Your licensed trade charity needs you

Every year, The Ben provides much-needed financial support to former members of the trade who have fallen into difficult times. New president Gordon Bell outlines the charity’s goals and how you, operators and bar staff, can help it continue to help those in need.

WHEN was The Ben established and what is its mission?
The Ben was established in 1976. It aims to make a real difference to the lives of former colleagues, young and old, from the licensed trade in Scotland who are suffering severe hardship and have nowhere else to turn for the support we provide.
Whether it’s providing financial assistance, a roof over someone’s head or the hand of friendship, we give our time and your money to provide a vital lifeline to people in serious need.

Who is entitled to support from The Ben and what are the main ways in which it can help?
Anyone who has worked full-time in the trade for a minimum of three years and can demonstrate a need either medical or financial.
Each person is treated as an individual so there are countless ways we can help, depending on the circumstances of the individual.
Some receive one-off grants for emergency purposes, others receive annual amounts.

How many beneficiaries does it currently support and how many has it helped over the years?
There are 127 beneficiaries we help on an annual basis.
We also have 18 homes in Pitlochry to maintain. Over the years The Ben has helped hundreds of people within the trade who have needed financial and emotional support.
One of The Ben’s strengths is that it has a team of visitors who keep in contact with the beneficiaries, calling on them socially, giving them advice and support.
In some instances, the visitor is the only social contact the beneficiary receives.

What are the main ways in which the charity raises funds?
The main way the charity raises funds is by running events such as The Ben Dinner, Barrel Ball, races and several golf events. The President’s Appeal also raises much-needed cash.
As the market continues to change, with ongoing corporate consolidation, it is very challenging and our focus at The Ben needs to be on continuing to keep events relevant and good value.
Some of our events are key events in the trade calendar, but we need to work hard to keep them there.

What are the main priorities for 2011?
Our first priority is to continue to support our existing group of beneficiaries, with pensions, one-off payments and provision of housing at Pitlochry.
These people really need our support and we must focus on continuing to help lift their quality of life.
Building on this we have to continue to fight to raise the profile of The Ben.
Lots of people in the trade still don’t know what we do.
Doing this successfully will enable us to achieve our second objective, which is to ensure we continue to maintain a pipeline of people we can support at some point in the future.
This will ensure The Ben continues to be relevant to the trade and fulfils its key objective.

Who in the licensed trade provides support to The Ben?
All the major drinks companies and many of the non-drink suppliers support The Ben. We also have a large number of individuals who support with donations and/or attendance at events.
The Ben could not survive without the support of these groups and individuals and we are exceptionally grateful for the ongoing support we receive.

How can licensed trade staff, operators or drinks firms get involved?
Become a member, corporate membership is £300 and individual membership £30, each payable only once.
Enter into our events – we have a great variety, all great value for entertaining friends and customers, excellent networking opportunities especially at the Ben Dinner in February (see below for latest events calendar). You could even volunteer to run an event as we always need people to help out – The Ben only has one full-time member of staff and all the directors are volunteers.
To get involved, contact Ben chief executive Chris Gardner on 0141 353 3596 or e-mail