Vince suffers from manic depression. He lives on his own in Nottinghamshire and has received a monthly grant since January 1996.
My illness has had a devastating effect on my life. Starting in 1985, it reached a peak in 1994 when I had complete breakdown and simply could not work. I contacted the Benevolent Fund in 1996 when I realised that I couldn't afford to pay my ICE fees. I didn't want to leave the Institution, as I hoped one day to go back to work, so I asked the Fund if they would pay my fees.
What they actually did was much more.
In total they give me around £3,000 a year in monthly sums and occasional lump sums to supplement my DSS and Income Support payments.
Without this I would have very little scope in life, spending all my time in front of the TV.
As it is I now live in a council flat - I've lost two homes in my life. But with the Fund I have been able to set myself up with new carpets, kitchen units and bedroom furniture. I have even managed to buy a new computer system.
The Fund makes all the difference between coping and going out and actually having a life.
My only problem is in finding ways to thank them enough - all I can offer is words.