Trish Pickford, head of welfare, is celebrating 25 years working at R.A.B.I. She first joined the charity in November 1993 as the assistant welfare secretary.
“There were only three of us in the welfare department in the head office when I first started. My role was to process and administer grants, but I also spent time travelling across England and Wales to visit the people we helped.
“We had no fundraising team back then, so head office staff also attended agricultural shows to raise awareness and funds.
“In 1998 I was promoted to head of welfare and a year later we recruited our first regional welfare officers, who took over visiting the people we help. Our head office team also expanded, which proved vital when the Foot and Mouth Crisis hit in 2001. Our helpline, which was manned 24/7 by staff, trustees, and volunteers, took 300 calls a day during that time.
“Since then, we have taken on more welfare officers and now have 14 covering England and Wales. We are able to tailor our help to individual needs and all welfare staff are fully trained in the complexities of state benefits. Over the last few years we have brought in new initiatives such as vocational training grants, provision of free business appraisals and debt advice.
The welfare team
“When people realise how long I’ve worked for R.A.B.I they say I must enjoy it. I more than enjoy it, I love it. I feel honoured to work for such an amazing organisation that helps so many people at times in their lives when they are at their lowest.
“It’s tremendously rewarding to have a job where we can make a difference, spread a bit of happiness, get to meet, talk to and work with such wonderful people and to learn something new every day.”