Bryan Clover, Chief Executive Officer of the Rainy Day Trust, outlines the role of the organisation and explains the help and support the charity can offer those working in the builders’ merchant sector.
On a day-to-day basis, those employed in the builders’ merchant sector face all the same challenges and concerns to those in all other areas of employment — from wanting to develop their career in the industry, sometimes needing extra financial support, to occasionally needing specialist advice when things go awry.
For managers of builders’ merchants who are trying to do their best to support their staff, it isn’t always easy to know which way to turn when specialist help is needed. Similarly, for more junior members of staff who know they need assistance, but don’t know how to access it, the world can seem difficult to navigate.
The Rainy Day Trust (RDT) operates across the UK’s home improvement and enhancement industry. It is the only charity conceived solely to help people who have worked in, are currently working in or are apprentices in this industry. And that includes builders’ merchants.
The RDT grew out of two benevolent funds for the industry with roots back to 1843, and it now offers a range of services for those at all stages of their careers.
One of the key areas of interest to apprentices in the sector, for example, is likely to be the opportunity to request financial assistance. The RDT provides this support in the form of grants to pay for extra training modules to enhance qualifications. Further financial assistance may be available to meet living costs and transportation. The charity also provides access to welfare benefit checks to ensure benefits entitlement is being met.
Applicants for this kind of help from RDT must be on, or about to start, a recognised apprenticeship scheme within the home improvement, DIY or construction sector, which translates to that of builders’ merchants. They must have less than £10,000 in savings and be on a low income (including support from the ‘bank of Mum and Dad’).
Of particular note for builders’ merchants is the collaboration between RDT and the Worshipful Company of Builders’ Merchants (WCoBM) which has introduced a new bursary, providing financial support to individuals looking to work in the merchant sector or with a supplier to a builders’ merchant.
The bursary — worth up to £2,000 per person — is also available to those already employed in merchanting and wishing to improve their personal development or career in the industry. Applications for a bursary are open to:
- Younger people in full-time education who wish to enter the builders’ merchant sector in any role.
- Current apprentices in the builders’ merchants industry.
- Full or part-time employees at a builders’ merchant or working with a supplier to the builders’ merchant trade.
- Individuals wishing to improve their career prospects within the industry.
While WCoBM has the contacts and funding support, RDT has the means to assess applications, and develop and deliver the programmes to support individuals through their learning and development. This combination of attributes makes the partnership between the two organisations an extremely good fit.
For those currently employed in the builders’ merchant sector, RDT also offers a range of other services:
- The RDT ‘fuel poverty help package’ is aimed at helping anyone who has to decide between eating and heating each winter.
- ‘Legal Express’ is a service for staff members and their families who are having trouble finding and paying for legal advice.
- RDT telephone counselling can provide an understanding ear, for those who just need to talk.
- The charity offers e-learning programmes.
- If a member of staff or their family has lost their job, the RDT Welfare Benefits Calculator is ideal to help them to ensure they receive the correct amount of help.
- The RDT Debt Advice Service is also available.
Whether it’s through practical help or moral support, the RDT will do its best to support the industry. We are currently seeking ‘ambassadors’ to help us in our goals, and would appreciate hearing from anyone in the merchanting world who would like to take on such a role with us.
A book written by Evie Clover, daughter of Rainy Day Trust CEO Bryan Clover, has been published to raise money for the charity set up in her memory.
‘Written by the Stars’ tells the story of young girls breaking years of tradition to make their own destiny and was written by Evie Clover at the age of 12. Evie died aged 13 on 11 January 2018 from a rare and aggressive brain tumour and all proceeds from the sale of the book will go to Evie’s Gift, the charity set up by Evie’s parents Bryan and Patsy to offer support to families of critically-ill children.
Bryan explained: “In September 2016, at the age of 12, our daughter Evie wrote a short story to enter a writing competition for all the schools in Bath. She had to write a story of about 5,000 words suitable for 4-7 year old children. She wrote her story and submitted it. We received a very nice letter back from Paragon Publishing saying that the story was incredible and would have won, but they felt that it was better pitched at 10-12 year-old girls.
“Fast forward to February 2018 and shortly after Evie’s funeral we were contacted by the lady at the Royal High School, Bath, who had coordinated the school’s entries for the competition. She had remembered how impressed Paragon had been at the quality of her story and had got in touch with them to tell them about her brain tumour and how we set up Evie’s Gift.”
Paragon decided to publish the story and the book is now in print, illustrated by one of America’s top children’s book illustrators, Dinara. Bryan adds: “Although I say so myself, it’s a lovely story and has a great message for today’s young girls — you have the power to decide your own destiny.”
All proceeds will go to Evie’s Gift and the book is available to purchase from the charity’s website www.eviesgift.org.uk