We recently spoke to Matt Wigginton, Business Development Director at Ben, to find out more about the organisation and how people can access its support. Ben is ‘an independent charity and dedicated partner to the automotive industry’ but we wanted to talk to Matt and clarify whether its support extends to the vehicle dismantling industry.
Ben provides support for life for automotive people and their family dependents, focusing on delivering care and support to enable total health and wellbeing through working and later life.
Matt’s role at Ben, which he has held for almost four years, is to lead the Business Development function. This function is essentially about fundraising, working with industry partners to raise funds so that Ben can continue providing its life-changing support to those who need it.
Matt said: “Ben is a brilliant organisation. For almost 115 years, this charity has been on the scene supporting automotive industry people and, in that time, has expanded its services to best respond to meet their needs.
“Mental health is high on the agenda within the industry due to globalisation – pressure and stress being the main contributing factors due to progress in the industry. There’s a growing drive for efficiency within this male dominated workforce and, for too long, any issues faced by people working in the industry have been kept to themselves. But the automotive industry landscape is changing and Ben has also changed along with it. Ben provides much-needed support to people to help prevent issues arising or developing into a crisis. A big focus is on helping people to help themselves – addressing their long-term health and wellbeing needs.”
Ben offers free and confidential one-to-one support for those struggling with a range of issues, such as bereavement; relationship problems; mental health issues like anxiety or depression; financial difficulties; musculoskeletal problems and long-term health conditions. Anyone who works, or has worked, in the industry can contact Ben for support.
When asked if Ben refers clients to other charities and organisations, Matt confirmed this is the case. He said: “Last year alone, thousands of people came to Ben for support, and if required, a triage process takes place, through which clients are referred for counselling or therapy. Ben remains very much involved with the client throughout the whole process. From beginning to end, we are there to make sure our clients get the help they need on their road to recovery.”
Matt added: “People who work in the vehicle recovery industry – essentially, anyone who works, or has worked, in the automotive industry are entitled to Ben’s support. The vehicle dismantling industry is definitely a sector of people we work with.”
The criteria is straightforward. As long as you can prove that you work, or have worked, for an eligible business within the automotive industry then you can access Ben’s support – simply check the eligibility list on Ben’s website.
A payslip, P45 or letter from an employer can be used as proof of employment. Even if you have worked in the industry for a short period of time (such as a week), as long as you can prove where you worked, Ben can offer you support.
Ben also supports family dependents, such as a spouse, a partner or children – people who rely on that person for financial support. Even after the death of the person who holds the industry connection, Ben can still provide its support to their dependents.
Matt highlighted how important fundraising is to the charity: “Fundraising is crucial to enable Ben’s continued support of those in the industry who are struggling with life’s toughest challenges. Ben also partners with businesses across the industry to provide support to their people.
“Companies support us by way of corporate donations, getting involved in our fundraising campaigns, signing up to performance related giving schemes or by taking part in our corporate events. Our big fundraisers include Bring It On 4 Ben, a portfolio of exciting challenge events such as the Kilimanjaro trek, and Ben Ball, our black tie Christmas ball which is set to be a night to remember – taking place on 11th December at the Roundhouse, London.
“Ben4Business is another key part of our offering, which sees us working in partnership with automotive companies to support their people. It enables us to raise awareness about Ben to their employees through BenAware activities and also offer our mental health training programme, BenTraining.”
To learn more about how Ben can help you and your employees, visit www.ben.org.uk