The Newspaper Press Fund is changing its name to show it exists to help all journalists, not just those working in print. It will now be called “NPF – the Journalists’ Charity” in a move that comes as the Fund prepares to celebrate its 140th anniversary next year.
The charity is also planning a major appeal to raise up to £3m to rebuild its Sandy Cross care home in Dorking, Surrey (pictured).
NPF council chairman Rob Gibson said: “The problem with the name is that it refers to newspapers and the press. We feel it excludes journalists who don’t work in newspapers but are in television, radio or work on the internet. We want to move forward and embrace all kinds of journalists and journalism.”
The name change decision was taken by the NPF council last week and is backed by director David Ilott. “Having newspaper and press in the name was a big hindrance to journalists who are entitled to come to the charity and say ‘I need help’,” he said. “Hopefully it can open up the doors to us giving more money to people who need it.”
Among the founders of the Newspaper Press Fund in 1864 was Charles Dickens, who was a parliamentary correspondent. Gibson said: “We don’t want to have a total overhaul. We want to retain our link with the times of Dickens, but we want to bring it up to date.
“It is a change in emphasis. We want to encourage people to feel ‘I’m proud to be a journalist and I want to make a contribution and do my bit for colleagues who have fallen on hard times’. We want to create a pride in membership rather than the idea that it is a safety net.”
Gibson believes the NPF has been wrongly perceived as being run by newspaper bosses on behalf of journalists. He hopes the name change will make it clear it is a charity “run by journalists for journalists”.
The rebuilding of Sandy Cross, subject to planning permission, will cost between £2m and £3m. The NPF will seek major sponsors from the industry and hopes to raise most of the cash without dipping into its assets, which are used to pay out grants to journalists in need.
Gibson said organisations and individuals who donated funds to rebuilding Sandy Cross could have rooms named after them or in memory of a journalist.