Although the news of redundancy can be hard for anyone to take, you may be particularly concerned about certain people in your organisation whose jobs are at risk. Perhaps you’re aware that they have challenging finances, or that they are in the midst of treatment for a long-term illness, or they might be coping with a family tragedy? As an HR professional, you’ll want to be of assistance, and in these instances, you might be wondering how occupational charities could help during difficult times and how they can be an excellent resource to recommend.
What are occupational charities and how they can help?
Occupational charities are non-profit organisations that provide advice and practical support to individuals and/or their family who work (or used to work) in specific professions. As the charities are linked to a particular sector, they are an excellent resource for employees who work in a specific industry or profession.
For example, the Bank Workers Charity (BWC) exists to support current and former bank employees and their families. The Retail Trust, on the other hand, works with Retail employees in a wide range of ways. They offer financial support through grants, wellbeing resources, housing, and more.
But it’s not just work-related issues they help with. If any of your staff are going through personal difficulties, such as life-changing or long-term medical conditions, disability, bereavement, domestic violence, excessive strain on their finances, or anything else in between, you may be able to find an occupational charity to help. The services and support offered to individuals vary from charity to charity. However, underpinning all of these organisations is the genuine desire to help those in need.
List of occupational charities
Occupational charities can often be grouped by sector; for example – Financial and Professional Services, Education, Sport, and Clergy. Various non-profit organisations exist under each sector encompassing an impressive range of jobs and professions.
The list below provides more information about some of the occupational charities in the sectors that have been most affected by the recent pandemic. What follows is not, however, an exclusive list. If you want more information about charitable organisations that might be able to support your staff during difficult times, I recommend you consult the ACO, the Association of Charitable Organisations. As the national umbrella body for charities that give grants and welfare support to individuals in need, they offer a clear breakdown of all types of charities.
Arts and Culture
With most cinemas, theatres, and various other entertainment venues forced to close during the pandemic, the Arts and Culture sector has certainly been badly affected. If your team is supporting anyone working in the arts, dance, entertainment, literature, and music industries, some of the charities below may be worth exploring.
The Dance Professionals Fund provides financial support for dancers and choreographers (ballet and contemporary). They can help with ‘crisis funding’ (for example, homelessness), cost of living, and even medical costs for physiotherapy or counselling. When funding is available, they also support dance professionals working in the commercial sector.
The Royal Variety Charity supports anyone who has worked professionally in the entertainment industry and is in need of help. The charity is not just for people who have worked on the stage. On the contrary, they also support anyone who has worked in any of the support industries dedicated to entertainment.
When it comes to Engineering, different charitable organisations exist in aid of various professionals in this industry. For example, the Building & Civil Engineering Charitable Trust supports professionals in the construction industry with simple financial products.
The ICE Benevolent Fund helps Civil Engineers and their families, while the Institution of Mechanical Engineers supports Mechanical Engineers across the world with advice, financial, emotional, and practical support.
Foothold covers all Engineers and their families. They offer legal advice and support for money matters. In addition, they have specific provisions and resources for people who need help during the pandemic.
Financial and Professional Services
When it comes to Financial and Professional Services, some of the professions supported include accountancy, architecture, and banking. The Bank Worker Charity, for example, helps current and former bank employees and their families. They provide information, advice, expert support services, and, in some cases, financial assistance to their beneficiaries.
A recent addition to this list, The Chartered Secretaries’ Charitable Trust was established a few years ago for the benefit of current and former members, graduates, students, and employees of The Chartered Governance Institute. They help members advance the profession and celebrate achievements.
The Solicitors’ Charity is just one of the many occupational charities set up to support solicitors during times of need. They provide financial, emotional, and practical support to help people get back on track.
Hospitality and Retail
Various occupational charities exist to help people working in the Hospitality and Retail industries. For example, Hospitality Action offers a range of support services for hospitality people who are going through challenging times. They have an interesting ‘wellbeing hub’ on their website with useful information on mental health.
The Retail Trust helps organisations in the retail industry to protect their people. They support employees directly (face-to-face or over the phone) and provide self-help digital resources and a free 24/7 confidential helpline. They also offer upskilling and wellbeing workshops, mentoring programmes, and apprenticeships.
Grocery Aid offers financial support for people who are working in the grocery industry and are experiencing unexpected emergencies, a change of circumstances, or a sudden gap in income.
Information and Communication
Last but not least, the following charities support professionals that fall under the information and communication sectors. They include, amongst others, Journalism, Public Relations, and Telecommunications.
The Journalists’ Charity was founded by Charles Dickens in 1864. It helps journalists across the UK and Ireland with advice, support, and financial assistance. CIPR, the Chartered Institute of Public Relations or Iprovision help people who work in the PR industry who are experiencing difficult times. The BT Benevolent Fund helps BT employees and BT pensioners in financial difficulty. They also offer information and advice for anyone who works in the telecommunication industry.
Other occupational charities and how they can help support your staff during difficult times
Occupational charities are not the only non-profit organisations you can access. Other types of resources you may want to look into include:
- Illness and Disability Charities. They provide grants to help with the additional cost of a specific illness or disability.
- Livery Companies. They offer support for members of trade associations and guilds.
- Regional Charities. These organisations provide support to members who live in specific geographical areas.
One national charity worth mentioning that is not linked to any particular occupation or sector is Turn2Us. It focuses on financial wellbeing by providing free informational and financial support (including redundancy support). It has some extremely useful resources, including a tool to check your entitlement to state benefits and the option to search for grants you might be eligible for. Its website is easy to use and gives instant access to financial grants – a resource that not many know about.
Would you like any further help to support your staff through difficult times?
If you work in HR and believe redundancy or cost-cutting measures might be needed at your company, please take a look at some of my other articles that might be of use:
If you’re an HR professional looking for additional support for your company through tailored career coaching or outplacement services, Bright Sky Career Coaching has a track record of assisting companies through difficult times and providing redundancy support. If you’d like to know more, please get in touch so we can discuss your requirements.