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The Ben Fund is a crucial part of the ICE family

Paul Sheffield, ICE President and Ben Fund Patron talks about the kindness and compassion of the Ben Fund in its first online AGM.
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Colin Hillary, Chair of ICE Benevolent Fund, began its first ever online Annual General Meeting on 22nd June by warmly welcoming over 60 Ben Fund members to the event.

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Each year at the AGM, the ICE President and Ben Fund Patron talks to members about his aspirations for his presidential year and Paul Sheffield was delighted to attend the virtual event in this capacity.

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He began by highlighting the life changing work of the Benevolent Fund.

“It’s a real success story” Paul explained, as he addressed members. “Volunteers like yourselves, visitors and Trustees of the Ben Fund make a huge difference in our civil engineering community. Never forget the impact and importance of your interactions with these members in need – because I am sure the thousands of people you have helped have not forgotten your kindness, compassion and support.”

He talked about how the pandemic that we have been working with over the past couple of months has led to a rapid change in the world and that we need to embrace new ways of doing things, in all areas of life. “This pandemic is likely to change the way we work forever.” he stressed. “Civil Engineers are innovators, creators and inventors and these skills are needed now more than ever before.”

At the start of his presidential year, Paul Sheffield’s address talked about the fact that the future is already here and illustrated the extraordinary array of technology that is at our fingertips today to help us be more efficient in what we do. He described the fourth industrial revolution.

We must be agile and dynamic
Paul Sheffield, ICE President and ICE Benevolent Fund Patron

The UK’s COVID-19 lockdown has dramatically changed the way society uses our infrastructure systems and has presented an opportunity to accelerate the green energy shift to enable us to reach the government’s net-zero carbon target by 2050. Today’s and tomorrow’s problems will be solved by young women and men practicing today. Paul drew the speech to a close by highlighting positives to come out of the pandemic, as well as acknowledging that changes will affect people in different ways. He concluded with a final thought about the Benevolent Fund.


It is always good to know that the ICE Benevolent Fund is there to help those who need more support through this period

Following Paul’s key note speech, Colin Hillary, Chairman of the ICE Benevolent Fund, presided over the formal business of the AGM.

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He congratulated the Ben Fund team on another year of fantastic work and outlined the successes of 2019, as well as the challenges to be faced through 2020; with coronavirus hitting our most vulnerable members and their families.

William Kemp, Chairman of the Investment Panel, summarised the investment information for 2019. He also talked about  the rate of benevolence spend to date in 2020. Despite an increased spend and increase in applications, William was happy to report that the Ben Fund is facing the challenges of COVID-19 with its usual resilience and fortitude and holding up well.

Following financial reporting, Colin went on to thank Trustees who stepped down in 2019; Teresa Frost, Ken Laing and Chris Gray. Voting for new Trustees took place by proxy and the new appointments of successful candidates were: Teresa Frost, Paul Oliver and Izabela Wdowinska. They were delighted to become part of the team. “It was a very close contest,” said Kris Barnett, CEO. “We’re delighted to welcome our new Trustees to the Committee of Management team.”

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To conclude the AGM, Kris introduced and shared the Ben Fund’s latest case story highlighting the support given to a young ICE member, Stuart and his wife Jade. The film highlights the work of the Benevolent Fund and how much of an impact its services have on members and their families.

You can view the film here.

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