90 days from today is Thu, 30 May 2024
23 January 2024
A charity which has helped thousands of children of police officers over the decades has entered 2024 with a brand new name – Police Children’s Fund.
Previously known as The Gurney Fund, Police Children’s Fund provides financial assistance to support the education and wellbeing of children of deceased or medically retired police officers from 22 contributing forces across the south of England and Wales.
The charity has helped some 4,000 children since 1948 and continues to help 100s each and every day.
Experiencing a growing demand for its services – which includes financial provision for mental health support - Police Children’s Fund is hoping both those within policing and people outside it will help the charity to help many more youngsters in the future.
Tim Packham, Chair of Trustees said: “We are excited to have a new name and a new look, but our core mission very much remains the same – to help the children of police officers when they need it most.
“We hope with this rebrand we will raise awareness of who we are, increase understanding of what we do, restore clarity, improve recognition and extend our reach to the wider police family and the public beyond.
“Our funding comes from private donations, fundraising, legacies and Gift Aid but our main source of income is from serving police officers who would like to support their colleagues. However, the number of police officers donating is falling and in stark contrast, the number of applications for our support is rising.
“We know times are tight, but we are asking people to spread the word about our wonderful charity, for police officers to donate to us from pay roll if they can and for people to consider choosing us for a charity event or endeavour they are undertaking in the future.
“Officers will never know if and when they need us – but it’s great to know we are there when they do.”
As well as regular grants towards education and wellbeing, the charity also puts smiles on children’s faces with annual birthday and Christmas presents - and specific grants towards educational trips.
Sherral Keywood, Fund Manager at Police Children’s Fund, said: “When a police officer dies or has to retire due to ill health or injury, naturally this has a significant impact on the children. The support we offer by way of educational grants means they can continue with some normality and not miss out.
“Mental health support grants are also available to the beneficiaries and provide families with the opportunity to seek professional help when needed, without having to join long waiting lists.
“The number of families asking for our help is increasing but officer donations are dropping. Depending on the age of a child when they are registered with the charity, we could be providing educational grants to them for 15 years or more and we know from speaking with families the difference a birthday gift or grant towards a school trip can make to their lives.
“We needed a fresh look and a name which says who we are and what we do… hopefully more people will learn about this wonderful charity and help us to help more police families.”
One such family that benefits from the charity are the Midwinters from Thames Valley Police. DC Claire Midwinter has been a single parent to triplets Ella, Aria and Tamara for the past four and a half years since her husband Matt, also a TVP officer, was involved in a collision, while on-duty. He was severely brain damaged in the incident.
Since the tragedy, grants from Police Children’s Fund have enabled Claire to get the girls – who are now 6 - into sport, which has boosted their confidence and helped them make new friends.
She said: “On a day-to-day basis Police Children’s Fund has improved the life of not only the girls, but also of me and Matt as well, because it allowed us to look at different activities that maybe we wouldn’t have been able to justify because of the cost.
“The charity helps families in their absolute time of need. One of the hardest points of their life can be made so much easier by its support.”
PC Ben Blackmore, of Avon and Somerset Police, has received support for his two children via Police Children’s Fund since 2014 when his wife Gabby sadly died of cancer.
“I want to give my sincere thanks to everybody who contributes to Police Children’s Fund. Life was tough. It would have been unmanageable without them,” he said.
PC Blackmore added: “It was a tough time. There were lots of big decisions to make. I wanted to make life as stable for the children as possible, but going from two salaries down to one salary, things began to be a struggle.
“The charity took the pressure off me financially so I could concentrate on being a dad and going through the grieving process with the children, rather than being worried about losing the house or not being able to provide for the children. It’s been a massive help to us.”