Motor industry charity Ben plans to spin off its care centres and residential homes in response to growing demand for its support services as part of a new five-year strategic plan.
Ben said the automotive industry charity had experienced a significant increase in demand for its services since 2018, managing over 300% more enquiries through its confidential helpline and supporting over 200% more people through its support and specialist services.
Ben’s board of trustees and executive team said they had spent the past 12 months completing a strategic review of every aspect of the support and services it operates and wanted to reflect the changing context for people working in the automotive industry through enhancing and accelerating both its reactive and preventative health and wellbeing support services and driving increased impact and engagement across the automotive industry.
As part of the fundamental review of all Ben’s current services, the charity said the future of its care, and latterly village, services which have been an integral and valued part of the charity for over 70 years had been examined.
Ben Care provides flexible care and support at its care homes in Ascot, Easenhall in Warwickshire and Berwick-upon Tweed in Northumberland with residential, nursing, dementia and respite care, and support for the over 55s community in Coventry. In its annual report & financial statements for the year ended March 2022, the charity said the costs of providing care in its care homes had risen by 7% to £11.1 million.
“After very careful consideration, the board, supported by Ben’s executive team, has unanimously concluded that now is the right time to recommend the transfer of these services to the stewardship of new operators. We believe this will ensure that these services and our employees working in them have the very best opportunity to continue to flourish, develop and thrive going forward.”
Zara Ross, Ben’s CEO, said: “The announcement being made today marks a significant period of change for our charity, but we believe now is the right time for us to make this commitment. This will enable us to grow and accelerate support and services for our automotive family.
“Since 2018 when Ben launched its previous 5-year strategic plan, we have developed our health and wellbeing services and managed significant growth in demand. More people than ever are reaching out to us due to their mental health and financial pressures, along with many life and health or wellbeing related issues. In addition to this, we are also, sadly, responding to more cases where automotive people have been affected by the loss of a colleague through suicide.
“Our board of trustees and executive team are committed to growing our charitable impact even further, but we must raise awareness of the support that Ben provides to ensure we can be there for those who are struggling, or in crisis. We cannot do this alone; we need our industry to join us in raising awareness and help us to support even more of our automotive family. We look forward to sharing more about the scale of our ambition and plans soon.”