Gamekeepers, we are here for you

Helen Benson

Helen Benson

Helen Benson is chief executive of the Gamekeepers’ Welfare Trust. She administers grants on behalf of the trustees, runs the helpline and organises the activities the trust undertakes. She understands the challenges gamekeeping brings especially in these difficult times.

These truly are uncertain and frightening times. The knock-on effects of the Coronavirus pandemic are being felt far and wide and already we are seeing a huge impact on our community. Our helpline provides support for gamekeepers and it has never been so busy or needed.

Redundancies and “Furloughing” are real and worrying consequences for gamekeepers everywhere; for their jobs, homes and families. We are speaking to people who are not only living in fear of this awful virus but also for what their future holds beyond the next few months.

It’s the second year in a row we are seeing major upset at what should be a critical time in the gamekeeping calendar. Last year it was all the trouble around general licences. Gamekeepers are a resilient lot, but we fear the long-term consequences of another disastrous spring will bring higher requirements on support for gamekeepers.

We are here for you

Our organisation understands and we will help in any way we can. On behalf of the Gamekeepers’ Welfare Trust and our trustees, I would like to reiterate our support to the gamekeeping community.

I’m not sure how much the wider shooting community understands our work, but we go far beyond “one size fits all” solutions. We have to because the gamekeeping community is so varied. From the many staff on large shoots to the lone keeper running a small syndicate, there is massive variation in their situations. Therefore, we carefully consider the type of support we give.

But one message we want to get out there at the moment, for those affected financially, for those on their own and worried about their enforced self-isolation, worried about food supplies, anything at all – call us and we will help.

Social interaction such as at shows and events is so important to us as an organisation as it lets us catch up face-to-face with people who may need help but would not necessarily pick up a phone. As we are unable to do that currently, we are calling on the wider shooting community to drop a phone call or message to the gamekeepers they know to check they are okay.

Anybody can let us know if there is anyone they are concerned about in complete confidence and we will then help out in whatever way we can. Our letters, phone calls and grants have never been so important.

Speak to us

Our helpline is open 24/7 and our support is available for any issue affecting a gamekeeper in work and at home, their families and anyone in the profession, past, present and future. The helpline number is 0300 1233088.

Our support goes beyond that, though.

  • We offer support for anyone who is at risk of redundancy or leaving work through ill health.
  • We can help with housing needs and training for those affected by redundancy or change or circumstance.
  • We offer Gamekeeper packs which include information and resources regarding health and wellbeing and contact details as and when required of organisations which may be able to help in a range of situations.
  • We offer packs for the partners of gamekeepers.
  • We offer support information and help on a range of issues on our website and through Jamie’s Helpline which is available 24/7.
  • We offer a range of grants for gamekeepers, stalkers and ghillies, their families and dependants, past present and future, particularly in later life. We keep in touch by letter, cards and telephone.

If you, or anyone you know of, may benefit from our services please either give us a call on 01677 470180 or contact us by email.

Of course, 2020 was billed as the Year of the Gamekeeper. Nobody could have predicted the arrival of Coronavirus and the impact it would have. We are looking at ways we can extend this crucial awareness and fundraising initiative into next year and appreciate BASC’s support in this.

GWT Helpline number: 0300 1233088

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