This post is guest authored by Bill Hill, CEO of the Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity
In a year that saw the country in turmoil as a result of the Covid 19 pandemic and three national lockdowns, the Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity shone a beacon of hope to our construction community by responding to 2399 families in crisis.
The number of cases that needed to be managed by professional case workers increased by 70% due to the complexity of the cases presented. As the Covid pandemic took hold, many callers to the charity’s helpline struggled to understand their basic entitlements such as the government furlough scheme and other benefits. The charity’s case workers leveraged £562,000 from other sources including benefit entitlements that would have otherwise gone unclaimed before releasing additional charitable grants to support the most needy. The intervention of the case workers has ensured better financial stability for those in need and enabled the charity to deliver more support, to a higher quality and at a lower cost per case.
The charity has also spent £224,229 on wellbeing education and training. After a short delay to adapt the Mental Health First Aid Instructor courses for online delivery, the CITB funded Building Mental Health programme soon re started and a further 41 construction focussed instructors received training. Since the programme started, 214 instructors have been trained; the highest number in any industry sector.
As part of their pro-active support strategy the charity also began offering all of their construction focussed training free of charge and augmented all the courses for online delivery to meet the needs of the industry and the restrictions of face to face training. 1535 people received free wellbeing training, ranging from coping with stress, mindfulness and resilience, and with ongoing financial support from the industry, the charity will be continuing their free training into 2021.
Generously supported by COINS a further £87,000 was invested in innovation, specifically on the Construction Industry Helpline app which complements the charity’s 24/7 helpline in offering a huge variety of information and guidance in the areas of mental, physical and financial wellbeing. During 2020 the app was developed with some exciting new features which included a geo locator to ensure that users are provided with support in their local area. Another new feature provides simple to understand and unbiased financial information. At a time when financial security was paramount to so many, the app has provided a financial lifeline which in turn has improved overall wellbeing.
BECG is a proud supporter of The Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity. It is the only charity that provides financial and mental wellbeing support to the construction workforce and their families. The charity provides a 24 /7 Construction Industry Helpline which is the first point of contact to access a range of completely free and confidential support services including emergency financial aid, advice on welfare and mental wellbeing, and support on legal, tax and debt management matters.