Tag Archive | "Charity"


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Automotive industry charity, Ben has announced the cancellation of its annual flagship event, Ben Ball, in December. As a result of coronavirus, the event won’t be taking place this year for the first time since World War II, contributing to a potential income shortfall of £1m for Ben this year.

Having asked those who regularly attend Ben Ball if they would consider attending this December, the majority of past attendees said they wouldn’t due to concerns surrounding safety in light of the virus and uncertainty around budgets.


The charity continues to support more and more automotive industry people with their health and wellbeing during this challenging time. Now, more than ever before, automotive people need the support of Ben to help them cope with anxiety, depression, money worries, bereavement and loneliness. However, this increased support comes at a time when the charity’s income has fallen as a result of the Coronavirus and the impact it has had on the finances of companies and individuals in the industry.


The cancellation of Ben Ball, along with the postponement of other fundraising events, as well as a decline in donations, means Ben is anticipating a £1m income shortfall this year, similar to many other charities. This is why the charity is appealing for those who can, to continue their support and keep providing vital funds so Ben can always be there for those who are struggling.

Matt Wigginton, Fundraising Director at Ben, said: “Making the decision to cancel Ben Ball is one of the hardest I’ve ever had to make, however with the uncertainty of the situation surrounding COVID-19 and the impact it has had on our industry, it was, unfortunately, inevitable. 

“We are living through unprecedented times and this means making tough decisions, but also being adaptable, so we plan to run a virtual fundraising event on 9th December instead, which we hope our industry will get involved in. So watch this space, we’ll reveal more in the coming months!

“We would also like to take this opportunity to give our heartfelt thanks to those who have continued to support Ben during this time – your support is more valuable now than ever before. We look forward to seeing friends, old and new, at next year’s event!”

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The Ben Ball, an annual fundraising event for the motor industry’s charity was held on December 11 at the Roundhouse in Camden.

The new venue was the first time the event has been held anywhere other than the Grovesnor House hotel on Park Lane for over 70 years.

Some 650 guests were hosted by Ben’s Chief Executive, Zara Ross, and Fundraising Director, Matt Wigginton. The evening included spectacular entertainment with Ben’s Greatest Show, a gospel choir, music from the band, Fully Funktional, and much more. The audience enjoyed guest appearances from Mat Watson from CarWow and also Jonny Gould, charity auctioneer and Channel Five presenter.

The evening saw around £87,000 raised for the charity with a number of motor trade bosses pledging to take part in a series of ‘Industry Leader Challenges’ throughout 2020.

Matt Wigginton, Fundraising Director at Ben, said: “Ben Ball 2019 was absolutely extraordinary – a stand-out event! We would like to thank everyone who came along to the Roundhouse to be part of something truly special and inspiring. With your support, we’ve raised an incredible sum of money to help us continue providing life-changing support across the automotive industry. Thank you to everyone for your generous donations, we couldn’t do what we do without you”.

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BEN, the not-for-profit organisation, has launched its new project that aims to improve and spotlight the importance of physical health to individuals working in the automotive sector.

The ‘Get fit for work and for life’ initiative will be conducted through a number of activities throughout this year including a series of articles to improve health and wellbeing, some of which have been published on the BEN online News Hub. In addition to this, the foundation will also launch a new health programme that will be available later this year. The inventory will include checks for blood pressure test, body mass index (BMI) as well as body fat percentage and resting heart rate test based on National Health guidelines.

Speaking about the latest campaign, Zara Ross, Chief Executive at BEN said. “By focusing on preventative measures and offering advice on subjects such as healthy eating and exercise, we can help people maintain a good level of health and fitness. As part of this, we’re really excited to be launching our physical health checks later this year to support businesses in helping their employees get fit and stay fit for work and for life”.

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Following on from the charity’s 60th anniversary, IAM RoadSmart has begun phase two of its business strategy by launching a range of bite size safety sessions for drivers in the B2B and B2C sector.

