Charities in the UK received over £3 billion from legacies last year. This surprising fact is being highlighted by the Remember a Charity Consortium, who are promoting Remember A Charity in your Will Week (7-13 September 2020).
Predictably, large charities receive the lion's share of donations. For example, Cancer Research UK received £169 million through legacy giving in 2016.
Charities always welcome residual legacies or property, as these large gifts can make a substantial difference to their operations. But for those of us who have less to give, even a modest donation can change lives long after we have moved on.
When Raymond Robinson passed away in 2013, he left a legacy to the St Vincent de Paul Society (SVP), and that money was used to improve the life of a young man called Ibrahim.
Ibrahim lives in Birmingham with his mother and three sisters. He suffers from progressive cone dystrophy, a rare eye disorder that affects the cone cells of the retina, which means that, while having sensitivity to light, Ibrahim has no sight. Without the ability to carry out essential everyday tasks, Ibrahim felt that he had lost his sense of dignity and began to withdraw from family and friends.
Assisting the marginalised in society lies at the core of the SVP's work, and their volunteers provide anything from emotional support and a listening ear to financial and material help. In Ibrahim's case, two SVP members visited him and discussed ways they could help. Using Raymond's legacy funds, an ensuite bathroom was added to Ibrahim's room, and a talking microwave was bought so that he could cook for himself. As a result of his increased independence, his confidence grew, and he is now studying sports science at college.
The SVP members continue to visit Ibrahim and are on hand to offer the family support whenever they can. The new space has brought the family closer together and given them a stronger relationship. Ibrahim says "it has been a long struggle" on his own, but he is enjoying his increased independence.
Helping Ibrahim to realise his potential was only possible because of another person's legacy. Forty percent of people aged 40 and over say that they intend to leave a gift in their will to charity. There has never been a better time to do it, and with many charities offering free will writing services, it is easier than ever. Will this be the week you remember a charity in your will, and change someone's life?
For more information see: www.rememberacharity.org.uk/
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