The Railway Benefit Fund (RBF) has been praised for its efforts in helping workers in the industry and their families through tough times.
The charity has seen a huge increase in the demand for its service. Every seven minutes somebody reaches out to RBF for help and guidance – a level unseen since the charity began over 160 years ago.
Among those receiving support includes station assistant Stephen, his wife and two children. A health scare coupled with problems with their house left him struggling with depression and anxiety.
It was just about manageable when the pandemic hit, his wife losing her job and Stephen shielding due to his previous illness. It left them in huge financial difficulty, and contemplating having to sell their home.
Terrified of slipping back into depression, Stephen got in touch with the RBF, where he was helped to cover their mortgage, signposted to debt and legal advice and given Christmas vouchers to help with presents for their children.
He said: “We have been given the chance to get through this and have Christmas together, safe in our home. But we are not alone, there are many other railway families struggling and in desperate need of help.”
RBF offers financial assistance, practical help and wide-ranging advice, all in the strictest of confidence. However, its funding depends on the generosity of members of the public, relying solely on donations and fundraising.
RBF CEO Claire Houghton said: “For more 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.
“This year has been a particularly tough year for many people and we have seen record levels of calls for our services. It is thanks to the generosity of everyone who has donated and raised funds that we are able to do this. Our funding depends on that generosity.”
To help a railway family in need this Christmas, visit www.justgiving.com/campaign/HelpaRailwayFamilyatChristmas
Visit www.railwaybenefitfund.org.uk for more details.
Photo credit: RBF