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Chemists Community Fund Logo - Chemists Community Fund Logo

Member Spotlight: Chemists' Community Fund

Our Benevolent Fund was founded in 1920 in memorial to the members of the Institute of Chemistry who had died in the First World War, the purpose of the Fund was to provide support to members and their families. Today the Chemists’ Community Fund continues to assist the current and past members of the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), as well as their partners and dependents, through life’s challenges. We are looking forward to celebrating our 100 year anniversary next year.

The ethos of the Fund has always been members supporting each other, with initial income coming from member donations and bequests. This continues today along with income from investments.

The Fund offers volunteer support and these trained RSC member volunteers visit applicants, beneficiaries, elderly and housebound members in their local area on behalf of the Fund. 

What makes you unique?

Like many other Funds, we look holistically at the situation of all applicants, to offer the best and most applicable support and signposting. This support is available to RSC members worldwide, their partners, and dependents across the world.

This year we have introduced ‘Grants for Carers’. These grants enable chemists with caring responsibilities to cover the additional costs they incur, due to their caring responsibilities, when attending scientific conferences and professional events.

We were also able to react quickly to support students from the School of Chemistry at St Andrews University. This was in order for them to travel to other academic institutions to continue their studies, following a serious fire that destroyed many of the universities' laboratories.

What support do you offer?

Alongside financial packages of support, which can be one-off or for up to 12 months, we offer financial grants to students in unexpected financial hardship, recent graduates and retraining grants. More recently we have introduced grants to support care home top-up fees as well as grants for housing adaptations and disability aids.

We also offer service referrals for counselling, benefit and debt advice, support for those affected by autism, and legal advice.

Can you give an example of someone you have helped?

We supported Genevieve, who was unable to work safely as a chemist in a laboratory in a manual wheelchair. We enabled her to purchase a sit-to-stand wheelchair so she could continue her career as a chemist and retain her role working in a laboratory. This video tells Genevieve’s story.

What issues are bothering you at the moment?

As we write, the uncertainty around Brexit for our members in the UK, across the EU, and around the world is a concern. The Fund has been able to support members by offering a webinar, hosted by a legal specialist, to explain the UK settled status scheme and associated immigration issues. We are also offering legal advice referrals for anyone who requires this support.

Any ideas for ACO?

As we are a small team the Under Fives meetings are particularly helpful. We enjoy hearing the approach others take to similar problems that arise in smaller Funds. We would be keen to hear how others are measuring and capturing the impact that they have as grant-giving organisations.


Phone: 01223 432539