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A helping hand when it’s needed

Health, job security, money matters – life can be full of challenges, and sometimes it can be hard to know where to turn. From 1 September EI members will be able to access a new confidential advice service providing practical information, support and counselling on a wide range of personal, legal and financial issues.

The new service is offered through the EI’s Benevolent Fund, which was set up in 2003 to help members, past members and their dependents in times of hardship.

’We try to help where we can, and can sometimes give small grants, but often the support people need is really about finding their way around a difficult situation,’ says Alan Higgins FEI, Chair of the Benevolent Fund Management Committee.

’One problem can lead to another and can have a huge impact on our wellbeing. But all of that might have been avoided with a little advice from a source you can trust. From September, we will be providing just that.’

The new service will be available around-the-clock either over the telephone or online and is totally free. It is provided by Life and Progress in partnership with Care First with the focus on ‘in the moment support’.

‘The service is absolutely confidential – no one at the EI or the Benevolent Fund will know that you have used it. We can provide advice on a range of issues – personal, financial, work-related, legal and general advice on health and wellbeing. This can include support in relation to mental health,’ says Life and Progress’ Garth MacAnally.

’The helpline is staffed by qualified counsellors and specialists, and if you don’t feel comfortable calling us – or don’t think it’s appropriate - there is also a website with hundreds of pages of advice, webinars, and an online chat service. The information on the site is from a variety of sources including Citizens Advice and the NHS so it’s up to date, accurate and the best advice available.’

‘More than 4 in 5 people using our services say that, had they not contacted us, they would have needed to take time off to resolve their problems.’

The new service launches on 1 September as part of a two year pilot. For further information, to access the service  visit or call 0300 3034331.

The Benevolent Fund Committee is currently looking for new members. If you are interested in getting involved please email 

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