Chairman of Welfare, Mr Ray Russell, said that his committee's cases included new applications, regular reviews and bursaries for schools. Mr Russell said at the January meeting alone the committee considered more than 70 cases. The overall spend in welfare provision for the half-year amounted to just under half a million pounds at £476,788. In addition to the regular help, which the Society provides to its beneficiaries, the committee has also awarded single grants totalling £13,500 to members and non-members. A large proportion of these grants were provided for disability aids which give beneficiaries the opportunity for an improved quality of life. Examples of the aids provided over the past six months included: eight motorised scooters; four stairlifts; three level access showers; and two bath hoists. Many of these requests for help come from other charities, typically the Royal British Legion and the Soldiers', Sailors' and Airmen Families Association. Cold snap prompts extra payment Being able to respond quickly to circumstances which arise to make life more difficult for the charity's beneficiaries is an important factor for the welfare committee, and is one that was highlighted during adverse weather experienced earlier in the year. A decision was taken to award an emergency travel payment and, within days, a payment of £30 was made to beneficiaries at a total cost of £5,200. The payments ensured that they would be able to pay for door-to-door transport so that any necessary journeys could be undertaken as safely and comfortably as possible. Recovery time eases pain of chronically ill Convalescence continues to be an important part of the welfare provision and this was particularly helpful for a family who have been beneficiaries since 1998. Mr A, who is very ill with heart disease, epilepsy and diabetes, was recently granted two weeks of convalescence. He frequently spends time in hospital. His wife is his full-time carer. The Society has previously provided three spells of care over the past five years, and this year, Mr and Mrs A requested more help. Mr A had broken his leg and, due to his diabetes, it had been in plaster for six months. He was becoming increasingly frustrated at the lack of progress and Mrs A felt that a week away would help him enormously. ALMR raises funds for 230 Christmas hampers In December, ALMR raised £10,400 which was generously donated to the Society to provide Christmas hampers to 230 needy beneficiaries. The hampers were warmly received and the response from the recipients was overwhelming. The SLV received more than 100 thank you letters, cards and telephone calls. Welcome help from the WCI The Society continues to receive valued support from the Worshipful Company of Innholders. WCI's generous grant enabled the SLV to help Mr and Mrs D, a couple who worked in the industry for more than 25 years. They contacted the Society when Mr D was in hospital suffering from liver disease. Shortly after their application was received, Mr D died. Mrs D's only income was Bereavement Allow-ance, which she received at a reduced rate as she was under 55 at the time of her husband's death. She has been awarded a weekly allowance of £15 in addition to a Christmas box of £65, a winter payment of £90 and payment of her TV licence. Surviving a crisis Help from the SLV does not always have to be long term. Two years ago the Society awarded a weekly allowance; Christmas box; winter payment; and TV licence to a couple who had been made bankrupt and were facing eviction. They recently wrote to say that the help was invaluable and now they no longer needed assistance because they had found work.