BEN, the Motor and Allied Industries Benevolent fund, isn1t a small charity ­ it has a yearly income of £8.2m ­ but it doesn1t have a very high public profile, unlike many much smaller charities.

It’s our charity, let’s shout about it

This has to change, says Geoffrey Atkinson, BEN’s director, otherwise the charity will find it increasingly difficult to pay for its five care centres. These centres are home to 400 former members of the car, cycle and other trades ­ or members of their families ­ and BEN also looks after a further 12 000 people in the community.

Writing in the latest issue of ‘BEN News’, Atkinson asks why BEN’s great work appears to go almost unnoticed despite the fact BEN is one of the largest and most dynamic occupational benevolent funds in the UK.

"If the industry does not support BEN, no-one else will," argues Atkinson.

BEN was founded in 1905 yet, says Atkinson, it is "one of our industry’s best kept secrets. Far too few people who have the right to know about their own occupational benevolent fund are aware of its existence."

Atkinson is spearheading a publicity drive to increase public ­ and industry ­ awareness of BEN.

"I ask everyone in our industries to start promoting BEN, both inwardly to colleagues and outwardly to the general public.

"Why are we so coy about BEN? Are our disabled, dying or distressed dependents less deserving than any other group?"

Of the cycle trade supporters of BEN, the most prominent is Raleigh who donate mountain bikes are prizes for BEN’s annual sponsored cycle rides held throughout the UK every September.

BEN will have a stand at the Cycle & Leisure Show. BikeBiz is to donate free advertising space in our show preview issue and newspaper, and urges the other cycle trade mags to follow suit.

Tel: 01344 294 713

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