The Railway Benefit Fund (RBF) says it needs people’s help to raise £40,000 for rail children in the UK this Christmas.
RBF launched its Children’s Fund in May of this year – when it saw the jump in requests for help from families with children. The charity says the impact of lockdown, of home schooling and of reductions in income caused problems for many rail families, who are struggling to cover the basic costs families incur when bringing up children.
Its Children’s Fund offers grants of around £300 to buy anything from school uniforms, sports kit and equipment, school books and new-born essentials.
So far, the charity has already supported over 30 families and children via the fund this year and has already seen an increase in demand this winter as energy costs rise and families start to feel the financial strain of Christmas.
Sally, a mum working as a platform assistant in the Midlands, recently received a grant from the RBF Children’s Fund. She said: “When I lost my overtime and became ill with Covid and had time off work, I found we were really struggling to afford the essentials, let alone think about Christmas costs. At first, I was reluctant to reach out to RBF but I’m so glad I did – they provided us with a grant of £300 to buy new winter coats for my children. It’s one less stress for me knowing I don’t have to worry about that cost!”
As a charity, the RBF relies on the generosity of its supporters and the donations they raise – all of which go straight to funding the welfare and crisis needs of people working in rail. RBF President Pete Waterman said: “The kids in rail have had another difficult year what with lockdowns, home-schooling and isolations. Here at RBF, our Christmas wish this year is to be able to provide help to all the railway families that come to us in tough times. If RBF reach their target of raising £40,000, they will be able to support 130 rail families and children in need this Christmas
“By donating, you will make a real difference to railway families this Christmas and help to make this wish come true.”