12 July 2020
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Post Office Orphans Benevolent Institution ('POOBI')

Every year the Post Office Orphans Benevolent Institution ('POOBI') distributes a total grant fund of around £300,000 to provide financial support to colleagues of Royal Mail Group, Post Office Ltd and their children. In 2018-19, POOBI provided £303,000 in grants to children of Royal Mail employees, this money is made up of employee payroll contribution of £19,000 per year, The Civil Service Insurance Society (CSIS) grants and from investing a fund of approximately £7 million created by employees over the last 150 years.

POOBI was established in 1870 by staff from the General Post Office (a forerunner of Royal Mail Group and Post Office Ltd) to help the families of colleagues who faced hardship as a result of death, chronic illness or disability. We now support families all over the UK. POOBI is managed by its own Trustees independently of Royal Mail Group. Trustees include serving and retired Royal Mail employees, and are supported by a Secretary to the Trustees. More detailed information about POOBI and how to contact us can be found on the POOBI website.

How POOBI can help

POOBI makes hardship grants and educational awards to some 230 families per year. We help in many ways:

  • Where there is demonstrable hardship to a child through parental death, absence, disability, chronic illness of parent or child, or other serious family issues which are restricting development.
  • Where a young student is about to attend university, through our bursary scheme.
  • Where a child has special talents in the performing arts, sport or other specialist areas and the family needs help with equipment or coaching, through our 'Rising Stars' scheme.

Normally the charity receives requests for support in either of two ways:

  • Families can seek assistance with child hardship issues via the confidential 'Feeling First Class' Support Helpline which provides a wide range of skills, expertise and resources, on 0800 6888 777
  • Families apply direct to POOBI via the POOBI website for one of our University Bursary or Rising Stars Awards. Information about these schemes appears regularly in Courier together with details about how and when to apply for an award. However the request is made, very careful consideration is always given before a decision is made to ensure the best and fairest use of POOBI’s resources.

Examples of how POOBI has helped

Hardship - A family with one of the parents on restricted duties and with a chronically ill child received a grant of £2,000 spread over two years. This helped to ensure that they could continue to pay for out of school activities for the brother and sister. These activities were under threat due to the significant travel costs the parents were incurring for travel to Great Ormond Street hospital where their child was having treatment.

Education and development - A three-child family with a daughter going away to university, living away from home, and finding it difficult to cover student fees and accommodation costs despite the student having a part-time job, applied for and received a ‘Page/Briggs’ university bursary award of £4,800 spread over three years.

Education and development - A family with a son with special talents in cricket received a one-off ‘Rising Stars’ grant of £600 to pay for special kit and other equipment. The child is now staring at a county cricket academy.

How could you support the fund?

If you would like to fundraise to support POOBI they you can make use of Royal Mail's community support matched giving scheme. Details about the scheme and how you can apply can be found here. To find out more please visit the POOBI website at www.poobi.org.