Before any help can be offered to a member in hardship, an application form needs to be completed. Unlike many benevolent organisations, the NASUWT Benevolent Fund requires the form to be completed by a Benevolence Visitor during a meeting that usually takes place in the member’s home.
“I am writing to thank you once again for the amazing help and support that you have given me over the past few months – my family and myself simply could not have survived or coped without your help.”
Completing the form is straightforward – there are sections on:
- the member’s personal details;
- their income;
- their expenditure;
- a summary of why they are in hardship; and
- a recommendation from the Benevolent Visitor.
Benevolent visits are usually requested by Local Association Secretaries or by the Legal and Casework Team at Rednal. After initial contact, an appointment is made for the visit and the member is advised of the documents and information that will be needed to complete the form. During the visit, the Benevolent Visitor will collect all the relevant information to complete the form and will also gain an understanding of the reasons for the member’s difficulties. The application form is completed by the Visitor and not by the member. Most visits take between an hour and an hour and a half.
Visitors are given an amount of confidential information and, apart from passing it on to the Legal and Casework Team, this must be kept confidential.
After the visit, the recommendation section of the form is completed by the Visitor using the guidelines in the Benevolence Handbook and then the form is sent to the Legal and Casework Team for action.
Being a Benevolent Visitor is a rewarding experience; most cases benefit from speedy support and you can see the difference that Union support makes.
Training is available in many Regional Centres and at Rednal – details are on the website and in the training handbook.