The Benevolent Fund of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers


Support Network’s principal object is to provide financial or other assistance to people in need who are: Members of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers; Former members who have paid their subscriptions to the Institution for at least five years; The partners, widows, widowers, children, relatives and other dependants of such members or former members (whether such members or former members are alive or dead at the time such provision is sought).

Professional Advisers

Auditors KPMG LLP
Legal Advisers Bircham Dyson Bell
Investment Managers CCLA Investment Management; Cordea Savills


John Torrance (Chairman), Mike Hannaway, John Atkins, Ray Buttifant, Scot Fisher, Fred Jacques, Bob Jeays, Mr Stephen Mullarkey, Roy Pressland, Anne Woodbridge, Mike Greenwood, David Mincher


Anni Broadhead (Chief Executive & Company Secretary)

Investment Policy

Given the historically low interest rates now offered on cash deposits, the amount held in the COIF. Deposit Fund has been maintained at a low level. In the annual review of investment policy for the charity, the Trustees considered whether there should be any social, environmental or ethical considerations to impose constraints on where Support Network should invest, and decided that there were none. The provision for positive screening, for example in mechanical engineering companies, was disgussed, with a decision made not to implement at this time.

Grant Policy

All grants are made to individuals, and in 2011 there were 624 (2010: 439) individual beneficiaries of grants, befriending and/or purchased services (e.g. counselling, employment coaching and debt advice), in 2011 all grants and support were decided by the Grants Committee which met five times during the year. All regular grants were reviewed annually at the same committee meetings. Considerable care is taken to ensure that beneficiaries are in receipt of all welfare benefits to which they are entitled before charitable grants are made. Care is also taken to ensure, as far as possible, fairness and consistency in grant making. Grants included, but were not limited to: monthly allowances to meet a particular need; payment of travelling expenses for visiting people (e.g. in hospital or nursing care); payment of television licence fees; payments towards telephone line rental and calls; special payments to relieve sudden distress; payments to assist in meeting electricity, gas or water bills; provision of items such as washing machines, cookers, fridges, TV sets, beds, heating appliances, food, furniture, bedding, health and medical equipment, powered mobility vehicles, payment for essential house repairs, insulation and decorating; payments towards the cost of adaptations to the homes of disabled people; payment for the provision of gardening, help in the home, emergency alarms; arrangements for a period of rest or change of environment; treatment at convalescent homes, nursing homes, residential care homes and transport. Some 'seasonal' grants are also made at the Trustees' discretion. There is also a programme of grants for disabled or disadvantaged students studying IMechE accredited mechanical engineering related degrees at UK universities. Additional grants are also made to participants whilst on the full employment coaching programme.


Support Network is a ‘closed’ charity in that it does not actively seek funding from outside the membership of The Institution of Mechanical Engineers. Around 75% of the charity’s income is derived from annual subscriptions, donations and bequests. Legacy income, in particular, is very uncertain.There could well be a shortfall in donations given the major downturn in the UK economy and consequent decline in charitable giving per se. The emerging recovery from the recession will continue to produce reduced levels of dividends and interest received. In these circumstances, in order to safeguard the provision of grants to current beneficiaries, and to cover non-discretionary expenditure such as salaries, pension contributions, rent, utilities etc. the Trustees have agreed to hold reserves amounting to one year’s average expenditure (around £800,000). As at 31 December 2011 total funds exceeded this amount. The Trustees are therefore confident that new services (with associated additional expenditure), can be developed and introduced, as the level of reserves has been more than achieved. The reserves policy is reviewed annually, taking into account the latest forecasts of income, expenditure and cash flow together with any changes in Support Network’s grant making policy.

Future Commitments

Looking forward to 2012 and beyond, the Benevolent Fund plans to continue their activities subject to satisfactory levels of funding. Particular projects planned for 2012 are: To complete and begin to implement the business development measures identified from the Strategic Review process, including the review of finance and investments; To prioritise introducing new services which benefit IMechE members of working age; To publicise and promote the work of the charity through implementing a communications and marketing strategy which is based on 'developing relationships'; To undertake a volunteer investment and development programme to establish new roles within the fund, and to enhance support and training for the same; To improve and further develop our mental health and befriending offers.

General Review

The Support Network was founded over 95 years ago by members of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers as a way of providing advice, support and financial assistance to those past and present members of the IMechE (and their dependants) who needed it. It was then known as the Benevolent Fund of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. Since those early days back in 1913, the Support Network has adapted as times have changed, but its simple and straightforward aim remains the same today: "to help IMechE members, and their dependants, who are in need: " The Support Network is an independent charity (Registered Number 209465) and a Company Limited by Guarantee (Company Number 130981). It is neither funded nor managed by the IMechE, but governed by Trustees who are all themselves members of the Institution. The day-to-day running of the Support Network is taken care of by a small team of full time staff, assisted by a nationwide network of volunteers, and governed by a board of trustees.

3 Birdcage Walk

Tel: 020 7304 6883
Fax: 020 7973 1262

CC number: 209465

Performance Guide Rankings

investment assets 692 / 1000
investment income 898 / 995
return on investments 855 / 995
investment management costs - / 743
inv mgmt costs as % of inv assets - / 743

inv mgmt costs as % of inv income - / 743
investment property - / 361
income from investment property - / 325
inv property inc as % of investment property - / 225

income from listed investments 526 / 661
income from short-term investments 714 / 726
listed investment inc as % of inv income 49 / 661
short-term investment assets 834 / 988

legacy income - / 226
grants received - / 88
total voluntary income 355 / 628

grants made 471 / 668
charitable expenditure 549 / 638
charitable expenditure as % of total expenditure 84 / 335
support costs - / 230
management & administration fees 529 / 970
audit fee per £m of income - / 949

total incoming resources 707 / 1000
total resources expended 790 / 1000
total assets 724 / 1000
period ending 2010 2011
legacies - -
grants - -
other voluntary income 0.73 0.62
total voluntary income 0.73 0.62
activities, furtherance of charities objects - -
activities for generating funds - -
trading subsidiaries - -
sales and fees from operating activities - -
investment property - -
dividends - -
total listed investments 0.23 0.24
income from subsidiaries - -
interest on cash & short term inv 0.00 0.00
total investment income 0.23 0.24

fundraising costs - -
investment management costs - -
cost of generating funds - -
grants paid 0.40 0.39
activities, furtherance of charities objects 0.24 0.22
management and admin 0.03 0.03
total charitable expenditure 0.67 0.65

ASSETS £m £m
intangible assets - -
tangible fixed 0.00 -
equities - -
bonds - -
listed investments 14.45 14.54
investment portfolio cash & settlements 0.12 0.16
investment assets 14.57 14.70
other fixed assets - -
total fixed assets 14.57 14.70
stock - -
debtors 0.04 0.21
cash 0.04 0.07
current assets 0.71 0.93
bank loans & overdrafts - -
trade & other creditors, accruals 0.08 0.13
creditors falling due within one year 0.08 0.13
net current assets 0.63 0.80
loans - -
future long-term grant commitments - -
trade creditors - -
subsidiary & associated undertakings - -
creditors falling due after one year - -
provisions for liabilities and charges - -
TOTAL ASSETS 15.20 15.50

ASSETS £m £m
income funds 15.20 15.50
endowment funds - -
restricted funds - -
TOTAL FUNDS 15.20 15.50