Leader magazineASCL - Association of School and College Leaders

Benevolent fund

In keeping with the times, the SHA Benevolent Fund has changed its name too, to become the ASCL Benevolent Fund.

To many, a benevolent fund may seem a quaint, outdated concept. I can assure you it is not. Even in these enlightened times of the Teachers Pension Scheme, for those who suffer a sudden and devastating illnesses, financial hardship is far from a distant memory.

Recent cases taken on by the fund include a member whose partner was diagnosed with a major cancer, and another who had been obliged, as a result of serious illness, to give up a senior management post and revert to classroom teaching. Mental illness, heart attacks and multiple sclerosis have had devastating consequences on members in their 30s and 40s.

Whether it is an ASCL member or his or her partner who is affected, the consequences can be shattering, financially as well as physically.

In circumstances like these, the benevolent fund can make a real difference. The fund is not so well endowed that it can offer income for a long period, but it can make grants for a specific immediate need or interest-free loans which offer a cushion against the shock of sudden change.

Every case is carefully considered by the trustees, but the chair has been given the authority to act immediately where the need is urgent. The ability to respond to a crisis is an important feature of the fund's role.

However the fund does not just provide financial help. When a member or partner has lost a loved one, friendship and regular visits can be what is most needed. Thanks to the considerable network of retired members throughout the country, there are few places in the UK where immediate, personal assistance cannot be delivered.

At the end of 2005, the capital assets of the benevolent fund were £382,000, the disposable income for the year being £17,300.

By far the largest source of income is the investment of the capital fund. The remainder comes from donations and bequests.

We are quite certain that the benevolent fund will be even more important in coming years as membership continues to grow and the stresses of leadership increase as well.

ASCL members today can ensure even greater help for those in need tomorrow. You can do this by:

  • making an occasional donation to the fund

  • arranging for a regular sum to be paid from your account alongside your ASCL subscription

  • making a bequest in your will

To make any of these arrangements, please contact Carole Baldam, operations director, on 0116 299 1122 or carole.baldam@ascl.org.uk.

The fund trustees can only help those individuals they know about. If you are aware of anyone who might benefit from the fund, please don't hesitate to contact Carole Baldam. The trustees will do the rest. Every case is treated in total confidence.

John Sutton, chair of the ASCL Benevolent Fund

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