2 minute read time.

Hi, my name is Dorrie Giles, and I want to tell you about volunteering with Foothold, the IET Benevolent Fund, because disasters can happen to any of us, and we can all help.

For me it is a privilege to work with a fantastic group of Foothold staff and IET volunteers to provide a huge range of support services as well as financial assistance to thousands of IET members and their families, from students and working age members, to those in retirement.  It is humbling to be aware of members, who face incredibly difficult circumstances with courage and determination and get back on their feet, return to the workplace or just live their lives as fully as they can.  You can see some who have agreed to share their stories on Foothold’s website. 

I have benefitted too, as you always do from volunteering. 

I have learnt about being a trustee, a charity treasurer and about charity governance.  Knowledge which has helped me in other volunteering roles with local charities.  The work Foothold has done, particularly in dealing with bereavement, dementia and mental health, has helped me to be a bit better equipped to deal with the things life has thrown at me.

Why did I get involved? Well, of course, because someone asked me to! 

In 2006 when I became a volunteer, the fund helped a few, mostly elderly members or their widows (and it was mainly widows!), who received regular grants. Its marketing was limited and relatively few IET members knew that they had this fantastic resource they could turn to if they were struggling or if a disaster struck.  With the help of the IET, Foothold was able to effectively market its services to all IET members and we always found that following an email drop, members contacted us because it arrived at just the moment when they were desperate for help.  Covid was a prime recent example but there have been many other instances.  After the sale of Speirs House, more help was made available to members providing care or being cared for in their own home, and again IET marketing to carers in our community was very effective.

How can you help?

So, now that the IET no longer sends out Foothold emails to all members, I am concerned that over time awareness will drop.So, I am asking you to volunteer!  Not in any formal or time-consuming way, but please just go to the myFoothold website below and sign up for regular updates.  I hope it never happens but should something life changing strike you or your family, or you find yourself struggling, you will know where to go, and if a colleague is facing difficulties, you can help them by pointing them to Foothold too.  https://www.myfoothold.org/keeping-in-touch/   

Also, if you are able, please donate.  Although the IET has collected donations to its benevolent fund since 1890, it no longer does so. This puts at risk 50% of Foothold’s regular income from donations made annually with IET subscriptions.  You can just go to the myfoothold site above and/or click on DONATE.


  • Glad to hear this as I understood that the IET is no longer marketing Foothold services via email to all members.  I look forward to seeing this happen.

  • Foothold is an amazing organisation! I've heard wonderful feedback from members who've used their services.

    I can confirm that the IET will continue to encourage members to donate directly to Foohold as part of membership renewal and that we will continue to signpost Foothold and its initiatives through our member communications. Please do continue to support this fantastic organisation.