Automotive industry charity Ben has published its annual Impact Report, revealing an increase in the number of people suffering with low income, anxiety and depression.
The organisation provides support for motor industry people and their family dependants, including those working in franchised dealerships.
Financial and mental health challenges remain the most common reasons people contact Ben’s helpline or visit the support pages of its website. It also supports people through bereavement, redundancy and debt.
Zara Ross, Ben’s chief executive, said: “We’re very proud to be sharing our annual Impact Report for 2017-18 which outlines the biggest health issues that people working in our sector are facing, as well as highlighting Ben’s impact on peoples’ lives. The report also shows how we have partnered with companies to support the wellbeing of their people.
“We are very grateful to all of our supporters who have helped raise awareness and funds to enable us to continue supporting the automotive industry and its people. You play a crucial role in enabling us to provide life-changing support to many people each year and you make it possible for us to deliver a positive impact to the industry. We couldn’t continue to do our work without you.”
During the year, Ben helped people in need access more than £865,000 worth of benefits that they were entitled to. Ben also organised counselling sessions for 151 people with issues including depression and anxiety.
As part of its support offering, Ben also helped people in a number of other ways, including organising emergency food and shelter payments, helping them to manage income as well as supporting them through loneliness and relationship breakdowns.
Reflecting the fact that the automotive industry is predominantly male, there was an obvious gender split, with 61% men and 39% women contacting Ben for support.
Fundraising income totalled £4.23m, boosted by corporate events such as the JLR English Channel Swim, which raised £214,644, and the Ben Ball, which raised £336,529.
Additionally, a total of 97 individuals took part in challenge events for Ben last year, such as the London Marathon.
In order for Ben to help more individuals, raising awareness within the industry and reaching these people through companies, is vital. Through Ben4Business, which launched in 2017, Ben says it has worked with 143 companies to support their commitment to the health and wellbeing of their employees and to raise awareness; visiting 356 different automotive industry workplaces, engaging directly with over 15,000 employees.
Katie Saunders, HR director at JCT600, said: “We are working with Ben in a very different way these days. We work in partnership to support our employees in the business when they face challenges in a variety of forms, to ensure a positive outcome. This ranges from mental health to financial issues.”
A big part of Ben4Business is BenTraining, which also launched in 2017, consisting of mental health training for managers and mental health masterclasses for employees. So far, Ben has trained 693 people from 24 companies about mental health and 93% of these people said they would recommend it to others.
Karen Rourke, HR manager at Motordepot, said: “In such a short period of time, we have raised mental health awareness amongst our employees and managers by using BenTraining.”