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Giving generously via the Copeman Society Giving Group

Published on 07 October 2013
Source: Arthritis Today
June BennettThe Copeman Society Giving Group is a new way for people to support Arthritis Research UK, and its members are among a growing group of individuals who choose to support us with a minimum annual gift of £250. New member June Bennett, aged 88, from London, who joined in May this year, explains why this new way of giving appeals to her.

How long have you supported Arthritis Research UK and why?

I have been supporting the charity since 2000, when I first was diagnosed with osteoarthritis in my right knee and feet. Later my left foot had some swelling and my GP thought I was developing a heart condition and sent me for an ECG and a chest scan. In the end the x-ray revealed this was not the case and that I had substantial osteoarthritic changes throughout my foot. My GP told me ‘you have to accept feet problems at your age’. I don’t agree with this, and support Arthritis Research UK because I want to raise awareness and put a stop to this painful condition.

What made you decide to join the Copeman Society?

With this way of giving I know I can donate between £250 and £5,000 each year - at my discretion. One year if I’m feeling flush I can give at a higher level but the following year, if my situation changes, it’s okay to give the minimum amount. Beforehand, I gave periodically when I received Arthritis Today and I was never sure how much I should give and what impact my contribution would make. So for me, it’s the ‘formality’ that appeals.

Has it changed your relationship with the charity?

I feel much closer to the charity as the programme provides both knowledge and great customer service. I have a far better understanding of what my donation goes towards.

As someone with mobility problems, do you feel you miss out on attending Copeman Society events?

Not at all; there will be special update newsletters – and other ways to stay in touch. For example, I joined in May and during the Chelsea Flower Show, my Copeman Society contact emailed me photographs of the Arthritis Research UK Garden. This was great, as I’d watched the coverage on the TV but the presenter didn’t mention which garden was yours. Having a contact within the charity, someone who is happy to keep me updated in the way that suits me; that’s really good.

What have you learned about Arthritis Research UK that you didn’t know before?

I used to wonder where you got your money from, especially when I read how much funding you put into research. Now I understand that a lot of your income comes from legacies and from the patent you have on anti-TNF drugs, which runs out in 2015. I know you are investing in fundraising now to bridge the gap come 2015. I have also learnt about the work you do to raise awareness in government, which I’m most pleased about and didn’t know before.

How is Arthritis Research UK different to any other charities you support? 

I give to St Mungo’s and Broadway, both of which support homeless people. Arthritis Research UK is different in that it provides more than a frontline service; you are also trying to understand how arthritis affects people, seeking a long-term solution to the problem and gathering information to help people manage their condition in the meantime.

Would you recommend that other people give via the Copeman Society?

Yes I would. It is important to know about the cause you are funding and this programme provides a wonderful service in educating the donor and raising awareness. Plus collectively giving through this programme means your donation will have an even greater impact.

To find out more or to join the Copeman Society please contact Seema Jagdev at  or: 0207 307 2233.

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Arthritis Research UK fund research into the cause, treatment and cure of arthritis. You can support Arthritis Research UK by volunteering, donating or visiting our shops.