>>the first of three features on the trade’s welfare charity

Sue Beaumont, director of welfare for the trade’s welfare charity Caravan, is no stranger to charity work.
Before taking up her role at Caravan seven years ago, Beaumont worked for 15 years at IGD where she set up a charity that received goods that couldn’t be sold but could be made use of.
At Caravan, she controls the charity’s 40 assessors who make visits to the 1,300 beneficiaries. “The main part of my job is to source and train assessors but I also have 20 of my own beneficiaries and for them Caravan’s support is a real lifeline,” she says.
Each of Caravan’s beneficiaries receives £674 a year in quarterly payments. The payment can be used for anything from an important bill to a treat for the grandchildren.
Caravan will replace broken household items such as boilers, washing
machines and TVs and also provides stairlifts, mobility chairs and alarm systems so that beneficiaries can remain independent.
Beaumont says that many of Caravan’s beneficiaries are single so really enjoy contact from their assessors. The assessors will make yearly visits to each beneficiary’s home, but may make more if they feel it is necessary.
Caravan also keeps up regular contact with Christmas cards and birthday cards.
“The assessors essentially become the beneficiary’s friend and many have said that we are like their family,” she says. “It is unbelievable, but sometimes the cards we send could be the only birthday or Christmas card they receive. It can really make their day.”
Beaumont is always willing to go to any length to help out a beneficiary: “One of my own beneficiaries has always wanted a dachshund.
“We’ve been working on it and I think we may have found one for her.”
sue beaumont director of welfare