BEN is the Automotive Industry Charity, the only occupational charity for those who work or have worked in the automotive and related industries. Founded in 1905, the Charity provides practical help, support, advice and friendship to more than 15,000 men and women and their families every year. In addition BEN provides a home to over 350 individuals who reside in one of its four residential centres in the UK and offers day care facilities at its centre in Coventry.

For more details, please go to BEN's website which is updated weekly.

Could you be the next BEN Karting Champions?

The BEN karting challenge is a few months away, with the regional heats taking place in September. Our current champions are from Unipart Automotive, but if you think you and colleagues have got what it takes to knock them off the top spot, read on!

Regional heats

To take on the challenge, simply organise a team of five and pay a £250 entry fee to compete in one of our regional heats:

* 12 September PF International Kart Circuit, Grantham Book online now
* 26 September Rye House Kart Raceway, Hoddesdon Book online now

Alternatively, download the PDF booking form.

It's then up to you and your team to complete as many laps as possible in two hours. The top five teams from each heat will make it through to the final.

The final
Keep 10 October free for the final at Shenington Kart Circuit, Banbury. If you and your team are successful, you could be competing to be the industry's ultimate karting champions!

Support BEN, your industry charity
This is a great way to get your workmates together for a bit of fun whilst also championing your industry charity. We rely on our supporters to continue helping the many people connected to our industry who turn to BEN in times of need. With your help, we really can make a difference.

For more information, contact Laura Redman at the BEN Events Team

Sarah Smashes Kilimanjaro Target

Sarah Sillars, Executive Chair of the IMI, has smashed through the original sponsorship target for her upcoming climb of Mount Kilimanjaro. Sarah and her daughter Rachael have now raised an incredible £26,000 for BEN, with eight weeks still to go until their challenge.

Sarah and Rachel's total so far has been boosted by a generous donation from Andrew Cocksedge of AA Warranty who presented Sarah with a cheque for £13,245.            

Speaking of his donation, Andrew said;
"I have long been an admirer of Sarah and the incredible work she has done for the motor industry in this country. To climb Kilimanjaro for BEN is an incredible thing to do and I really wanted to be able to support it. Thankfully, I found myself in a position to do so and am delighted to have boosted Sarah's contribution to BEN by so much. I wish her and Rachael all the very best for their climb- the whole industry is behind you!"

BEN's Director of Fundraising and Communications, Charles Davis, added;
"All of us here at BEN remain in awe of Sarah's incredible commitment and the challenge she and Rachael are taking on to help us raise funds. Our sincere thanks to Andrew for his wonderful donation- you will make a real difference to the lives of our industry colleagues in need."

You can add your support to Sarah and Rachael Sillars at their JustGiving page:   

View the full press release here

National BEN Week (19th - 25th July)

BEN will reach the rip old age of 105 on 19 July. To celebrate the birth of your charity BEN are hoping you will join them and 'Hit the Beach with BEN' during National BEN Week (19-25th July)!

That's right, after last year's success, this popular beach themed fundraiser is back with even more silly ideas for you to entertain your colleagues with.  Last year saw people showing off their white bits as they wore their shorts to work, taking part in crazy sunglasses competitions and even installing a full beach in the reception of their workplace. So, get your flip flops on, your deck chairs out and help us to raise some much needed funds! Whether it's donning you grass skirt and coconuts at work or organising an office beach ball party - we need you to have fun and get involved.

In honour of BEN's age the charity is asking you to raise just £105 by encouraging your whole company to get together and celebrate the summer.

To get you started BEN has racked their brains for all the cool things you could do. So hopefully you'll find something to get the creative juices flowing by clicking here.

Kilimanjaro challenge

The IMI's Executive Chair, Sarah Sillars, is climbing Kilimanjaro in September for BEN.  Topped by snow all year round, Mount Kilimanjaro is situated inside the Kilimanjaro National Park in Tanzania; it is the highest mountain in Africa, at 5895 metres, and the tallest freestanding mountain on earth.

Sarah explains why she is doing the challenge:

'I have been a huge fan of BEN for the last 10 years and it is the IMI's dedicated charity. Now that I have joined the BEN Board I thought I should put myself out of my comfort zone and try and raise £10,000. I like a challenge and there seemed a compelling case to trek Kilimanjaro - to show people that I really am prepared to go the extra mile for BEN.  I am delighted that my daughter Rachael, who also works in the industry, for Sytner, will be with me. She knows how tough it's going to be - she did Everest Base Camp last year. Rachael said she experienced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows.  I haven't been to a gym for over 10 years, so a 6 month training programme is called for. I started training Wednesday - the trainer says I need to train a lot!  Think of us on September 17th, when we start our adventure.'

If you wish to sponsor Sarah please go to


BEN Challenges & Events

Sign up for one of BEN’s challenge events and raise money for BEN. BEN’s website is always being updated so don’t forget to log on each week, and click onto the Events link.


All charities depend heavily on the support of volunteers and BEN is no exception.  BEN is aiming to double its volunteering hours and monetary benefit by 2010.  This will be achieved through the development of an effective support infrastructure, providing better training and communication.

Give your time or skills; for example, become a BENfriend by visiting beneficiaries, assist the BEN Events Team at shows and exhibitions, help BEN’s Regional Managers in your area with administrative or practical skills or assist a BEN Centre.

You can also become a BEN Champion by raising awareness of BEN at work with your colleagues.  This could simply involve putting a poster up on your staff noticeboard.

For more information on any aspect of volunteering, please contact BEN’s National Volunteers Co-ordinator on 01344 294719 or email

Opal Telecomms Alliance

A long term relationship between Opal Telecom Ltd and BEN continues to grow each year. Since January 2000 Opal has donated 2.5% of every call under its Agreement to BEN. 

Opal has a specialised customer service team, supporting the BEN Telecom Alliance. Opal gives group telecom rates irrespective of spend giving discounts of around 35% over BT and 10% off line rental and can offer special free phone numbers for faults and installations.

As a special incentive in 2009 any company joining the BEN Telecom Alliance will receive: Free calls between company sites; free calls to 5 customers or suppliers; up to 35% savings on BT; great mobile deals on all networks with each connection generating a £5 donation to BEN. 

Anyone wishing to register should email and one of the BEN customer services team will be pleased to help.


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