Our fund is here to help those in need of support
It is very distressing to hear about members who, through no fault of their own, find themselves in a position where they need help. This can be due to many reasons such as ill health and infirmity, stress and depression, accidents, relationship breakdowns and so on.
The trustees of the Chartered Certified Accountants Benevolent Fund (CCABF) are concerned that they are not reaching all members who are in need. They believe that there may be a lack of awareness of the fund, not only by members but also by families who may, for example, struggle on following the death of a member unaware of the help the fund can give.
ACCA is a global body and the fund can potentially receive applications from over 100 countries worldwide. Consequently, when considering applications, the trustees (who are all unpaid volunteers) need an understanding of differing cultures and legal structures; they also need to be clear if and when an application falls outside the remit of the governing document.
The benevolent fund was founded in 1919 as an unincorporated charity. The aims and objectives have changed little from those the founding fathers laid down in 1919. However, due to changes in legislation, the trustees decided that a more up-to-date vehicle for the fund was needed and incorporated in 2016.
The trustees wish to promote the activities of the charity and raise awareness of its existence to ensure that all members are aware of the help that is available.
Although ACCA and its staff provide support, the fund is completely independent of ACCA. It has its own branding to avoid any confusion with ACCA.
The trustees hope this reassures applicants when making a claim that any potentially delicate information will not be shared with ACCA; all applications are strictly confidential.
As a small charity, the trustees consider the various options available to enable them to meet the demands on the fund. Some cases require specialist help; because of this, the trustees are researching the possibility of partnering with other charities with similar aims to see what can be done to help each other in dealing with applicants’ problems.
In addition, one of the current trustees sits on the board of the Association of Charitable Organisations (a body promoting and supporting charities in the UK), giving the trustees invaluable insight into the wider UK charity sector.
Recent experience has shown that requests from applicants have moved on from simple applications for direct support, such as grants and loans, to the need for counselling, either by simply having someone to talk to or by helping to obtain professional advice and support.
Historically, a significant portion of the applicants were from more mature members of ACCA who, through age or illness, needed help. However, the demographic has changed and there are now applications from members of all ages.
Secured, low-interest loans are often offered where an applicant has significant equity in their property.
Applications from students or graduates fall outside the remit of the fund as help is limited to members or former members and their dependants.
Certain jurisdictions in which the fund operates see charitable funding as anathema, and the trustees will seek other means to offer practical help that fit with local custom and practice.
The trustees receive many applications requesting help to clear debt. While the fund is unable to help in this respect they are willing to offer support, where appropriate, for members to go through bankruptcy by helping members to source specialist help and paying the bankruptcy fees.
The fund can only continue to support members, former members and their dependants with the help of current members. Members can help in many ways: by making donations; leaving legacies to the fund in their wills; volunteering as trustees; carrying out visits to applicants; and generally actively promoting the fund when meeting other members.
With your support, the fund can look forward to another successful 100 years of supporting members and their families in times of need.