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The Printing Charity - The Printing Charity
Last updated September 2021

Member Spotlight: The Printing Charity

We spoke to one of our newest members the Printing Charity to find out more about their charity and how they have been recently assisting the printing community. 

Tell us a bit about your charity’s history

The Printing Charity came about in 1827, making us the UK’s second oldest occupational charity. The Printers’ Pension Society, as we were known back then, was founded by George and Charles Searle and their employer, John King, in the Kings Head Tavern in Poultry, London. We were incorporated under Royal Charter by Queen Victoria in 1865, forming the Printers’ Pension, Almshouse, and Orphans Asylum Cooperation. Supplemental Charters were granted to us in 1972 and 2014, where our name was changed to what it is today, The Printing Charity. With a history stretching back almost 200 years, our challenge is to learn from our past, remain relevant for today, and have an eye on the future.

Who do you support and what support do you offer?

We’re a charity with a national reach and were established to support printers and their dependants. The sector is wide and our definition of ‘printers’ includes, but isn’t limited to, print, paper, packaging, publishing, graphics, and the allied trades. Practical, emotional, and financial support is available to help people working in or connected to the sector who may be facing life’s challenges. Financial assistance can help with money worries due to a change in circumstances, such as loss of or reduced income, unexpected expenses, or a struggle to make ends meet every month.

However, our support is often more than financial, with each application looked at holistically, so we can provide practical advice and signposting to specialist services. Our 24/7 free and confidential helpline can help with in the moment emotional support from counsellors and practical advice from trained specialists. We also champion young talent coming into our sector who will ultimately make up its future. Our annual Rising Star Awards programme offers grants to 18–30-year-olds to fund training and equipment for their personal and workplace development.

What makes you unique?

We help a whole range of people, from those who are starting out in their careers, still working in the sector, or looking for a new opportunity within it; to those who have previously worked in the sector or retired from working, as well as their families. Not many people know that there is a dedicated occupational charity for the print sector!

Can you give an example of someone you have recently helped?

Daniel was one of the first to complete a printing degree at the London College of Printing. He then went on to gain an MSc in IT and worked in customer service, IT management, and software for several print organisations.

Over the course of his career, Daniel experienced various setbacks, including restructurings, closures, and digitalisation. During those challenging times, he contacted us, and we provided support including help with training, which opened new opportunities for him.

When he was made redundant after the first lockdown in 2020, Daniel knew he could count on us again. Our continued presence means a great deal to him, as he explains; “I didn’t expect anything so being given an emergency grant plus help with everyday living costs and to buy a laptop for online training and job interviews means I’m in a more stable place. The Charity’s help makes a huge difference to my family’s financial and emotional wellbeing. They are a wonderful, non-judgemental organisation and they’ve been there for me from the very start of my career. Just the fact that they care about my wellbeing means so much.”

How has your charity had to adapt in light of the recent pandemic?

With job losses and the furlough scheme being used, we recognised there could be more people struggling to make ends meet for basic monthly expenditure, so we made sure we could offer financial support for those with an urgent need. The pandemic certainly put a spotlight on the mental health of the public, which gave us the opportunity to propel the rollout of our 24/7 free and confidential helpline service. We knew that wellbeing support for employees was needed, especially for SMEs in the sector, so we are pleased to have been able to step in with practical and emotional telephone support during a challenging time for all.

What are you working on now?

We are continuing a strong rollout of our helpline for people in the sector and their families, building strong relationships with companies across the UK to deploy the service. Our two sheltered homes, offering independent living to those retired from the sector, are going through a big renovation project so that is certainly keeping us busy.

What issues are most of concern to you at the moment?

Uncertainty about what the future holds is a concern. With furlough finally ending on 30th September, employers will have hard decisions to make about their businesses and whether they can take all their staff back or even operate at all. The Printing Charity is prepared to see more applications for financial support and requests for practical and emotional support and our aim will be to provide help where needed as quickly as possible.