The Security Benevolent Fund

The Security Benevolent Fund was founded in 2006 as “Here 4U” by the then Master of the Worshipful Company of Security Professionals (WCoSP), John Purnell, and his successor, Peter French. They identified the need to create a safety net for the most vulnerable people working in, and retired from, the Security Profession, the Blue Light Services, and the Armed Forces.

Many people working in security on the front line are at the lower end of pay scales and often when illness or injury strikes, they need help, guidance, and support to get back to work or to return to normal life. Those who have retired often have limited financial resources to help them when problems occur. In 2010, to avoid confusion with other charities, “Here 4U” was rebranded as “The Security Benevolent Fund” (SBF). The SBF is a Reserve Fund within the wrapper of the WCoSP Charitable Trust (Charity № 1088658) and is administered by the Trustees who are an independent body. The fund was established by a combination of a fund raising appeal to Members of the WCoSP and grants from the WCoSP Charitable Trust, which included funds previously received from the BSIA.

Since the fund was established, there has been a steady increase in applications for help from serving and retired members, and their families from across the security profession. The SBF is not in competition with other bodies in the industry. It aims to work alongside and support other charities as required. It provides welfare, legal, medical and health related guidance and support for current and ex-employees from the security sector.

The SBF aims to provide financial or other practical support for individuals who cannot pay for urgent medical treatment or have fallen on hard times and need help. This is subject to completion of an application, which is considered by the trustees, who will not normally pay money directly to an individual but will settle an invoice or release funds to a reputable body who will supervise the spend. Many of the requests for SBF support come via other organisations such as The Royal British Legion or other service charities. Requests are reviewed by the SBF Welfare Officer who advises the Trustees on the merits of each application. He is sometimes able to recommend small emergency payments to resolve an urgent issue.

The SBF urgently needs additional funds to assist the ever-increasing numbers seeking support. We would be enormously grateful for any donations to the fund. To send donations please click here, or post to: The Security Benevolent Fund, Clerk to the Worshipful Company of Security Professionals, 4 Holmere Farm Cottages, Goose Green, Ashill, Thetford, IP25 7AS.

Contact: clerk@wcosp.org

Who do we seek to help?

The SBF can be the glue to help families in times of stress or bereavement. Many of the applications are from people who have worked in the manned guarding or door supervisor sectors, but we are here for the wider security profession. In general this can be the sectors that work on zero hours contracts, have little in the way of benefits, for example, no payments when you cannot work after being beaten up doing your job – just Statutory Sick Pay or becoming permanently disabled, unable to work, and then having to rely on state handouts. No death in service life insurance because companies have reduced margins on contracts, so employee benefits are discarded. Becoming terminally ill and you are the bread winner or the main carer for your elderly parents or thrown out of your home through a family break down and you have no access to counselling – perhaps just prescribed a few pills. Hunted down by an abusive partner, trying to protect your 6 year old daughter, whilst working as a security officer and sofa surfing. Life can be a real challenge.

Where SBF is different, is working to influence employers by highlighting anonymously the social issues of their present and past employees. Perhaps in the near future Gold Standard companies could be the ones including insurance to look after employees if they are injured in the line of duty and death in service cover to help with funeral expenses, as well as protecting their family’s future.

We are seeing more and more applicants with mental health problems, this maybe because we disproportionally see individuals that lack self- confidence, and just want a job where they can hide away; perhaps they are subjected to bullying and harassment at work but think they are lucky to have a job. Whilst this is not always true, it is something that we see very often in the people that come to the SBF for help.

We are hearing from an increasing number of people expressing disturbing symptoms of depression and emotional instability. PTSD is an anxiety disorder caused by very stressful, frightening or distressing events. Someone with PTSD often relives the traumatic event through nightmares and flashbacks, and may experience feelings of isolation, irritability and guilt. This is not just affecting veterans, and our Trust has donated money to the charities Combat Stress and PTSD – Resolution, but also to the security officer that witnessed a workplace suicide and was the first responder. The manned guarding sector is generally unprepared to offer support to that person or their family. We can offer a helpful link.

What can we achieve together?

SBF is the only charity dedicated to working with this sector, a profession that has great importance to the UK economy, integral to counter terrorism operations and public safety. Our interventions to date have produced a long list of successes, such as:

Charles died of a heart attack getting ready to commence his shift, leaving 4 young children, and on £9.00 per hour no insurances. We learned that Charles’s widow was looking to borrow money from a payday lender to bury him. We supported her along with family and friends.

“This financial support really assisted me and my family at this very difficult time. We are all so thankful to the financial support received and cannot thank the SBF enough”

Cancer has affected many of us, Jenny developing a tumour led to her partner, who had worked in security for over 20 years, having to stop working so hard, he became her carer and needless to say found it very hard to take, seeing a loved one dying before his eyes. SBF helped during this tragic situation.

“It’s at times like this that you need all the support you can get, emotionally and financially. The support of the SBF made things for me and my family that little bit easier”.

An urgent application for assistance was received from a charity for the homeless on behalf of Simon who at the time was sleeping rough. He had worked as a security officer and had various short-term security jobs as he moved around the country. Simon had been a victim of abuse as a child, suffered from mental health issues as a result, which made it difficult for him to hold down a job, so he had often travelled from place to place, sleeping rough and trying to find work where he could. Whilst sleeping rough, he was the victim of a random attack which left him with life changing injuries meaning he could no longer work and was reliant on benefits. Our intervention helped him into permanent safe accommodation, no longer in danger of attack in what can be a ruthless world.

“This is just one case of many. The fact that the SBF listened and reached out to support, means more people like Simon can be helped in the future. Our thanks go out to everyone involved”

Matt had worked as a security guard for a variety of companies over many years. He was signed off work with mental health issues but hoped to be able to return to work in due course. He had recently split up with his long-term partner and had a young son from the relationship, as a result had found himself homeless – his partner being the sole tenancy holder. He was sleeping on the sofa at his family’s house, but could not stay there. Our intervention helped him get accommodation, he now sees his son, is working and studying to be a security supervisor.

“The SBF helped me to get back to some form of normality, affording me the opportunity to once again see my Son. I cannot thank the SBF enough for their generosity and actually caring enough to get involved and support me”

Nancy is our sofa surfer with a 6 year old daughter. She was not looking for money, but support. Who could she turn to, to get out of this hell? One of our Trustees knew who could support her, it was important that she kept her job and income. Two years later she has a new life – still works in security but now is a supervisor – she and her daughter are doing well.

“It is the kind, caring nature of the people within the SBF that helped turn my life around”

The Trustees agreed to donate £750 towards replacement of a central heating boiler of a former security officer with a young family, unemployed due to several advancing medical conditions.

“I would like to say a massive thank you to the SBF for help towards our new boiler. Having a new boiler has changed my family’s lives. We would have never been able to afford the work doing, I again thank you so much, I and my family are so grateful.”

Case studies have been anonymised to protect the identity of each individual.