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The Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation

Ben launches Christmas Appeal as demand for support soars

Date: Thursday 18 November 2021

Ben, the automotive industry charity, has launched a new Christmas Appeal which aims to raise at least £500,000 to ensure it can support the record numbers of people calling on its services this year.

Ben has seen a 147% increase in demand for support during 2021 as more people than ever before turn to the charity with issues ranging from mental and physical health to poverty, domestic abuse, homelessness and more. These issues are more urgent and more complex than ever before but with fundraising income still impacted by Covid-19, Ben fears it will face the prospect of not being able to help everyone in need.

With many of this year’s fundraising events having fallen victim to cancellation, the charity is asking businesses to pledge support for those industry colleagues and their families who may be struggling.

Ben Chief Executive Zara Ross said:

“While everyone continues to deal with the aftermath of Covid-19, it has been encouraging to see the positive bounce-back enjoyed by much of our industry this year. However, we know that many of our automotive family - the people our industry relies on – are struggling or in crisis as they continue to face life’s toughest challenges.
“I am proud that together, through the pandemic, we have shown that whenever any member of our automotive family is struggling, we all rally to support them. The Christmas Appeal provides a tangible way that organisations can pledge their support and make a tangible difference.”

Ben’s Director of Partnerships, Engagement & Income, Matt Wigginton added:

“Twelve months ago, things were looking desperate. More people than ever contacted Ben for support, and we faced the terrible prospect of turning individuals away if we were unable to raise more money. We were so humbled and overwhelmed by the generosity of our industry, with businesses of all sizes pledging donations totalling £600,000 in just a few short weeks.
“Without that support we would not have been able to support people when Ben was their last or only hope. However, the past few months have seen a significant increase in the number of calls for support once again. Despite strong business performance being reported, things are not getting better for many in our automotive family. Already this year we have helped 147% more people than last year, and 78% more than our previous record levels in 2019.
“And with the continued cancellation of our fundraising events this year we urgently need to raise at least another £500,000 this Christmas to ensure we can help the growing numbers turning to us for support."

Ben’s Health & Wellbeing Director, Rachel Clift concludes:

“People are turning to Ben for support with more urgent and more complex issues than ever before. The good news is that we are continuing to make a significant difference in the lives of those people who reach out to us. This is testament to our tailored support and our exceptional team. But with fundraising income still impacted by Covid-19, we are once again facing the prospect of not being able to help everyone.
“We hope that we can rely on the industry’s support for this campaign, and that organisations will feel able to make a gift to people in our automotive family who are facing the kind of challenges this Christmas that we hope we will never face ourselves.”

Ben is delighted to have received a significant donation of £100,000 from Arnold Clark to kick-start this year’s campaign with Eddie Hawthorne, Group Managing Director, saying

“Ben has always supported our people at Arnold Clark, no matter what issues they have faced, and I am delighted to recognise that with a substantial donation to Ben’s Christmas campaign. There will be many businesses in our industry who have had a very good year, but whose colleagues will have benefited from Ben’s support during what has been an incredibly tough time for them. I would urge them to recognise that by supporting our charity Ben and helping ensure they’re always there for our people.”

Those wishing to contribute can pledge support by emailing To discuss further ways of supporting Ben, call Matt Wigginton, Director of Partnerships, Engagement & Income, on 07880 813051.