BDA Benevolent Fund faces increased demand for aid within the dental profession
With January intensifying the difficulties people face financially and emotionally, new research has revealed nearly half a million people turned to charities for help in just one year. BDA Benevolent Fund has supported over 9000 dental students, dentists and their families since it was established in 1883.
National data from the Association of Charitable Organisations (ACO) shows the number of people seeking help from charities and benevolent funds because they have nowhere else to turn following an unexpected change in circumstances has risen over the last four years.
The BDA Benevolent Fund has helped with support including funds for daily living costs such as food, rent and utility bills. Assistance was also given towards students facing undue hardship as well as those returning to dentistry following a break or illness with funds towards indemnity payments, Annual Registration Fees and Continuing Professional Development.
The ACO represents more than 120 charities, including the BDA Benevolent Fund that provide financial support in the form of grants, which help thousands of people across the UK. A recent survey of members* showed more than 100,000 people applied for financial help in the last financial year.
When extrapolated across its entire membership base, it is estimated ACO member charities will have supported at least 400,000 people in need. In 2015, the charities distributed more than £56million in grants. In comparison, this rose to more than £60million last year ˗ £216million when applied to its entire membership base.
The BDA Benevolent Fund has also found that requests for help had increased year on year. The Charity received more applications in 2019 than in any year and a 10 % increase on the year before.
The ACO is highlighting the work done by its member charities across the UK in January 2020, by sharing the stories of people whose lives were turned around thanks to the support they received.
Its campaign, One Day Changes Lives, supported by BDA Benevolent Fund, showed how an individual act of support granted by a charity one day can have a huge impact in improving someone’s life. Together, individual acts by ACO charities amount to a colossal positive impact on society.
Dr Ros Keeton, Chairman of the BDA Benevolent Fund, said: “The impact of the relatively small but incredibly caring and generous group that makes up the dental profession cannot be overstated. It’s down to the profession to care for their own. Working together under the auspices of the BDA Benevolent Fund, lives can change for the better on an ongoing basis.”
Donal Watkin, Chief Executive at ACO, said: “These figures show the increasing levels of support needed by people with nowhere else to turn. This month, we’re highlighting the big difference our members make to people’s lives through financial and non-financial help, and the role charities continue to play in the UK.”
Those supported by the charities were driven into a crisis for reasons including them or a family member facing sudden illness or disability, incurring costs for unexpected household repairs or bills, being unable to pay the high costs associated with a health condition, poor mental health, being involved in an accident, family breakdown, or redundancy.
While ACO members are predominantly grant-making organisations, they also provide practical assistance, employment support, befriending services, and mental health and wellbeing support. Members are seeing an increase in supporting applicants with non-financial aid, rising from 60,584 people helped in 2015 to 93,308 in 2018.
Following strategic discussions and noticing the trends in the types of calls for assistance, the BDA Benevolent Fund is developing other ways to assist applicants and the profession as a whole.
Since Monday 20 January, applicants, should they wish, can be referred to receive legal, financial and emotional support and counselling sessions as well as the financial aid traditionally given out.
Noticing that people often ask for help due to issues with cash flow and debts, the Charity will also be launching a series of free of charge webinars in the spring to ensure dental students, dentists and their families can get accessible and helpful guidance to assist them maximise their resources, both now and for the future.
BDA Benevolent Fund is encouraging members of the public who have ever been helped by grant-giving charities to take part this month and share examples of support on social media using the hashtag #OneDayChangesLives
If you are an in need of support, please visit https://www.bdabenevolentfund.org.uk/request-help/
*Survey carried out by the Association of Charitable Organisations, June 2019, with 33 respondents across a membership base of 120 using data from their statements of the last financial year.