The ICE set up the Benevolent Fund in 1864 for needy members and dependants at a time when social security was non-existent, and is still going strong today.
The fund's annual report, published last week, reveals that 261 individuals were given financial assistance in 2003, more than double last year's quota.
'The main thing is that we're always here. And if we can't help, we will know someone who can, ' said caseworker Linda McCarthy. 'We're very adaptable and pride ourselves in meeting a challenge.'
The Fund is also quick to respond and has been able to offer financial assistance within 24 hours in the past.
McCarthy initially explores all state benefits needy members are entitled to before the management committee decides on topping up the amount.
'A lot of people don't know what they're entitled to and others might be too afraid to battle with the Department for Social Security for money. So we do the battling for them, ' she said.
Financially, the fund remains strong. Last year it received £126,597 in bequests, with one single £80,000 donation.
Total funds were up £1.2M to £11.3M compared with 2002, due mainly to a more successful year on the stock market. The value of the fund's investments were up from £9.9M to £11.0M.