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  • “The SBA confirms my professional standing as a lawyer

  • “No one should feel their life is in such a state that they can’t ask for help”

  • “You know that there are people there to support you and that you are not alone”

  • “I was not yet suicidal but I was close to breaking point

Volunteer Q&A – Ruth Jenkins

How did you learn about SBA The Solicitors’ Charity?

I’ve known about SBA for many years. I was the local secretary for the Ipswich Solicitors Group and also, for my firm, it was a very convenient way to find a home for client account balances when clients had moved on.

 I think solicitors are always aware of how vulnerable people are. After all, we can all be only just one pay-cheque away from disaster.

When you began volunteering for SBA, were you surprised to learn of the financial difficulties faced by our beneficiaries?

No, not really. I think solicitors are always aware of how vulnerable people are. After all, we can all be only just one pay-cheque away from disaster.

What do you think of the misconception that solicitors are rich and don’t need their own charity?

I think the problem is that we have a divided profession. There are people who may be very well off working for big city firms. Others are in more moderate circumstances and their professional remuneration can be really quite modest. It might surprise some people to know that those salaries can be akin to those of, for example, a secondary school teacher. In those instances, it’s easier to see how some can fall into difficulties.

People can feel ashamed and embarrassed about asking for help. But… life doesn’t always work out as we’d hoped or expected. Ill health and other calamities in life can affect any of us.

What does SBA’s financial support typically pay for?

In my experience, a helping hand is needed for many reasons. For example, someone might have been left with a large personal debt following divorce proceedings – the servicing of that debt can have a huge impact on budgeting and overall finances. SBA support can also be used to replace some urgent item of household necessity like a fridge or a cooker.

People can feel ashamed and embarrassed about asking for help. But I don’t think they should be – life doesn’t always work out as we’d hoped or expected. Ill health and other calamities in life can affect any of us and mean that we’re not in the place we’d expected, either at the end of our careers or when we need to take a break much earlier than anticipated.

Anyone can benefit from coming forward to contact SBA, even if it’s only for the charity to signpost them on to appropriate services. In my experience, the people who come forward are those who’ve been hard working in their professional lives but one sort of calamity or another has affected them, making it difficult to continue the careers that they’d loved and leaving them in financial dire straits. I would say to anyone who is thinking about reaching out to SBA, not to feel shy about making an approach.

 

Apply to be a volunteer

SBA The Solicitors’ Charity is recruiting Area Representative volunteers across England and Wales. We need your help in assisting potential beneficiaries in the application process. This involves meeting them on a one-to-one basis and providing feedback to SBA.

This is an excellent opportunity for you to be there for fellow colleagues in times of personal financial need. By giving your time, you can do much to help bring about positive change for those facing crisis and hardship.

Visit the link below to view full details and how to apply:

To discuss volunteering opportunities, please contact Dervilla Carroll via the details below. We’d be delighted to hear from you.

E: bensec@sba.org.uk T: 020 8675 6440

Ruth Jenkins is an experienced Family Consultant at Jackamans Solicitors. To contact Ruth email ruth.jenkins@jackamans.co.uk or call 01473 255591

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