It’s a service open to all Baltic Exchange members who choose to join, but one which hopefully will never be needed. The Baltic Exchange Charitable Society provides assistance to members and their families with financial, health or other problems. It is a Society which can trace its roots back to the 19th century and today has assets of over £5 million.
“No-one knows what’s around the corner,” says the Charitable Society’s Secretary Richard Butler. “When you’re at the start of your career, the last thing on your mind is the need for care and support in the last years of your life. But joining the Baltic Charitable Society isn’t just about planning for old age, it means that you and your loved ones are shielded from an unexpected change in fortune or health throughout your life.”
The Society has an impressive list of achievements. “We want to help people have as good a quality of life as possible, and this can mean helping members live in their own homes for as long as possible. We finance respite care to look after partners; we have paid for the installation of numerous stair-lifts, wet rooms and other bathroom fittings; and we can help top fees to enable members to stay in particular care home at the end of their lives if their own resources have run out,” comments Richard Butler.
The oldest recipient of the Society’s support is now 107 and still living in her own home thanks to the Society’s provision of a stair-lift.
But the Society does more than just help the elderly: it also supports those facing challenges earlier in life. Recent examples include:
- Assistance with college fees at the Royal Academy of Music for the gifted son of a member in great hardship – an intervention that paid dividends as the young man in question went on to win major competitions and is now successfully embarked on a career in the fiercely competitive world of opera, singing major roles in houses in Germany and in the UK.
- A high flyer with a major company was struck down with multiple sclerosis in his 30s and has been helped by the Society over many years, making it possible for him to live on his own, to be independent and to transform a bungalow that is now adapted for wheelchair use. Now in his late 40s, he is coping with a situation which can only deteriorate, but can feel secure that the Society is there as a safety net if he ever should need help in addition to his own efforts.
- Life enhancing help for a physically disabled member, earlier employed as an IT manager in a family shipping business that has ceased trading. He has been severely disabled from birth and constantly suffering from ME and depression, aged 45 and with a young family (2 children). Now a full-time wheelchair user and with no prospect of any earnings, the Society has been supporting him with financial assistance, topping up any help he is able to obtain from the state. The trustees’ involvement and sympathy for this family has given them a confidence and assurance they would certainly not otherwise have.
- A non-UK shipbroker based in South America was made redundant in his 50s. Help to enable his two young children to continue their education at the local British school was provided. Support has continued with relocation and living expenses while he and his wife seek employment.
- Financial support for a young member who was subject to domestic violence, assistance with replacing damaged items and expenses incurred after a necessary move to a safer home.
The Baltic Charitable Society can, at the present time, only respond to requests from those who have joined the Society, and membership is open to all Baltic members, Baltic Exchange employees, employees of Baltic member companies of companies engaged in the oilseeds trade.
Life membership costs only £50. All those who qualify are urged to join the Society and support its work.
Richard Butler adds: “We hope that members will not hesitate to contact the Society if they feel in need of help, or indeed if they know of a colleague who might be in difficulty. All communication will be treated with the strictest confidence.”
For further details please contact Richard Butler.