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“Making a meaningful and enduring difference” – your impact in 2022-23

Thanks to the generosity of people like you, in 2022-23 we were able to provide 2,432 instances of support to 1,589 people, across 53 countries – ensuring they didn’t have to face life’s challenges alone. Our CEO Jane shares her thoughts on why this matters for the engineering community, and how your support helped us make a real difference for engineers and their families around the world.

Read our Impact Report here.

Empowering engineers and their families to thrive

Writing a blog on our shared impact feels like quite a luxury. It has allowed me to take time to reflect amidst the business of the everyday, and to appreciate the work our incredible staff, committed trustees, and dedicated volunteers and supporters did to improve the wellbeing of engineers and their families in 2022-23.

It is amazing to reflect that, together, we supported more people than ever before during those twelve months – particularly though the growth of our online support designed to help our community become more resilient to life’s challenges.

Right from the start, you let us know that we were on the right track: talking about how our support truly transformed your lives, telling us about the times our team made a positive difference, and reminding us that it’s not just about the money – moral support is also very important, as demonstrated by Imelda’s story.

Supporting people through tough times

As highlighted in the Joseph Rowntree Foundation’s ‘Destitution in the UK 2023’ report, there has been a shameful increase in the level of destitution in the UK, with a growing number of people struggling to afford to meet their most basic physical needs to stay warm, dry, clean and fed. This is a theme that has also been reflected in our conversations with our global community.

Against this backdrop, it is no surprise that over 50% of our charitable spend went towards providing direct financial grants, enabling our most vulnerable community members to afford those most basic commodities.

The positive impact of our one-off grants (particularly for white goods) on people’s health and wellbeing is demonstrated in a report by Pro Bono Economics and the ACO from June 2023.

To help alleviate the growing financial pressure faced by many in our community, we launched our ‘My Money Checker’ service to ensure we could prioritise our charitable funds for those in the greatest need.

Through this service, we provide community members with information and advice on the statutory support they may be entitled to, as well as support that is available in their local area. Following a successful pilot, the service is now being rolled out more widely.

Support from our community

However, some community members fed back that filling in the necessary forms could be stressful, and sometimes prevented them from applying for support. So our amazing volunteers stepped up to the challenge, and offered their time to assist with this task.

In total, volunteers across our various roles doubled the time they gave in the previous year to 1,222 hours – amazing.

Equally amazing is the generosity of our community members who raised more than £1.5 million through donations, gifts in wills and fundraising events, to help us support our community to meet life’s challenges.

Raising funds is proving more challenging in 2023-24, with the Institution of Engineering and Technology no longer collecting donations with annual membership subscriptions. That’s why we are asking community members to #DonateDirect to us, to ensure we can continue our life-changing work.

Launching a brand-new programme of neurodiversity support

The impact of our community’s generosity is clear to see in Donat’s story. As discussed in an article in The Engineer about how universities can support neurodiverse talent into STEM, there is much to be done in this area.

In most cases, a neurodivergent student requires a diagnosis to access support. However, given that current NHS waiting times are between 12 to 18 months depending on the condition, this could mean they are almost halfway through their course before being able to receive help.

In previous years, we had supported a number of community members with funded membership of the National Autistic Society. However, with the increase in understanding of neurodiversity and its links with engineering, we saw an opportunity to increase the scope of our impact. So, with support from Neptune Energy, we launched our Engineering Neurodiverse Futures programme.

This programme provides engineering students and apprentices with access to fully funded private assessments, and follow-up support to help them excel in their studies.

Alongside this, participants can access our free Differently Wired Hub, which has expert information, guidance and advice on the most common neurodiverse conditions. The hub is also available for the wider community. We will be following participants throughout their courses, and hope to be able to provide a full impact report into the programme in 2027.

Thank you for being a part of our community

You can find many more examples of how people like you make a real difference for engineers and their families by reading our Community Stories. Better still, you can sign up to our monthly newsletter to stay up-to-date with our latest news and support.

Whether you gave your time to support us, shared your story, or donated; whether you’re a volunteer, supporter or staff member – we would like say thank you on behalf of our global community, for helping us to ensure that no engineer or their family had to face life’s challenges alone in 2022-23.

Read our Impact Report here.

Jane Petit, Foothold CEO

Jane Petit
Chief Executive Officer

Help us to keep supporting the engineering community

Foothold relies on the generous donations of our supporters to fund our vital work, so please consider donating to us or leaving a gift in your will. You can also find out all the ways you can get involved with Foothold here.

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The way we have dealt with the last 12 months is with a positive attitude, laughter and not being afraid to ask for help. Sharon Monelle View story Read quote by Sharon Monelle
Alan overcoming illness
The financial support has alleviated so many problems for us. I can’t express how much it helped - it’s enabled us to live a life. Alan Monelle View story Read quote by Alan Monelle