Our aims and work
CSIS Charity Fund is a small, highly focused organisation with the welfare of serving, retired and former civil and public servants at its heart. Our charitable Objects, and our whole purpose, is the relief of need, hardship and distress amongst our client group.
We are able to interpret the term “civil or public servant” in our Objects quite widely. Those who may benefit from our help include:
- Employees of government departments
- Government agencies and non-departmental public bodies
- The armed forces
- All employees working in the NHS and care services
- Teachers and teaching assistants
- The police, fire and other emergency services
- Local government employees
- Employees of privatised bodies that were formerly part of the civil service such as BT, the Post Office and the railways, whose pensioners were civil servants when they were working
NHS Retirement Fellowship Members
Our Trustees' aim is to put the trading surplus of the Civil Service Insurance Society to good use by giving grants to organisations who can help individuals in the groups above. The bodies that receive our grants are chosen specifically because of their commitment to helping people from our target group and their dependants during times of financial hardship, distress or personal loss. Some take action by setting up time-limited programmes or community projects, others by helping individuals more directly with financial grants and/or emotional support.
Our roots go back well over a century, but 2008 was our first full year as an independent charitable company. We are proud to say that, between 2008 and 2018, we have made grants totalling just over £8.6 million to some 110 different organisations, £4.5 million of which was in the last five years.
Our Trustees' Annual Report and Accounts describe the range of our grant giving, including tables listing all of the grants we have given and all of the organisations we have supported, while our 10th Anniversary Celebration Review shows the impact our grant giving can have, all as a result of the donations we receive from the Civil Service Insurance Society. These documents can be downloaded here and here. (Copies of the Trustees' Report and Accounts for earlier years can be obtained from the Charity Commission's website.)
Some key facts and figures about our grant giving are also set out in a separate page under "More About Us", which can be accessed here. This includes a table giving the total amounts awarded to our main partner charities since 2008 and a breakdown of the totals between the main public service charities we have supported for years and those we have supported more recently, including with small one-off grants.
Our Grant Giving in 2018
In 2018, we made grants totalling £1,177,057, thanks to an exceptionally large donation from CSIS, the result of a one-off profit share from past trading. £21,057 was paid to the widows of CSIS policyholders and the remaining £1,156,000 went to 34 different charities around the UK.
Amongst the 20 largest grants were:
- £250,000 to the Charity for Civil Servants
- £75,000 to the BT Benevolent Fund
- £75,000 to Education Support Partnership
- £65,000 to the Rowland Hill Fund
- £65,000 to Hospice UK
- £60,000 to the Cavell Nurses' Trust
- £40,000 to the Post office Orphans Benevolent Institution (POOBI)
- £40,000 to the Railway Benefit Fund
- £40,000 to the NHS Retirement Fellowship
- £40,000 to The Ambulance Services Charity (TASC)
- £40,000 to the Care Workers Charity
- £35,000 to the Civil Service Retirement Fellowship (CSRF)
- £35,000 to the Northern Ireland Prison Service Central Benevolent Fund
- £30,000 to the MOD Family Activity Breaks (FAB) Project
- £30,000 to the Police Treatment Centres
- £30,000 to the Prison Officers Association Welfare Fund
- £20,000 to the Social Workers Benevolent Fund
- £20,000 to Canterbury Oast Trust
- £15,000 to the Relatives and Residents Association
- £5,000 to the Civil Service Sports Council
The largest grant of £250,000 went to our long standing, main partner, the Charity for Civil Servants (CfCS), to help fund their welfare grants and initiatives such as their "carer's passport" which helps civil servants with caring responsibilities secure the support they need in their workplaces.
The Charity for Civil Servants exists to provide practical, personal support and advice to more than 4 million people who have worked or work in qualifying civil service roles. We have given them substantial annual, unrestricted grants over many years but we have also given them additional one-off donations for special projects.
In turn, we benefit from their expertise and experience. The Charity for Civil Servants help us by visiting a small number of widows of deceased CSIS policyholders who we support directly to assess their needs and advise us on the best way to help them.
Other grants went to charities supporting teachers, nurses, ambulance workers, injured police officers, prison and probation staff, care workers, social workers, post and telecommunications workers, railway workers and bereaved service families, amongst others. We gave grants to eight charities, amounting to £80,000, we had not previously supported. The remaining grants ranged mainly from £5,000 to £20,000. The smallest grant was £500 to Norwich Men's Shed, a small community project which tackles loneliness amongst single men by "providing a place for blokes to meet informally and safely to do 'hands-on' stuff together."
Also, see below for a snapshot of the important work some of the organisations we have supported are able to carry out as a result of our help.
Education Support Partnership (formerly Teacher Support Network)
Education Support is the only charity the CSIS Charity Fund supports which looks after the teaching profession. A grant of £75,000 was made to help it meet the increasing demand for its services, boosting the Welfare Grants Programme and Training & Development Fund.
Rowland Hill Fund
£65,000 was awarded in 2018 to enable the charity to continue to assist Royal Mail and Post Office employees, pensioners and their dependents in times of financial struggle. Help is given towards rent, mortgage and utility bill arrears, disability aids, home modifications, hospital travelling expenses, funeral expenses, white goods and heating/boiler repairs.
