A staggering £320,031 has been raised so far by the construction industry to respond to the recent cry for help from the Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity.
Just over five weeks ago and in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and the catastrophic impact it was having on the construction community, the charity launched its Construction Workers Family Crisis Appeal
Hearing the cry for help, the construction industry has done what it does best, rolled up its sleeves, pulled together and raised almost a third of the £1m target. Donations have been received across the country from both individuals and organisations who have stepped up to support the only charity that provides physical, financial and mental wellbeing to our construction workforce and their families.
Bill Hill, CEO of the Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity, said: “We are absolutely astounded by the magnificent response we’ve received so far. We’ve received huge support from the House Builders Federation (HBF) and also from five tier one construction companies; the most recent of which is from Ferrovial Agroman who have made a significant contribution to our appeal.”
Karl Goose, Managing Director, Ferrovial Agroman UK & Ireland, commented: “Considering the sector that we work in, it makes sense to partner with The Lighthouse Club by contributing to their dedicated Construction Workers’ Crisis Fund. Nevertheless, that is not the reason why we have selected the Lighthouse Club. We have done so because they deliver such a committed and vital service for the construction community and their families, and because the funds will immediately be available to really help those who need it most. As time progresses, we are understanding more fully the actual impact the pandemic is having on the people that keep this industry going and it is tragic. The Lighthouse Club is a beacon for many and I am immensely proud to be able to support their efforts.”
However, with calls to the charity’s Construction Industry Helpline up by over 55% compared to this time last year, the appeal is ongoing and the charity has a long way to go before they reach their £1 million target. Their event calendar has been decimated, meaning that a huge proportion of their income has disappeared at a time when the industry needs their support the most.
Bill Hill added: “Calls to our 24/7 Construction Industry Helpline have been desperately sad and we need to do our utmost to ensure our construction community knows we are here for them. It is our mission and moral obligation to ensure that no worker feels alone in a crisis. Sometimes words just aren’t enough but we’d like to say a huge thank you again from the bottom of our hearts to those that have contributed to our crisis appeal and helped us to make a real difference to our construction families in crisis. Here’s just a few of the people you’ve helped.
“We are currently supporting the family of a gentleman who worked in the construction industry for 20 years. The family were already in debt and the news that he was being laid off due to site closure was just too much to take. He took his own life in the family home. We have supported the family with emergency financial assistance for food and utilities, cleared their rent arrears to prevent homelessness and ensured access to much needed emotional support. We all had lumps in our throats when we received a photo of the children holding a poster they had drawn to say thank you to us. That thanks belongs to our supporters.
“A self employed labourer contacted us after his site was closed due to Covid-19. He and his partner have a two-year-old baby and they were frantic about being able to pay their bills. We assisted with an emergency financial grant for food and utilities. We also signposted the family to counselling and legal and tax advice.
“A health and safety executive with over 30 years in the industry was horrified to learn that because he made the decision to go self employed last October he is not eligible for financial support from the Government. His only recourse to financial support is to claim Universal Credit, which will be less than a £100 per week and will take five weeks to reach him. We’ve supported them with emergency funding for food, utilities and advice and guidance on how to re organise finances until he is able to work again.
“A bricklayer contacted our helpline when he was laid off due to Covid-19. In his own words, he had no idea what to do, or where to turn to for help and wasn’t sleeping. We were able to provide guidance on the benefits he could apply for and in the meantime, we provided emergency financial support to pay outstanding bills and ensure that there was food in the house. We also signposted him to a debt specialist offering free advice and with an affordable repayment plan now in place, his mind has been put at rest, he is sleeping better and accessing counselling to support him through this difficult time.”
The charity is urging the industry to continue to dig deep so that they can provide life changing support to the construction community.