After successful trials in Merseyrail and South West Trains, RBF is launching its services nationwide this September.

The new services offer information, advice and support on a wide range of topics including benefits, debt, relationships and wellbeing. RBF’s objective is to encourage people to seek advice before their personal situation becomes critical. To boost the quality of advice on offer RBF is using the Turn2Us benefits calculator, which can be found on the organisation’s website and helps people check their welfare entitlements on line if they are, for example, unemployed, retired, ill, disabled or caring for someone.

Says Tim Shoveller, chairman of RBF, ‘The overall idea is to offer assistance in a wider variety of forms that can be specifically tailored to an individual’s situation. In times of need and hardship, it is difficult to look at your own situation clearly. Having someone objective to talk to helps focus on the issues and makes sure things are dealt with properly. The trials demonstrated clearly that these new services do indeed have a positive effect on a person’s situation. They are relevant and effective and completely justify the work we have done so far.’

RBF is a charity for railway people funded by railway people. It was founded to provide support to active and former railway staff and their dependents when they needed help through illness, injury, bereavement or adversity. RBF helps disabled people with the costs of powered vehicles and mobility aids, covers the shortfalls in funeral expenses and gets involved with legal advice and welfare – a service that is hard to put a price on.

‘RBF is aiming to become the preferred destination for current and former railway workers looking for support and advice. A one-stop-shop where those in need can call up and either receive direct assistance or be referred to a partnering organisation that may be more specialised in certain areas,’ says Tim.

RBF’s offices and telephone helpline should be the first point of contact for all welfare enquiries. Information and advice will come initially from the charity, which can assist with benefit calculations, grants search and general advice. Full details can be found on the RBF website. Alternatively, call the office 01270 251316.