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Benevolent Fund

The Royal Opera House Benevolent Fund provides confidential advice, support and financial assistance to those past and present employees of the Royal Opera House and Birmingham Royal Ballet (and their dependants) who need help.

Many have given a lifetime of service to the House and have contributed to bringing pleasure to millions. If, for whatever reason, they face hard times and find it difficult to manage, the Fund can come to their aid.

How is the Benevolent Fund run?

The Fund is an independent charity

It is neither funded nor managed by the Royal Opera House, but governed by Trustees, all of whom have relevant specialist knowledge and an interest in the Royal Opera House. It is administered from an office within the Royal Opera House by two part-time staff - a Secretary and a Welfare Officer. They work in close co-operation with the House's Occupational Health Advisor and a Welfare Benefits Consultant.

Who do you help?

The Benevolent Fund is able to provide financial or other assistance to people who are in need and deserve help - usually when circumstances are such that someone cannot afford the things in life that most people take for granted.

Who is eligible?

• Employees, past or present, of either the Royal Opera House or Birmingham Royal Ballet.

• Spouses, widows, widowers, partners, children, parents or dependants of any such employees or former employees.
(Please note that there is no requirement to have contributed to the Fund to receive help)

How do you help?

Help might take the form of a monthly allowance, an interest-free loan or a one-off grant towards essential house maintenance, domestic equipment, urgent medical costs or even educational fees in preparing for a new start in life.

Each case is treated on its merits and involves the applicant submitting a confidential application for help, together with a statement of income and expenditure. Some eligible individuals are understandably reluctant to ask for help and the Benevolent Fund is happy to receive confidential initial approaches from friends or colleagues.

The Trustees of the Fund carefully consider each case according to an approved set of charitable guidelines designed to ensure consistency in the help provided.

How could I support the work of the Benevolent Fund?

There are a number of ways in which you could help the work of the Fund:

• Make a one-off donation
• Make a regular donation
• Make a regular donation by Give-As-You-Earn
• Complete a Gift Aid declaration
• Leave a legacy to the Fund in your will

All donations and legacies will be allocated to the Investment Funds.

How do I make a general donation?

A donation to the Fund of any amount would be most welcome. Cheques should be made payable to "The Royal Opera House Benevolent Fund". You can also make a regular donation by standing order or direct debit. Please contact the Fund for the necessary forms.

How do I set up a regular donation?

Through the Payroll Giving Scheme, you can ask your employer to deduct a specific amount from your pay to give to a charity or charities as a donation. This is treated as a pre-tax deduction. In other words, if you are a standard rate taxpayer and wish to give the Royal Opera House Benevolent Fund £10, it will only cost you £8.00. This can be set up as a regular deduction.

Is my donation eligible for Gift Aid?

Provided you are a UK taxpayer, Gift Aid allows the Fund to reclaim any tax paid on your contribution. A donation of £10 could be increased to £12.50 at no extra cost to yourself. If you would like to boost your donation in this way, please download a gift aid form and email or post the completed form back to us.

Are there other ways to help the Benevolent Fund?

Legacies, both large and small, make a real difference. Did you know that seven out of ten people in the UK have not made a Will? If you die without having a Will it can often lead to difficulties and distress for those left behind.With rising house prices, most people have greater assets than they imagine and leaving gifts to charities in your Will can help reduce any tax liability. It also gives you an opportunity to give help which, perhaps, you could not afford during your lifetime.


"I am a member of the Royal Opera House costume department. My son has hearing problems and so had difficulties acquiring speech and language. The Benevolent Fund helped me with the cost of speech therapy at just the right time. It was very important that help was given as early as possible as it was a crucial time for learning, making friends and acquiring social skills. The Fund's help during this period was invaluable and its support enabled us to help close the gap between him and his classmates. The result is a happy boy who can now communicate what he wants, thinks and feels. Without the Fund's help we would not have been able to finance the level of speech therapy needed. We will always be grateful for their help and support."

"I have worked at the Royal Opera House most of my life. Unhappily, I suffered frequent, debilitating episodes of clinical depression culminating in three unsuccessful attempts on my life. Thankfully I found the treatment that completely turned my life around which The Royal Opera House Benevolent Fund helped me to pay for. Thank God for this assistance."

"I worked at the Royal Opera House on Stage as a Charge-hand in the 60s/70s when the hours were gruelling, but the atmosphere was electric. I’m so glad to look back upon those days and think of all the famous people that I had the opportunity to have met. However, I didn’t think that one day I would need to turn to the Royal Opera House Benevolent Fund for assistance but I did. They were absolutely wonderful and fully understood my plight, I shall be eternally grateful to them."

“I worked in the Costume Production Department for several years. I had to have several months off work due to a severe bout of depression. I was finding the financial side of my absence from work adding to my problem. The Benevolent Fund really helped me and gave me all the support and advice I needed. I am very grateful and I don’t know what I would have done without their help.”

For more information contact the
Benevolent Fund

on +44 (0)20 7212 9128 or
Benevolent Fund, Royal OperaHouse, Covent Garden, London WC2E 9DD

Who runs the Fund?


Tessa King-Farlow (Chairman)
Felicity Clark
John Rubinstein
Neil Dolby
Keith Haydon
Herschel Post
Kenneth Tharp
David Westcott QC
Oliver Parr
Alex Beard


Cheng Loo (Secretary)
Janet Jempson (Welfare Officer)
Ruby Grierson (OHU Advisor)


Coutts & Co., 440 Strand, London WC2R 0QS

Investment Managers

BlackRock Advisors (UK) Limited, Murray House, 1 Royal Mint Close, London EC3N 4HH


Clarity, 2, Lancaster Close, Weston Heights, Stevenage SG1 4RX

Governing Document

Trust Deed dated 16 October 2001 - replacing a Trust Deed dated 24 May 1961 (as amended)