Who We Have Helped

Real Rail. Real People

Real Stories

Paul's Story

Paul has worked in rail for over 20 years, and lives with his wife who is a full-time carer for their immune supressed daughter. In August 2021, Paul had an accident and broke his ankle, causing a bone fragment to be lodged within the ligaments. Due to Covid, the NHS waiting list for a reconstruction surgery was two years, meaning the earliest appointment available to Paul was October 2023. Due to his injury Paul was unable to work, and went on half pay in November. This caused great financial strain to his family.

To help pay his debts and support his family after his accident, Paul sold his car. However, he knew that this money wouldn’t go far, and that he needed to get back to work as soon as possible. Not knowing where else to turn, Paul reached out to RBF for support. We were able to pay for Paul to have private surgery on his ankle, as well as a new car for him to be able to commute to work again after his operation. When he found out the good news, Paul was astonished:

“Thank you so much, that is absolutely amazing news, you have made my day. I can't quite comprehend that you could help me and my family in such a way. I think you may have single handedly restored my faith in humanity. We as a family are incredibly grateful for the help we received from RBF, it really has helped massively with our unusual situation.”

Lorraine's Story

Lorraine (name changed for privacy reasons), a retired railway employee, found herself in a difficult financial situation before Christmas; she had less than £40 in her account to pay for food and electricity for the month. On top of this, her car had just failed its MOT, her washer dryer had broken down and her electric fire stopped working. Lorraine began to regularly skip meals to ensure she had money for electricity.

Lorraine reached out to the RBF and we were able to replace her washer dryer as well as provide her with a grant to cover her food and heating costs during the Christmas period. Lorraine said:

James's Story

James (name changed for privacy reasons) had been in a very scary and stressful situation before reaching out to RBF. For two years he had been a victim of domestic and financial abuse from his partner, during which time he had no access to his bank account. This led to James suffering from depression and anxiety.

Although James was able to split up from his partner, he was still living in the same property where he was victimised, which only worsened his mental health issues. James desperately needed to move to a new location for a fresh start, but was unable to find the sufficient funds because he had been a victim of financial abuse for so long.

James contacted RBF and we were able to help him by providing a deposit and his first month’s rent to secure a new property. James said:

Jenny's Story

Jenny (name changed for privacy reasons) was going through an incredibly difficult time when she reached out to RBF. Not only was she in long term domestic abusive relationship, but she also found herself spiralling into debt, using loan sharks to keep on top of her payments. Eventually Jenny was able to move away from her abusive partner, but she then found herself behind on rent, council tax, and unable to afford her loan repayments.

At breaking point, Jenny decided to contact the RBF. We were able to help Jenny with a financial grant so that she could get back on her feet. Jenny said:

Jordan's Story

Jordan and his family found themselves in a difficult situation after being told they needed to vacate their home, as the owners of the property wished to occupy it. Finding alternative living arrangements was difficult as Jordan did not have the funds to pay the deposit and advanced rent for his new property. During the pandemic, Jordan had been solely providing for his family as his partner was pregnant, leaving him in a stressful financial situation.

Jordan got in touch with RBF to see how we could help. We were able to provide him with the funds to secure his deposit for his new home, allowing him and his family to move and get settled in. Jordan said:


Richard's Story

Richard’s daughter has been experiencing severe sensory problems and stress. She struggles to express her emotions and often has meltdowns which have significantly impacted her education. This has emotionally affected all family members, who are struggling to understand her needs. Due to Covid-19, the waiting list for her to see an NHS paediatrician has increased, meaning she wouldn’t receive an autism assessment for months.

Richard reached out to the Railway Benefit Fund to see if we could help. We were able to provide a grant towards the cost of a private need’s assessment, including sensory and autism, for Richard’s daughter.

Richard said:

Megan's Story

Megan used to work in rail but has since found herself in financial difficulties. Unable to keep up with her rent payment she spent some time sleeping in her car before finding temporary accommodation with her local council. She then suffered an injury which meant that her only means of transport was by car. At this point Megan was unable to afford the basics in life, never mind her much needed car repairs and insurance. She was in a very stressful and worrying situation.

Megan turned to the Railway Benefit Fund for help. We were able to provide a financial grant to help Megan get her car back on the road and a weekly food shop to get her back on her feet again. Megan said:


Arthur's Story

Arthur became homeless in December 2019. He was housed in temporary accommodation, but was moved around several times in 2020 due to the Covid 19 pandemic. This had a real impact on Arthur’s metal health and led to him feeling hopeless about his situation.

