Welcome to our Christmas edition of MRBA Matters, and my first issue as Chair of the MRBA. It is both a privilege and delight to have taken over from Ian Brace, who retired in September.
My term as Chair has started in a year that has proved to be one of our busiest years in recent times both in terms of fundraising and in supporting colleagues in financial need. And the signs are that 2024 will exceed this.
You might be surprised to learn that since the MRBA was established in 1977, we have given out approximately £1.3m in grants and loans and have supported over 1,200 research colleagues. If you’ve just done the math, you’ll have calculated that the average monetary support is around £1,000 per claimant. Sometimes, however, we are asked for only a few hundred pounds in support. Many applicants are overwhelmed by the time they seek help from us, and the emotional relief they experience with getting their debts cleared, or their car back on the road, or some food vouchers, is just as important to them as the financial assistance. We play a vital role in helping past and present market and social researchers achieve some financial stability back into their lives when they most need it. Indeed, compared to last financial year, we have already given twice as much in financial assistance, and there are still 4 months to go to the year end. The cost of living crisis is very real for many people. One wonders who these people would have turned to if the MRBA had not been there for them. As in previous years, we will be giving a Christmas bonus of £200 to those people who we have helped this year and who are still struggling, and particularly where there are children involved.
Of course, none of this would be possible without the support of everyone who has kindly donated to the MRBA, and we are indebted to all our Friends, Patrons and Supporters who have dug deep and given us funds over the year. I’d like to make a special mention of thanks to Corporate Patron, Rigour Research, and its MD, Cornelius Barry who has been extremely generous this year. Firstly, back in March, Cornelius kindly matched the £5,000 that was raised at the MRBA Auction. You may have seen recent social media posts mentioning his second fabulous offer, of matching any donation we receive in December. We are still mid-month with a couple of weeks to go till the end of December, so, please, if you are able to support us once again, our future claimants will be extremely grateful. December is supposed to be a time of joy, but due to the cost-of-living crisis and other hardships, not everyone will afford that luxury.
2024 will be a busy year for the MRBA. We hope to broaden the financial support we provide by increasing awareness of the MRBA across the market and social research community (see our Marketing message below). In addition, by also expanding our Skills bursary programme to encompass a broader range of qualifications. In this way, we will be able to support the educational needs of more people across the industry, who are unable to fund this themselves.
We will keep you updated as we make progress through 2024. Meanwhile, on behalf of everyone involved in the MRBA, and those who we have helped throughout the year, I wish you a peaceful and healthy festive period and a very happy new year.
To view MRBA Matters December 2023 articles click here