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Foothold winter appeal

Please donate today. Together we can make this season a little brighter for our engineering community.

Please give to our winter appeal

And make a difference to engineers and their families this winter

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Will you support a fellow engineer in need?

As the nights are drawing in and the days are getting shorter, the countdown to that time of year is well and truly upon us. Lots of us are busy making plans with family, buying gifts and putting up decorations. But for others, it can be especially challenging. There are some in our Foothold community of engineers who won’t have the opportunity to spend time with loved ones this December, and for these people it can be a very isolating and lonely month.

Stuart Square
I'm Stuart, and I know first-hand what that feels like.

And there was a very recent time in my life where it very nearly had devastating consequences for me. This December, I’d like to share my story with you.

Stuart's story

I began my career as an electrical engineer and joined the IEE as a student 35 years ago. As my career progressed, work pressures and life events mounted up and I began to suffer from depression. Eventually it affected me so badly I could no longer work.

I was forced to cancel my IET membership, but thankfully the IET referred me to Foothold who kindly offered to fund my subscription for the next year. They also helped me apply for benefits to keep things ticking over. With my immediate crisis behind me, I started living a relatively normal life again. There were still some struggles, but I was able to cope.

Then the Covid-19 pandemic struck, and my life changed overnight. Nothing could have prepared me for the impact that lockdown would have on my health.

One night in September 2020, I reached breaking point. I had a huge panic attack, and started harming myself. I still struggle to understand what happened that night. I was admitted to a mental health unit for a month before finally returning home in October. I spent 9 months hiding away from the world, feeling unable to engage with anyone.

Please donate today. Together we can make sure no engineer has to face what I went through this winter.

Every donation, no matter how small, makes a big difference. Thank you.

Over this summer I started feeling a little stronger and began to make small trips outside again. Around the same time, I was contacted by my caseworker at Foothold who recommended I take part in telephone befriending. 

I was matched with Tania, who was like a breath of fresh air. From the start it was really easy to talk to her. She’s so supportive – she understands if I’m getting tired or want to go and do something else, without me having to tell her.

There’s no pressure on me to talk if I don’t want to, and it’s been a really positive experience for me. I remember thinking early on in my career: ‘why should I donate to the IET benevolent fund?’. It turns out I had to find out the hard way.

On behalf of all engineers like me who've benefited from Foothold's support, I'd strongly encourage you to make a donation, no matter how small. It's helped me get back on my feet and start living again - there really is no greater gift.

I’m Tania and I’m a support volunteer at Foothold.

One part of my role I especially love is telephone befriending, which does what it says on the tin. I get matched with members of the Foothold community like Stuart, and have conversations over the phone with them, for as long and as often as they need.

The way I see it is, taking half an hour out of my day to connect with someone who’s struggling costs me nothing, but it makes a world of difference to them.

Bertie I (004)

No-one should feel unable to cope this winter

December can be a really tough and isolating month for lots of people, which is why the work we do is so important at this time of year.

Stuart is just one of the engineers we've been able to support through financial assistance and telephone befriending. But there are many more just like him who need us, and much more we can do with your help.

By choosing to donate to Foothold, you can help make sure engineers like Stuart can make the most of the season just like the rest of us.

Give a fellow engineer a gift they'll never forget.

Help us spread some festive cheer with our engineering community by giving something back today. Thank you for your support - to an engineer in need, it makes a world of difference.

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Foothold and the IET

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