Thanks to on-going fund-raising activities and individual initiatives, the Charitable Trust's capital fund continues to grow and generate interest which can be drawn on to help Members and their families when they fall on hard times.
The aims of the Trust are simple:
- The relief of poverty of members and former members of the British Guild of Agricultural Journalists, their partners, families, dependants, and other applicants from the agricultural and horticultural media.
Assistance may take the form of:
- Cash payments to cover essentials such as food, electricity and gas bills.
- Financial help for retraining or other educational purposes.
- Funds to help with the purchase of essential equipment, eg camera, computer, etc.
In recent years, the Trust has helped a number of the Guild's older members who faced financial or health difficulties, and one of the Guild's younger members, a freelance who developed a serious illness and needed surgery, which left him unable to earn a living for some months.
Normally, such assistance is provided on a strictly confidential basis but freelance machinery writer Mick Roberts felt it important for members to understand the value of the support he received via the Trust when he fell seriously ill. In a letter to the Trust he wrote:
"Very many thanks for contacting me regarding the GAJ Charitable Trust and sending the cheques. I wonder how many colleagues, like me, read your leaflet and filed it away thinking 'thank goodness I won't be needing that!'
I am now, at last, really starting to feel I am recovering from my operation. While I am beginning to appreciate the seriousness of my illness and the need for emergency surgery, it doesn't make me any less keen to get 'back to normal'. However, as you quickly realised and my doctors have pointed out, this is going to take much (much) longer than I would like!
I cannot say how much I appreciate the Trust's help. The illness is bad enough without the worry about money. It's quite a surprise to see how quickly normal family life consumes our savings (for this 'rainy day'). While I do have income and illness insurance, these don't pay out unless I am virtually dead or off sick for months and months! It is prohibitively expensive to do otherwise.
This is why the GAJ Trust payments were so helpful. I wish you could have seen my wife's face when she opened the envelope and saw the cheque. So many, many thanks again for your help - we are very grateful."