As the end of the year draws near, the Veterinary Benevolent Fund (VBF) is encouraging members of the profession to think of those less fortunate than themselves.

As the end of the year draws near, the Veterinary Benevolent Fund is encouraging members of the profession to think of those less fortunate than themselves.

The Veterinary Benevolent Fund (VBF) provides financial assistance for deserving members of the RCVS or their relatives and dependents who are facing health and financial problems, often through no fault of their own.

Drink and drugsThe fund supports the profession through the Veterinary Surgeons’ Health Support Programme (established in 1999 to help combat problems of alcohol, drugs, eating disorders and other addictive and mental health issues within the veterinary profession) and Vet Helpline (a 24-hour telephone service that offers empathetic discussion of emotional, addictive or financial problems to veterinary surgeons or their spouses).

However, with a record number of new beneficiaries to support in 2009 (four times that of some recent years), the fund has been required to spend significantly more than last year, at a time when the economic downturn has seen income from its investments fall to a “worryingly low level”.
 
In a letter to Veterinary Times, VBF president Lydia Brown wrote: “I would ask the profession to help in three ways. First, if you are not already a member of the fund, please join. This will keep you informed of the fund’s activities and the annual fee of £50 per year will help provide us with an assured income stream so that we can make plans to provide support for the long term. Second, to consider making a donation to the VBF by going to www.justgiving.com/VBF, perhaps in lieu of sending Christmas cards or in memory of a loved one. Third, tell other vets in your area about the VBF and its work and encourage them to get involved by becoming a member. Out of more than 17,000 vets on the home practising register, only 800 are members of the fund. Surely the profession can do better than that?
 
“Finally, consider leaving a legacy to the VBF in your will. Although this will not benefit the fund in the short term, in the future it will help to ensure that the fund can continue to help deserving colleagues who have fallen on hard times. All such bequests are free of inheritance tax.”
 
For further information about the work of the fund please email info@vetlife.org.uk or telephone Vanessa Kearns on 020 7908 6385.

  • The Vet Helpline is available on 07659 811 118 (local call rates apply, 24hr rapid response answer phone)
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