Construction charity highlights rising number of sector workers seeking support

THE Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity has revealed a 95% increase in charitable giving last year to £2,511,214.

The figure was revealed in the charity’s 2021 Impact Report, which also highlighted a 23% increase in the number of construction workers seeking support.

The charity added that it also increased its contribution to social value from £7.42 to £7.82 for every £1 of charitable spend.

With 2021 starting with another partial lockdown and ‘soaring’ material costs, The Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity said it was of little surprise to see the numbers of people needing support increasing significantly. 47% of calls were for immediate financial support.

1,787 cases needed ‘intensive’ case worker intervention – an increase of 10% on the previous year. Case workers review complex cases and pull together multiple support providers to ensure the ‘best and most sustainable’ support. This service often includes financial assistance to meet the costs of daily living, including energy bills, rent arrears and food as well as access to telephone counselling to support mental wellbeing.

During 2021, the case workers leveraged £1.43 million from third parties. This included accessing benefit entitlements, supplying white goods and acquiring match funding to pay for home adaptations for those incapacitated by injury or illness.

31% of workers contacting the helpline mentioned a mental health problem.

233 people were referred for further specialist support to help with a variety of emotional wellbeing issues including bereavement, relationship counselling, anger management and physical abuse.

Bill Hill, CEO of the Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity, said, “Our figures show that over 90% of our calls for help come from the trades and the ‘boots on the ground’ workforce. We are pleased to see that they are reaching out for support but it also means that we have to work even harder to ensure that we are getting our pro-active support to them at an early stage so that problems do not escalate out of control.

Bill Hill

“We’re already addressing this with our ‘Help Inside the Hard Hat On Site’ campaign and our team are visiting sites and builders’ merchants across the country to ensure we get the message in at grass roots level. Our ‘On Site’ team all work in the trades, are mental health first aiders and have lived experiences that they are able to share in a relaxed and informal way.

“The feedback from these tours has been tremendously positive and we know first hand that we have helped save the lives of some of those we have met on site.”

Sarah Bolton, director of charitable services, added, “In an industry where two construction workers are taking their own life every day, it is vital that the hard to reach groups know about the support we can give them. We are working tirelessly to ensure that we maximise the access points to our charitable services  and increase our partnerships with other providers to give our workforce the specialist support they need.

“Our ultimate aim is to fulfil our mission of ensuring that no construction worker or their family feels alone in a crisis.”

If you or anyone you know is struggling, you can reach out for free and confidential support via:

24/7 Construction Industry Helplines;  0345 605 1956, (UK)  1800 939 122 (ROI)

Text HARDHAT to 85258 (UK) 50808 (ROI)

Via the website