One of the major objectives of the BRA is to assist British subjects in Switzerland.
The Swiss authorities now offer much more in the way of care and support for the needy than when most of these Funds were set up, but the latter still have resources which can be used to achieve an acceptable standard of living.
We try actively to help those members (and other British subjects) who may find themselves in need. If you yourselves are in this sort of situation, or if you know of anyone in need, please contact us and we will determine if help is available and approach the most suitable of the funds listed below.
The Victoria British Aid Fund (Geneva)
The Victoria British Aid Fund is a Geneva-based charitable organization providing assistance to individuals and families who are British (or of British descent) and who find themselves in unexpected personal or financial difficulty.
It was founded in 1897 to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee and became an association under Swiss law in 1921. Since 1 January 1997 it has been officially recognized by the Canton of Geneva as a “personne morale d’utilité publique”.
The Fund normally intervenes only when no other sources of assistance are available. While its resources are insufficient to provide total long-term support, the Fund’s help in making-up the shortfall between bare subsistence and a decent standard of living can make all the difference to a beneficiary’s well-being.
The Fund is supported by voluntary contributions (in response to an annual appeal), donations, investment income and the occasional legacy. Unfortunately, in recent years its outgoings have increasingly had to be met in substantial measure from investments.
The British Charity Fund – Berne
The income, and when required, the capital of this fund are used to “relieve poverty, sickness or suffering and distress amongst British and Commonwealth citizens temporarily or permanently in Switzerland”. It may also be used exceptionally, and at the discretion of the trustees, for these purposes anywhere in Switzerland.” Its income is sometimes used to help the other funds.
It is a recognized UK Charity and details can be found on the website of the Charity Commissioners.
The trustees are currently two representatives of the BRA, the Chaplain of St. Ursula’s, Berne, and representatives of the VBAF and the Montreux Fund. Other trustees have been nominated to improve support to those in need throughout Switzerland. The statutes can be found on the Charity Commission website.
The British Community Fund (Montreux-Vevey)
The Montreux-Vevey British Community Fund – nowadays better known as the British Community Fund – is a charity which was set up at the beginning of the last century to help British citizens and those of British descent living in Switzerland, who – for diverse reasons – find themselves in financial difficulties. The charity keeps a very low profile but nevertheless does an enormous amount of good work, providing a helping hand to people in need when there is no other source available.
Currently the Community Fund helps not only the elderly, struggling on pensions no longer adequate to meet the rise in the cost of living but also a number of single parent families trying hard to make ends meet, as well as young and old who have been unexpectedly made redundant in an area stretching from Geneva to the Valais and up to Chateau d’Oex. For many of the beneficiaries, the financial help provided often represents a lifeline.
In order to raise funds there is an Annual Appeal Letter and the Committee is very grateful for the generous support by many in the local community. However, with the harsh reality of the economic recession affecting those who donate, as well as those in need, and the recent increase in requests for assistance, fund-raising has become difficult,
The Ann Catherine Nind Fund (Zurich)
The purpose of the Fund is “to assist needy, elderly and/or ill people having a direct link with St Andrew’s Church, Zürich, and its daughter communities, to maintain their independence and health.” It therefore has a restrictive remit.
In 2007 the Fund came under the jurisdiction of “The Association of the Anglican Church in Zürich” (which is the legal entity name of St. Andrew’s); but its identity is kept separately within the Association’s accounts. It was decided that, to safeguard confidentiality, the Fund was to be managed by a committee of three Administrators who must all be on the electoral roll of St. Andrew’s.
If you are in need, we are there to help you. Just fill in the form on the assistance page.