Some examples of how we have helped:
The Journalists’ Charity is best known for its high-quality care and retirement homes. But some of its most important work is supporting journalists and their dependants who, for many reasons, have fallen on difficult times. Each year we spend about £250,000 helping people who were in desperate straits. No two cases are the same and each application is treated on its merits. Below are just a few examples of those we have helped in recent months. Obviously, we have changed the names because we guarantee anonymity to those who come to us.
Three years ago, at the age of 47, Angela had to give up her job for health reasons. She is currently in remission and is slowly returning to work with a few casual shifts as a sub-editor. She has been managing on a combination of benefits but has built up gas and electricity arrears. Her boiler is broken and she has no heating or hot water. She doesn’t have enough money to pay the bills or repair the boiler. A grant of £1,450 will clear the arrears and pay for the boiler to be fixed.
Robert is 64 and a full-time carer for his wife. Her consultant feels a hydrotherapy bath would help ease the chronic pain that she suffers. Using friends, they can install the bath for £1,867. They have no savings and limited income.
Allison is 47 and has been unemployed for five months. She has no savings and lives in a rented property with her 17-year-old daughter. She receives jobseeker’s allowance and has applied for housing benefit, but this has not been processed yet. She cannot borrow money because of past credit card debts which she is paying off through a debt plan. She is actively seeking work, but an emergency grant of £400 would cover her living expenses until her benefit situation becomes clearer.
Wendy had been a successful freelance. She is 51. Early in the year a commission was dropped and she hasn’t found other work over the summer. She has applied for benefits but is caught in the appeals process following a mistake by the Benefits Office. This could take up to 10 weeks to resolve. She does have work lined up for the autumn but has run out of money. A grant of £400 would keep her going until the appeal is completed.
Geraldine is 72 and was married to a retired journalist who died four months ago. She has used most of her savings to pay the funeral expenses and is starting to receive bills, including utility arrears and council tax. It will take some time to sort out her benefit and pension entitlements. A grant of £1,000 would help to cover her living costs and bills until it is possible to assess her longer term financial situation.
Isobel is 33. She has spent the last three years dealing with addiction. She has now successfully completing a photography course. The charity paid for her equipment with a grant last year. She has a strong possibility of some freelance work on a community-based documentary project and has also found a potential outlet for her photography. She needs to put together a portfolio, pay fares to get to meetings and have internet access. A grant of £800 would cover these costs.