Arthur reached out to the RBF after securing a permanent tenancy for a flat. We provided him support for his deposit, rent, one month’s council tax and essential items to turn the flat into his home. The letter below shows just how thankful Arthur was for this support.


Gwen's Story

Gwen reached out to the RBF after learning about our Home Schooling Fund. Her six year old daughter had been using an old and outdated laptop which meant that she couldn’t join in with live lessons and daily catch ups with her class. Not being able to see her friends and teachers was really affecting her learning.

We awarded Gwen a grant towards the cost of a laptop and printer for her daughter, meaning she could stay up to date with home schooling. In the video below, Gwen explains how much this has meant to her family.



Terry's Story

Terry had been diagnosed with prostate cancer and had undergone both surgery and radiotherapy. Although Merseyrail was hugely supportive of Terry, initially allowing him to take time off and receive basic pay, this wasn’t indefinitely. This then left Terry struggling to manage. He was worried about his mortgage, general living costs and returning to work.

The RBF funded three months mortgage payments for Terry until he was able to return to work. In the video below, Terry explains how much this meant to him.



Darren' Story

In 2014, Darren’s marriage fell apart after 15 years, which meant he was going to become homeless. After being made aware of the Railway Benefit Fund, he made an application and we awarded him with a grant for a deposit for a flat.

More recently, Darren came to the RBF when his mother passed away in 2020, after battling cancer for over 10 years. Although she had a funeral plan in place, it didn’t cover the whole cost. We were able to step in to award Darren with financial help towards the funeral costs. In the video below, Darren explains how much our support has meant to him.



The Browne Family

Mr Browne has worked for Govia Thames Link Railway for 15 years. He is a father of two children, Harry, 16 and Millie, 14. Tragically, during the summer of 2018 Harry unexpectedly passed away following an epileptic seizure leaving his whole family, unimaginably distraught and distressed.

Harry was disabled and relied on the support of his mother, Mrs Browne to act as his full time carer. When he passed away not only did the family have to cope with their grief but also financial worries, as their household income dramatically reduced due to the loss of benefits relating to Harry’s care needs and his mother’s caring role.

This all put additional strain on the family. However, we were able to support by giving a one off grant to the family to prevent them putting more onto their credit card when they needed to replace their dangerous kitchen cooker.

In addition to this, we sent Millie some vouchers at Christmas time through our fund. We hoped this would, in a small way, bring some joy to what was a terrible year for the Browne’s.


 Mr Manley

James, 89, had worked in the rail industry for most of his adult life and once retired looked forward to spending time with his wife of 63 years. However, as time went on she suffered a stroke and required specialist care in a nursing home. James did not cope well with the separation and set about trying to raise funds so he could care for her at home.

He resorted to gambling, buying scratch cards and lottery tickets in the hope to get his wife back home. James ended up running up debts and without seeking advice first, sold his home to repay them.

Mr. Manley’s situation was bought to our attention by the local YMCA following reports by local residents that he had been sleeping in his car nearby to where his wife was being cared for.

We worked with the YMCA who found him housing as close to his wife as possible to then kit out his new flat with carpets and the essentials such as, bedding and kitchen items to make his new home comfortable for him.

The charity has also granted James a regular grant to help cover living costs or to be used towards a break should he wish to take some time for himself.

James was very hesitant to accept all of our help and was overly grateful to the YMCA and us. This is an example of someone who was in clear need for our help, yet has the potential to go without through fear of turning to a charity. Simply, feeling his situation was not ‘bad enough’ to receive help and support. This is simply not the case – we are dedicated to supporting all railway people and their families in times of need.

We spoke with James recently and he still visits his wife each day and says that although he is feeling more settled in his new flat, he struggles to sleep at night because he misses her.



Isla’s father was working as a Train Driver for GWR when he came across the RBF. He was in the process of seeking financial assistance for one of his daughters, Isla. The family was already raising funds through a crowd-funding site but was still shy of the amount needed to get the treatment sooner rather than later.

Isla was only four years old and required spinal surgery. The treatment was not available on the NHS so the family had to find the money to receive treatment in America.

We were able to pay for the flights to America to get the treatment straight away. Meaning Isla was on the mend sooner than was originally hoped!

Skip forward a short time and Isla’s surgeries have both been successful - she can walk better now and is slowly progressing. Since her treatment Isla can now walk to school with the rest of her friends, which is something her family thought was not possible!

We receive regular updates from Isla’s father and we are so pleased to see photos of her happy and playing with her younger sister, Thea. Over Christmas, we sent the young family some vouchers and they kept them aside for the summer – where Isla and Thea chose to spend them on a paddling pool!