Inflation has finally caught up with the Journalists’ Charity. After years of offering life membership at £50, would-be members now face a £120 fee.
The charity hopes that by spreading the cost over two years, with a £5 pound-a-month Direct Debit payment, no journalist will be put off joining an organisation that cares for their needs and those of their dependents.
The charity’s annual general meeting last May regretfully agreed to make the change after it became apparent the original fee, also often paid in small instalments, was costing more to process than it was worth to the charity funds.
After two years of monthly payments, membership will be on offer, with joining journalists given the opportunity to take a more active part in the charity’s activities as well as benefit from its grants and retirement-home facilities.
In September, a state-of-the-art £4m nursing home, Pickering House, opened in Dorking, complementing the charity’s retirement bungalows nearby.
The charity receives many applications for grants from journalists who have fallen on hard times. Last year, it awarded grants totalling £250,000 in more than 160 cases. It is now seeking to raise an additional £1.5m by the end of 2008.
Robert Warren, chairman of the charity’s council, said: ‘This is an ideal opportunity for all journalists to support their charity, and if they want to, to take part in running it.
‘We are here to help you and I hope you will all want to help us.”
Pickering House, which is named after former Daily Express editor and News International executive Ted Pickering – is set in three acres of land, and has 20 ensuite rooms for residents, plus a library, gym, hairdressers, games room, chapel and a well-stocked bar (provided courtesy of Sir Ray Tindle).
Pickering House provides nursing care, and the trustees endeavour to accommodate any journalists, or relatives of journalists, who require a place.
The home also caters for the elderly parents of journalists.