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Our History

The Civil Service Benevolent Fund was established in 1886 as a benevolent society to support the widows and orphans of civil servants. Initially established on a mutual model whereby members of the Civil Service Benevolent Fund contributed in order to receive benefits when needed, the Fund became open to civil servants in need and their dependents irrespective of contribution in 1947.

In 2012, the Civil Service Benevolent Fund rebranded and is known today as The Charity for Civil Servants. While the Charity has always provided financial support, as well as a range of help and advice services, in its 133 year old history, the Charity is constantly seeking to offer a wider range services aimed to support all civil servants, past and present, throughout their lives with whatever problems they may have.

Key dates in The Charity for Civil Servants' history

1886 - The Civil Service Benevolent Fund is established and the first Annual General Meeting takes place

1887 - Queen Victoria becomes the Charity’s first Patron

1889 - The Charity provides a grant to establish the Civil Service Insurance Society

1929 - The first woman is elected onto the Fund’s Committee of Management

1947 - A reconstitution of the Fund enables non-members to apply to the Fund for help, in particular sick and/or elderly civil servants and their dependents

1953 - The Fund opens its first convalescent home - Blatchington House

1967 - General Secretary JP Wolstenholme plays a pivotal role in the creation of the Civil Service Retirement Fellowship

1975 - The Fund helps to establish Crown Housing Association

1981 - Magician Paul Daniels launches a successful appeal - Fund'81

1986 - The Fund celebrates its Centenary Year - the Queen opens Lammermuir House; while another appeal raises over £450,000

1994 - The Fund moves away from the authorisation of maintenance allowances to the payment of one-off financial grants

1997 - The Fund agrees to the sale of its convalescent and care homes across the country

1999 - A Constitutional Reform changes the Fund’s rules more substantially than at any time since 1947. The Fund’s focus shifts to supporting current and former civil servants and their dependents

2010 - The Fund becomes a charitable company limited by guarantee and registers with the Charity Commission and Companies House. The Fund’s Council and Committee of Management is replaced by a Board of Trustees

2012 - The decision to rebrand the Fund is made - the Civil Service Benevolent Fund becomes The Charity for Civil Servants and its first Walking Challenge attracts 1,162 participants

2015 - The Charity introduces a new strategic approach with issue-led campaigns, helping people over 15,000 times and with its first ‘Get Yellow’ week raising over £31,000

2017 - Further innovation, with digital toolkits (which are easy to access and use) introduced through the Charity’s first animated film to promote and support better Financial Capability

2018 - Online chatbot support for mental wellbeing (AI/Dogbot); introduction of a programme of Webinars; launch of the Charity’s first “Civil Service Community Awards”; and over 3,652 Walking Challenge participants - all contributing across the year to a significantly increased total of 48,000 “instances of help” for those in need across the Civil Service Community

Give us a call...

For confidential support and advice call 0800 056 2424 Monday to Friday 8.30am to 5pm