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NUJ Extra response to Covid-19

24 March 2020

We have never before witnessed times like these and hope never to do so again, but unprecedented circumstances warrant an unprecedented response.

The trustees of NUJ Extra have received one statutory warning letter that the value of our investments has fallen by more than 10 per cent, by more than £300,000. Despite this, we are gearing up to support those affected by Covid-19 and the economic shocks surrounding it. We anticipate awarding an unprecedented level of grants in the current financial year.

We will help those directly affected and who lose money as a result, those who contract the disease or who have to self-isolate because of it. We will also consider applications from those who do not contract the disease but who lose significant income from the economic impact of Covid-19 and the response to it – this is a significant variation to our normal policy.

We will assume most people can cope with a 14-day isolation. Only in exceptional circumstances can the trustees consider helping when the period is less than two weeks. If income is affected for longer than two weeks we will try to help.

  • We will prioritise members:
  • Who are the sole income earner and have dependants.
  • Who have a caring role.
  • Who have no other available support.

If you meet any of these criteria please complete an application form. Some NUJ members may be able to survive for a short while without our support. If you can, please wait. We may not be able to process other applications yet. We will prioritise our help to those unable to cover costs that would lead to:

  • Loss of liberty (imprisonment).
  • Loss of home.
  • Loss of health.

In all cases:

  • Where income has been lost, we will need to see evidence of cancelled contracts or lost pay.
  • You must have claimed every state benefit and any government bail-out packages to which you are entitled, including mortgage/rent holidays and statutory sick pay.
  • Where possible you will have sought alternative forms of income, including non-journalistic work.

The bulk of our existing guidelines will still apply, though these will remain under constant review as circumstances change.

Limitations

To be clear: we will not have enough money to replace lost income in its entirety. We will not have the assets available to provide support in the long-term. We will be able to contribute to some key bills in the short-term to alleviate the worst hardship.
We also have to consider NUJ Extra’s long-term beneficiaries – widows of deceased members and those requiring sustained care – who we help with monthly payments, many of whom we have supported for years. We cannot jeopardise their well-being and the ability of NUJ Extra to help beneficiaries of the future.

Give that bit Extra

We have one final message. Many NUJ members will not be in financial difficulties. Many will continue to be paid the same salaries as before but may have reduced costs from not socialising. We call on any members who can afford it to dig deep and donate to NUJ Extra. Please set up a standing order for the next 12 months donating whatever you can afford. Please fill out a gift aid form so we can claim back the tax on your donations too. There has never been a time like this. We need to stand together and help those most in need.

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