How did you hear about the Fund?
“Having found myself unexpectedly redundant in 2015 and struggling to meet the cost of my RSC subscription fees I emailed the membership team to explain my situation and to request more time. It was shortly after I had sent this email that I then received an email from the Chemists’ Community Fund.
“The email explained that the Fund exists to support its members and their immediate family in times of difficulty or hardship through personal or family illness, bereavement, job loss or other misfortune. The Fund may be able to provide financial assistance, advice and guidance or support at a local level by way of a visit from a Volunteer Visitor. It went on to say that should I like to apply for financial support an application form could be sent to me.”
What concerns did you have when making the initial contact with the Fund?
“Previously I had not thought I was eligible for support from the Fund as I am a homeowner and have always been fortunate to be in work, but the email confirmed I would be eligible to apply and given that I had not yet found re-employment I responded by email requesting an application form to be sent.
“I was also worried that if I received a grant it would have a negative effect on the state benefits I was in receipt of but the Fund team assured me that a charitable grant would not have any effect on my benefit entitlement. I gave all paperwork to my Work Coach and he confirmed this. Therefore, I filled in the application form and sent it back along with all of my details and was told a month or so later that I had been awarded a charitable grant towards my living costs.”
How did the financial support you were granted assist with your situation?
“The support proved to be invaluable to me, as it took longer to find re-employment than I had hoped. I was also able to take advantage of the CCF’s volunteer network and spoke to Laura with the RSC Careers Team. This enabled me to keep in touch with my peers and improved my general mood and outset through the difficult job applying process. I also found that my local section was very supportive and it was a breath of fresh air to attend the regular events.
“My biggest fear was that we would lose our home before I found a new job. I had been applying for a wide range of jobs, not just in chemistry. I would encourage anyone in a difficult situation not just to get in touch with the CCF, but also to keep in touch with your local section and speak to Laura the RSC careers adviser. She helped me to keep my spirits up and all of the above helped me to feel included in the world of chemistry and remember that I do have skills that employers are looking for.”
And how have things progressed for you since the support from the Fund?
“After almost a year I was very pleased to re-enter employment, albeit at a significantly lower wage. However, the temporary job did enable me to get back on my feet until a more challenging and rewarding role came along.
“I would like to sincerely thank everyone at the RSC for their support through such a difficult period. I did not only receive invaluable financial support, but also moral support from everyone I was in contact with.”
What would you say to someone who was thinking of contact the Fund?
“For anyone who thinks they are not eligible to receive support I would say, ‘There is no harm in asking’ and even if you are not awarded any financial support you will definitely receive invaluable moral support.”
*Name has been changed