BT Benevolent Fund
The Charity Fund's £75,000 grant in 2018 went to support both one-off and regular (weekly) grants, including those generated by the Pensioner Contact programme and made under the Care in the Home policy. The aim is to be able to assist retired BT employees and their dependants experiencing hardship. The Fund has a potential beneficiary base of a million people.
The Charity for Civil Servants
The charity received a £250,000 donation from us in 2018, making CSIS Charity Fund its largest single donor. With up to four million serving, former and retired civil servants eligible for the charity's help, individuals can apply for assistance when they are struggling with problems arising from job loss, disabilities, low incomes, caring responsibilities and other factors including stress at work, marital breakup and debt. We have a long standing relationship with the charity, sometimes augmenting our regular grant giving with separate funds to help new initiatives and receive regular reports on the impact of our funding. More information is available from their web site.
MOD FAB Activity Holidays for Bereaved Service Families
Family Activity Breaks (FAB) has been supported by the Charity Fund since 2008 and in 2018 we awarded the project £30,000 to continue providing bereaved military families with activity-based holidays in an adventurous but caring environment. This provides opportunities for families to meet others going through the same experience, share time with them and receive peer support. Feedback from the families continues to confirm that the holidays meet a real need and make a huge difference to those involved.
We have worked with Hospice UK for many years. Through them we have been able to help hospices that have a lower profile and have not been so well supported by the general public. They have run competitions for us to find the right sort of projects for us to support and vet them in a way we could not do. In 2018 we took a different approach and gave them a grant of £65,000 to work up and promote the "compassionate neighbour" scheme through which hospices can enlist local supporters to help reduce loneliness and social isolation with the people they work with. Compassionate neighbours are trained volunteers offering friendship and a listening ear to people living in their community, who are at the end of life through age or illness
Civil Service Retirement Fellowship
A £35,000 grant was agreed in 2018 to fund the expansion of CSRF's befriending services to help promote, train and deliver the National Visitors Network to BT Benevolent Fund's beneficiaries.
Post Office Orphans Benevolent Institution (POOBI)
A grant of £40,000 was made to help fund POOBI's University bursary and rising stars schemes in 2018. The two schemes provide invaluable help in supporting children from low income families in fulfilling their potential, for example, the young graduate we were told about who had recently landed her dream job working as a paramedic thanks to a bursary from the POOBI.
Railway Benefit Fund (RBF)
The RBF provides direct support, information, advice and guidance to current and former rail employees in hardship. The Charity Fund's grant of £40,000 in 2018 provided financial support, advice and guidance and enabled RBF to develop its non-financial support services, in particular its offer to those currently employed in the Rail Industry.
Northern Ireland Prison Service Central Benevolent Fund
We have always been pleased to support the Northern Ireland Prison Officers Central Benevolent Fund. Serving and retired prison officers and their families still live with the threat of extreme violence from groups which oppose the Good Friday Agreement. In the past we have helped pay for improvements to holiday accommodation which enable prison officers and their families to enjoy holidays in a safe environment. In 2018 we gave them a grant of £35,000 to help fund social events for elderly widows of prison officers who were finding it increasingly hard to get out. Trustees have now agreed a grant of £21,000 for 2019 to provide wet rooms in the Fund's holiday bungalows. This will allow older widows and those with mobility problems to use the bungalows for a short respite break in safety
The Ambulance Service Charity (TASC) The Ambulance Staff Charity (TASK) is the leading UK charity that supports current and retired Ambulance Services personnel and their families in their time of difficulty or urgent need. We gave them a grant of £40,000 in 2018, £30,000 of which was to be allocated to physical rehabilitation services and the remaining £10,000 was to be used to support victims of domestic violence amongst ambulance workers.
The Care Workers Charity The Care Workers Charity is the benevolent fund for the care sector, supporting care staff by relieving need, hardship and distress, through essential needs and crisis grants. Support is also offered in the form of signposting, information and advice on a range of money and health topics, and soon to be preventative services such as financial capability training and mental wellbeing in the workplace training. Care workers are some of the most poorly paid and hard working employees and gave the Care Workers Charity a grant of £40,000 to support their work in 2018 and have given a further £30,000 for 2019.
Cavell Nurses Trust
Cavell Nurses' Trust provides support for UK nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants, both working and retired, when they're suffering personal or financial hardship - often because of illness, disability, domestic abuse and the effects of older age. The charity was new to us in 2017 and we gave them a grant of £30,000 to help towards the cost of individual grants and to purchase mobility aids, house adaptions, replacement boilers etc. The Trustees agreed an award of £60,000 towards these costs in 2018 and a further grant of £40,000 has been awarded for 2019
Canterbury Oast Trust
The Trust was established in 1985in Kent to give a better future to adults with learning difficulties, a number of whom were sons and daughters of civil servants. The Fund's £20,000 grant in 2018 was a contribution towards the build costs for a new Skills Academy. The plan was to build the new facility within the charity's farm at the Rare Breeds Centre. The new centre is nw up and running and we have given them a further grant of £15,000 for 2019 to help fund the first year's salary of an Information Technology Life Skills Tutor.
NHS Retirement Fellowship
The Fellowship gives retired NHS staff and their partners the chance to meet and make contact with others like them. The £40,000 grant we made in 2018 will help fund a project officer, help the development of its Social Care project and support improvements to its web site to increase its visibility.