A total of six one-to-one courses are available to motorists, fleet managers and their employees of all ages (17-85+); lasting up to two hours to help them develop skills in a particular area of concern, while in the comfort of their own vehicle. The new modules include: Driving on Motorways, Rural Roads, Urban Roads as well as Vehicle Management, Overtaking and Confined Space Manoeuvring.

Sarah Sillars, CEO of IAM RoadSmart said: “We are trying to make sure we stay true to our charitable aims but actually modernising ourselves to become more engaged with a much greater number of people”, she continued: ‘We have changed the messaging by coming up with a different style and approach, which is to become a friend and supporter of the driver but helping them to enjoy riding, build more confidence and by default, reduce the numbers of killed and seriously injured on our roads”.

After carrying out a survey with 7,000 drivers that weren’t actively part of its 92,000 plus membership, most respondents said that training for business drivers was important with online delivery being the preferred choice of development for consumers as well as training that didn’t take employers and staff away from the workplace for more than two hours.

“We know targeted training, which integrates with existing driver risk management programmes is vital when making decisions on how to improve the skills of your drivers and deliver ROI for the business as well as helping to fulfil obligations to comply with the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974”, said IAM RoadSmart’s Commercial Director Leslie Upham. “We are looking to help fleet managers and drivers by moving into this space of being a business partner rather than a supplier right at the beginning”.

With 34,000 business drivers using the charity’s services last year, the firm believes these advanced courses will prove a valuable asset to employers and staff, while seeing an increase in uptake of its services going into the new year.

The driving modules will be available to the trade and general motorists in early 2017.

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Nigel Williams updates us on this fabulous charity:

BEN Care Home

If you ask anyone in the aftermarket if they have heard of BEN, the chances are that they will have done – and in all probability have donated to the organisation at some stage or other.

However, if you ask the same person to describe what the charity does, the chances are you will get a minute errs before a description of an ancient care home in the countryside somewhere. This will mostly be pieced from dim recollections of very old magazine articles and sepia-tinged adverts from days past.

We were curious to find out if these images were still relevant, so we paid a visit to Sunningdale, the site of the rambling Edwardian house you might have seen in some of those old pictures. The first shock is that that the building is no longer there. Indeed, on our visit a bulldozer raked through the foundations of where the house until recently stood. Next to it a complex of new buildings have taken its place. From the outside, the new buildings couldn’t be more different as they are a functional mixture of brick, steel and glass.

In fact, this gleaming new care home is one of four operated by BEN. It isn’t the only thing the organisation does either, as new man at the charity Nigel Williams is quick to point out. “We are not just a nice little charity that the industry gives a pat on the head and says ‘thanks very much’ he says. “We want to be the main channel of support in the industry – and we want to be an integral part of the industry.”


BEN care homeCare homes and day centres are only part of the support that Williams talks about. Indeed, the organisation runs a helpline (referred to by Williams as a ‘lifeline’) that currently offers help and advice to free to callers. Topics typically revolve around the four ‘pillars’ of BEN’s advice, namely support for mental, physical, financial and social fitness.

Williams has bullish plans for expanding the number of people that will benefit from the service. We’ll return to this subject in a later issue as for now, we’ve got a care home to look around.


We are far more used to looking at workshop ramps or accessory shop gondolas than walk-in wetrooms or elevating beds. However, it is clear that the facility is the most modern of its type and different sections have been constructed around the varying needs of groups of residents. For example, a block (known as a ‘house’) designed for people with dementia features pictograms on doors as well as the word.

Colours and furniture have been picked according to the client’s groups needs and perhaps most pleasingly each unit has access to an outside courtyard space with greenery and benches. Each area has walls and doors designed so that the residents can safely enjoy their areas without fear of getting lost or encountering any significant trip hazards. There’s also a ‘high street’ area with a bar, bistro and hairdressing salon as well as a hydrotherapy pool. This area, Williams tells us is popular when relatives visit because it is similar to a day out without actually having gone very far.

There are also a number of activities for the residents to enjoy such as baking, arts and crafts and gardening.

This facility wasn’t built just from donations at black tie events. Part of the planning consent allowed for the construction of several dozen retirement flats, which given the location near Ascot raised a considerable amount of money for the construction of the entire complex.

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