The Salespeople’s Charity offers assistance during coronavirus crisis

Published on: 20th May 2020

B2B salespeople may be eligible for financial grants, as Covid-19 impact continues. 

With the majority of physical stores remaining closed, many sales representatives are stuck at home unable to carry on their normal business. For some, income is drying up and bills may be mounting. However, there is an organisation which may be able to provide some respite in this worrying situation – The Salespeople’s Charity.

In 1849, the Commercial Travellers Benevolent Institute, as it was then known, was established by five commercial travellers who met in The Union Hotel, Penzance, to discuss ways in which they might help one of their colleagues who was unable to continue to work. Some 171 years later, the same determination to provide support continues, and each year over 2,000 grants are made to beneficiaries. The only change has been the name; commercial travellers have become better known as sales representatives/agents, account managers or business development managers, to name but a few job titles introduced as roles developed.

Now known as The Salespeople’s Charity, support is made available in the form of financial grants to assist with utility bills, household items, rent, general living costs etc etc. The sole criteria to qualify for consideration is that the applicant, their spouse or partner must have spent a minimum of five years ‘on the road’, visiting business customers to sell products or services B2B. Unfortunately, this excludes those who sell B2C or whose sales role is retail or telesales based.

Many of the trustees have themselves spent their working lives on the road; the charity manager himself, Brian Riddell, was involved in various sales positions for over 35 years.

Brian told Toy World: “Throughout my 35 years on the road, I was never aware of The Salespeople’s Charity or the support it could provide. As the company I worked for was very successful, I was unaware of the hardships that many sales professionals experienced through take overs, redundancies and other impacts; in my optimistic mind there was always another opportunity out there somewhere. My thinking changed when I was invited to become a trustee and soon became aware of just how quickly and completely a person’s entire well-being, confidence and personality could change due to unforeseen financial difficulties, Covid -19 being a perfect example. The opportunity to become charity manager arose and continuing to develop the charity and deliver its objectives was a natural progression. I feel immense pride and satisfaction every time I organise a charitable grant, which I know will have a positive impact on someone.”

Recently, the charity was contacted by a gentleman who remembers fondly the support offered to his family one Christmas, after his father was laid up with an illness and couldn’t work. After being told to not to expect any presents on Christmas day, he was delighted to receive gifts, along with his siblings, courtesy of The Salespeople’s Charity. In a letter sent alongside a generous donation to the charity, the gentleman says the kindness showed to his family still moves him to tears.

If you require assistance at this time, and feel that The Salespeople’s Charity could help you, please don’t hesitate to contact 01752 932155 or enquire via the website –

The charity is also keen to hear from people interested in becoming a Trustee, particularly in the Manchester area and in Scotland. If you’d like to find out more, please contact Brian Riddell on


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