Ben – Vital Support for the Automotive Industry
Supporting the Lifeblood of the Automotive Industry – The Role of Ben
Ben is a charity who have been providing support to workers in the automotive industry for over 100 years. With a strong focus on mental health and wellbeing, the festive season is a notorious time for exacerbating issues. In this article, we want to raise awareness of their work in the hope that more lives can be helped at this difficult time for many across the automotive sector.
Before we look into Ben as an organisation though, I feel there needs to be a little more context here and why their role is so crucial – especially right now.
Recognising the importance of staff wellbeing.
There can be little doubt that staff wellbeing is a massively important issue, particularly in the here and now.
We are currently facing another wave of the Covid virus that has wreaked havoc across the globe for the best part of two years. Needless to say, the impact on jobs and people’s lives is far-reaching.
The problem is, many reports carried out during the pandemic – and particularly after the first wave last year – are highlighting that wellbeing in the workplace needs a “radical” rethink by employers like never before.
Many issues have been accelerated by the pandemic – and yet the evidence also suggests there are still many employers with little idea as to what wellbeing means, let alone what an effective programme should look like.
It is crucial that businesses acknowledge that wellbeing needs to be agile, data driven and continually considering its people’s needs. By not knowing the numbers, the effectiveness of any wellbeing programme is greatly diminished.
There also needs to be an understanding that wellbeing isn’t just focussing on mental health. The wellbeing of a workforce impacts on both physical and mental health – and that the two are often intertwined.
The benefits of staff wellbeing for an employer.
As well as being the right thing to do for its workforce on a human level, for any business that does invest and embrace positive wellbeing and health, they can expect to be rewarded in the bottom line on the balance sheet.
Growing evidence suggests that for every £1 invested, an employer could expect to receive £5 back in reduced absence, improved employee engagement and overall productivity.
For businesses in the automotive industry, working with charities like Ben can help put an effective wellbeing strategy in place and provide immediate access to a wealth of resources that can help them and their employees deal with a variety of life’s challenges in a variety of ways.
So what is Ben?
From the beginning.
Incredibly, Ben was founded back in 1905 – when there just a few hundred vehicles on the road. Set up by A J Wilson whilst he was working for Dunlop tyres, they were originally named the Cycle Trades Benevolent Fund. The word “Motor” was later added to the name as the popularity in cars grew.
Right from the get-go though, the fund’s aim was to help those who worked in the trade who fell on hard times. Remember, there was no welfare system in place until after the Second World War, so the fund helped those in need by issuing a series of grants through a network of local offices.
Over the years, other benevolent funds were amalgamated – including funds for coachbuilders and agricultural engineering trades – and formed “Ben” – which today supports people from right across the automotive sector and its allied trades.
A huge landmark for the organisation came in 1948 when Ben opened its first residential care home at Lynwood Court in Ascot, Berkshire. In 1972 it also became Ben’s HQ, where they are still based today.
Today, Ben has 3 residential care centres in the UK, whilst its health and wellbeing support service provides far more than grants these days. The core function though remains the same – supporting those in need.
The role of Ben in 2021.
In 2021, the role of Ben has had to evolve to meet the demands of modern living and societal changes. As we’ve said, the on-going Covid pandemic is undoubtedly one of the biggest issues – if not the main issue – businesses in the automotive industry are facing at the moment.
In addition to this, it is said that 1 in 4 people can experience mental health issues at any one time with the added pressures of workload and the continual demands across the automotive industry.
The heightened awareness of mental health issues and wellbeing is encouraging more and more people to realise they may have an issue.
Recognising the issue is an important first step. Unfortunately accessing support isn’t always easy if people don’t know where to find it. The conventional route of support from a GP can take some time even in normal circumstances. During the pandemic, those waiting times have extended further still.
What help is available?
Working with individuals
Once someone reaches out, Ben uses its ‘MyLife’ Wellbeing areas to identify what support an individual needs.
The ‘MyLife’ areas are;
Covering such a broad spectrum of issues, the levels of support available are tailored to the individuals particular needs within the ‘MyLife’ remit.
