The British Chamber is this year proud to be supporting 4 different charitable organisations in Belgium this year through our affiliation with the Brussels British Community Association. In February, we introduced you to CHS and this time Chairman David Humphreys introduces the British Charitable Fund.
The British Charitable Fund (BCF) was founded in 1815 on the initiative of the Duke of Wellington after the Battle of Waterloo. Its goal then was to help wounded British soldiers, and their dependents, who stayed on in Belgium after the battle.
Over 200 years later, the BCF continues to work to help any needy person with a British connection who is resident in Belgium. There are few rules on who can benefit from our help, but in practice applicants must be British nationals or their dependents, and must have exhausted the normal means of support from family and state agencies.
Enquiries for help come in from young and old, long term residents or short term visitors – rich and poor alike! Even today, despite the best efforts of many agencies, there are gaps in the provision of social help that can uniquely affect foreigners in Belgium. The variety of problems encountered by the BCF is vast, but typically can range from loneliness, ill health and/or financial issues. All of these problems can be exacerbated by language difficulties and the absence of close family.
We are non-denominational and non-judgmental, and of course all enquiries are treated with the utmost confidentiality.
The BCF remains the only tax-registered charity providing for the needs of the British community in Belgium. We are staffed purely by volunteers and have minimal running costs. We receive no financial support from government agencies and rely purely on donations. All donations over 40 euros are tax-deductible in Belgium.
We are currently helping a number of beneficiaries, including victims of recent events, but feel there may be many more people in Belgium living in difficult circumstances whom we may also be able to help.