Thelma's story

I am South African, but as a young woman I met an accountant from England and we married. He said the weather was too cold in England and we set up a life here in South Africa and had a son. My husband always told me to remember that there was an organisation there to help us if we ever needed anything. He explained that because he had been an ICAEW member, I could go to them for support. We actually went to them for some assistance before my husband died: he was diabetic and some of the medical bills were extremely high. caba helped us with those bills in a very straightforward way. I think it gave my husband real peace of mind to know that we had an organisation like caba behind us.

I am in my 60s now, and since my husband died I have been living with my son and his family. However, the political and economic climate in South Africa is very difficult at the moment, and for reasons beyond his control, my son had to sell his farm. We moved to virgin land. Building a new farmhouse for the family and a smaller cottage for me was challenging, as was setting up the farm and working it, but we all did our best.

I was aware of how demanding the financial situation was for my son and his wife, and it was important to me to feel that I could contribute to the family too. I spoke to caba and they listened carefully. I explained the detail and hoped they would agree to assist. And indeed they did. caba awarded me a discretionary grant which enabled me to feel like an independent member of the family. It has improved my situation and improved my spirits in many ways.

But that's not the end of my experience with caba. As we came towards the end of building our farm, it became clear that there would not be enough funds to put in a pump system for the water as we'd planned. Clean water is available nearby, but we need to walk to a tap, collect it and walk back. We all take our turn, but it's hard physically, and it's time consuming. It also means that laundry is a big job and baths and so on aren't possible. I was managing fine, but I was starting to think about what it would mean long-term, as I got older.

I phoned caba to chat about it. Again, they were very warm and very professional. It didn't take long for them to gather all the details and then to make a decision. When they said they would fund the water system it put such a smile on my face. We provided quotes and they paid it straight to the contractors.

We now have running water in the farmhouse and in my cottage. As well as restoring quality of life for all of us, I would say that it has improved my mental health too. I'm not worried - it's as simple as that. I feel secure and settled. And I feel that my actions have contributed to the wellbeing of my whole family. Without their assistance, it could have become quite a desperate and sad situation, but now I feel extremely positive about the future.

It's important that people are not put off asking for assistance. I have gone to caba three times, and each time they have helped. The other thing to say is, that as a widow, caba feels like a connection with my husband. It is his career, his membership of ICAEW that has made me eligible for support. So although we lost him 15 years ago, it's as though he's still looking after me. Every time we turn the tap on and clean, fresh water comes out, we can thank him and the chartered accountant community that he was part of.

how caba can help

caba supports the wellbeing of past and present ICAEW members, ACA students, ICAEW staff members, and their spouses, partners and children up to the age of 25. For advice, information and support please:

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Who is eligible for support?

We support past and present members of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales (ICAEW), ACA students, ICAEW staff members, and the family and carers of members and students. 

  1. No matter where your career takes you, past and present members of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England Wales (ICAEW) are eligible for caba’s services for life, even if you change your career and leave accountancy 
  2. ACA students (ICAEW Provisional Members) who are either an active student or have been an active student within the last three years are eligible for caba's services 
  3. Past and present staff members of the ICAEW or caba are eligible for caba's services for life, even if you leave either organisation. Please note, for former employees, our financial support is only available to those who have had five years continuous employment with either organisation 
  4. Family members and carers of either an eligible past or present ICAEW member, ACA student or past or present employee of the ICAEW or caba are eligible for caba's support. We define a family member as a: 
    1. spouse, civil partner or cohabiting partner 
    2. widow, widower or surviving civil partner who has not remarried or cohabiting with a partner 
    3. divorced spouse or civil partner who has not remarried or cohabiting with a partner 
    4. child aged up to 25. Please note, children aged between 16 and 25 are not eligible for individual financial support 
    5. any other person who is dependent on the eligible individual supporting them financially or are reliant on the eligible individual’s care 
    6. any other person on whom the eligible individual is reliant, either financially or for care 

You can find out more about our available support both in the UK and around the world on our support we offer  page. 

Are your services means-tested?

If you need financial support, we carry out a means test where we consider income, expenditure, capital and assets.  

*Please note none of our other services are means-tested. 

I’m an accountant, but not a member of ICAEW, can you still help?

Unfortunately not. We only support past and present ICAEW members, their carers and their families. If we are unable to support you, where possible we will point you to help elsewhere.

caba has supported me in the past; can I receive support from caba again?

We understand that circumstances change. If we’ve helped you in the past there’s no reason why we can’t help you again. You can contact us at any time. Please call us if you need our help.

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