In such difficult times, financial support is called on for many things. From paying household bills, and support for medical costs to helping encourage better money management, Ben have the resources to help ease financial burden.
For those who are going through tough times whether it’s at home or work, or are dealing with personal trauma, loss, or are struggling with issues around anxiety or depression – Ben can offer counselling and talking therapies through its Life Coaching service – the results of which are incredible in having people make significant positive life changes.
In addition to these services for those working in the automotive sector, Ben also offers support to their families and those closest to service users.
Ben’s website (link provided at the end of this article) is packed full of tools and advice to help individuals take the first steps, as well as provide more information about the different services available.
Working with Businesses
Perhaps one of the most significant aspects of Ben’s role is to help businesses in the automotive industry achieve a greater understanding in their employee’s wellbeing and health – and the role they should play.
The benefits for the business have already been mentioned, but in reality, everyone benefits if many issues can be identified and worked on at company level.
Ben has recently entered a new partnership with wellness experts Wellonomics – to provide a customised platform that will give businesses access to tools to review employees’ health and wellbeing.
The platform gathers anonymous data and allows for monthly online assessments to be submitted – thus helping the company to really drill into the numbers and identify areas of concern and focus for improvement.
Whilst this project is due to launch in 2022, Ben already offers many incredible resources that automotive businesses can tap into.
Ben currently offers training to employers focussed on health and wellbeing. There is also a Critical Response Service which supports employers with employee issues of an urgent nature – such as loss of life or traumatic events, self-harm or safeguarding or circumstances related to complex health needs or disability.
Ben also uses its close links with businesses to help raise general awareness of their other services including Ben’s helpline, support service, specialist support for mental health with the provision of SilverCloud – (Ben’s digital CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) platform) – its counselling services, talking therapies and other specialist therapies as well as it’s life coaching service.
Working closely with businesses is something Ben is firmly committed to and as we move into 2022, those links are certain to get stronger.
Who are the people behind Ben?
The services provided by Ben relies on the quality, determination and dedication of its people. From a strong leadership team as well as it’s specialists and volunteers, everyone helps to get the necessary support to those in need.
Headed up by CEO – Zara Ross, Health & Wellbeing Director – Rachel Clift and Director of Partnerships, Engagement and Income – Matt Wiggington, Ben has an experienced team around them to help deal with today’s challenges.
The Fundraiser, Donor Management & Events Team are tasked with raising the funds to help Ben provide the support and initiatives it does – as well as generating awareness and engagement within the automotive sector.
It was indeed at such an event – the CV Show at the NEC in September that we attended where we first spoke to representatives from Ben about the work they do – giving us the idea for this feature.
The Business Development team are crucial to securing those business relationships already talked about. In doing this, Ben can continue to provide the support within the automotive sector to those businesses who need it.
The Marketing team are tasked with both raising awareness and generating engagement through a variety of channels.
The last ten years or so has seen social media rise to the forefront of both awareness and engagement campaigns – giving instant access and reach to those in need. However, social media is just one of the many channels that the marketing team will use to help reach as many people as possible.
Right at the forefront of the work Ben carries out is its Frontline delivery team – from its helpline advisers, case managers and it’s clinical and non-clinical specialist roles – all of whom provide the crucial support to the service users.
Help Ben to help others
First and foremost, should you feel you need support or you’re concerned about someone else who might benefit from Ben’s support, you can reach out to Ben via their free and confidential helpline on
0808 131 1333, which is open Mon-Fri 8am to 8pm, or via email email@example.com.
If you’d like to know more about Ben’s services and support, how you can promote or work in partnership with Ben, then you can also contact Ben’s Health & Wellbeing Director, Rachel Clift on 07545 162567 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally, Ben also relies on financial support from it’s donors. On the Ben website there is the opportunity to make a donation.
For more information about Ben, the work they do and how you could support them then please do go and check out their website by clicking the button below.
Thank you to Steve Pinchen, Ben’s Employer Partnerships Executive for helping put this together