared to this time last year, many with mental health issues. Sadly, more people are at breaking point, feeling they have nowhere to turn.

For over 115 years, thanks to your generous donations and those from our industry, Ben has been there to provide that support. Together, we’ve helped our colleagues and their families to overcome significant challenges, and to find a way forward in an industry they love. Thank you for that support, it’s something we can be proud of.

But we are facing our own crisis. Our fundraising events have been cancelled. Our income is down, and we are facing a £1m shortfall. Yet more people than ever are relying on us to be there for them when they need us most. And that demand will only increase.

As hard as it will be, we may be forced to make decisions about the people we support, and those we do not. That is an impossible position for anyone to be in.

That is why we are asking you and other industry leaders to pledge to do just three things that will help Ben to improve the lives of even more automotive people and ensure no-one has to face life’s toughest challenges alone.

We desperately need you to:
1. Be an advocate for Ben, ensuring our message of support is promoted widely within your business
so that everyone knows they’re never alone.
2. Encourage colleagues to support us through Payroll Giving, Ben’s Big Weekly Lottery and our
fundraising products and events.
3. Dig even deeper as a business to help us address that £1m shortfall.

This is an urgent call for help. To talk about how you can show that support right now, please email our team at or call 01344 298135.

I hope the people of our industry can count on your support, they will certainly remember it.

Yours sincerely

Zara Ross
Chief Executive Officer

Steve Nash
Chair of Trustees
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