We are extremely grateful that some recipients of our grants have kindly agreed to share a few words about their experience of interacting with the charity, so that we can give you a little more information about where your money has been going and how it has been helping. All applications and grants to the Fund are kept completely confidential and we have only named individuals with their express consent.
At the time of writing, we have disbursed grants totalling just over £35,000. These are just a few of them:
Former Subpostmaster, Devon
Date of grant - July 2023
Amount - £1,147
“I am 82 years old. Until 2010 I had been a Subpostmaster for 20 years. I was then falsely accused of theft by the Post Office but because I paid the money allegedly due to the Post Office the same day, I received a Caution rather than Prosecution, lost my business without compensation and my standing in the community.
“I was compelled to borrow using Equity Release on my home to pay my closing business and other expenses and found myself and my wife in very tight financial circumstances.
It was only after 10 years that I spoke to my solicitor about it, and he made a claim straight away under the Post Office’s Horizon Shortfall Scheme in August 2020.
“It seems that the fact that I had been wrongly accused was conceded by the Post Office from the outset but three years after I applied, I have received no compensation at all, though I am told I may receive an interim payment shortly.
“A few months ago my solicitor became aware of the Horizon Scandal Fund and made application on behalf of my wife and I for a new bed which we badly needed but could not, in our reduced circumstances, afford. The money and bed came through extremely quickly.
“I am incredibly grateful to those who gave to the fund to make this possible. What makes me incredibly angry, as well as conversely grateful, is that such a Fund has had to be created at all to assist those who have been unjustly ruined by the Post Office whilst they await years for their claims to be dealt with to their satisfaction. I have no doubt that some will settle out of financial desperation, well short of their proper entitlement.
“My message to Subpostmasters who find themselves in the same financial circumstances as I did is to approach horizonscandalfund.org to see how they can help.”
Former Post Office manager, West of England
Dates of grants - January 2023 and May 2023
Amount - £1767
“I am so grateful for the help I received from the Fund. Our car failed its MOT and we could not afford the repairs which meant my husband couldn’t get to work. He is the sole earner so we were so worried!
“The grant covered it and we were back on the road in no time. The Fund also helped with my compensation claim, contributing to the cost of the first forensic accountant I needed to assess my losses.
“This information was essential to get a true independent valuation. I cannot express the relief this charity has given to us. It’s great to finally have support.
“Thank you to you all who contributed and those that made this happen. We would have been truly stuck.”
Former Subpostmaster, North East of England
Dates of grants - May 2022 to Feb 2023
Amount - £13,502
“Over the past 12 months I got into difficulties with rent and household bills. After reaching out to the Fund they were really supportive and understanding and made the process very easy. They were able to help me through some very dark and difficult times for which I am forever grateful. This is a very important charity for Subpostmasters as very few people understand the true devastation this scandal has had upon peoples lives over so many years. I would recommend any Subpostmaster in need of help or support to reach out to them, it can really make a difference.”
Former Subpostmaster, London
Date of grant - December 2022
Amount - £1,500
“I received a grant to help towards a holiday. Never in my dreams did I think the grant would be enough to cover the whole holiday but it was. Myself and my husband got a few days away to be ourselves without the stresses and anxiety of what is happening at home. Helping people who who have suffered massive losses, not only financially but also mentally is a great idea and I’m truly thankful.”
Former Subpostmaster, London
Dates of grants - July 2022 to September 2023
Amount - £3,900
“I will be forever thankful for all the help from the Horizon Scandal Fund. They have helped us during a number of crisis points in our lives over the last couple of years. It’s hard to find the words that could reflect how grateful we truly are.
“If you are affected by the Post Office Horizon scandal don’t hesitate to reach out as it’s a smooth process without any added stress. The team are so compassionate and understanding. Within 24 hours I’ve had things approved which have really helped when time was of the essence. Relationships have been saved by getting urgent help when needed. We’ve even had a contribution towards a much needed holiday for us all this year. Just knowing that help is ready and waiting means a lot to me as a victim of this scandal.
“I am also grateful to those that have contributed towards this fund. If only they had a glimpse of how they contribution has impacted the lives of the victims. Bless them all!!”
Mark and Gizmo
Date of grant - October 2022
Gizmo is a support dog, given to Mark Kelly to help keep him calm. Mark was a Subpostmaster in Swansea. On two occasions Mark’s branch was attacked by armed robbers. The Post Office tried to hold him liable for the stolen cash. Although Mark came through this, he was suspended in 2006 after an audit. By this stage he was extremely vulnerable. The Post Office said he had a £12,000 discrepancy, but Mark disputed this. He was told he would be prosecuted if he didn’t resign. Mark resigned but was still interviewed by the Post Office’s criminal investigators. This led Mark to suffer a breakdown. He was taken into care under the Mental Health Act. When he came out he was interviewed by Post Office investigators again, this time at a police station. Although the Post Office decided not to prosecute him, they didn’t tell him this, and left him living in fear for years.
Gizmo has been a really important companion to Mark and, last year, even sat on his lap when he gave his oral impact statement to the Post Office Horizon IT inquiry
Mark told us:
“I have depression, anxiety and PTSD. Gizmo grounds me so I don’t, for example, attempt to end my life, like I have in past. During the coronavirus pandemic, Gizmo was trained to bark if people came within 2 metres of me and I didn't see them due to me being high risk with asthma and diabetes.
“Gizmo means the world to me. Many people have said he is like my shadow. Due to the fact he attended with me during my impact statement, he has also become a sort of star with fellow survivors of scandal, a mascot, you could say.”
Sadly in October 2022 Gizmo’s leg was run over by a car and he needed immediate surgery. The Horizon Scandal Fund was able to fund a third of the cost of Gizmo’s treatment. Mark said:
“At the time of accident I was so stressed about Gizmo. I was thinking he won't be able to walk on four legs or worse… that would be devastating for my world. Then a fellow former Subspostmaster referred Gizmo and I to the Horizon Scandal Fund Charity. They were so understanding, respectful and processed the claim with no stress.”
We are delighted to report that Gizmo has made a full recovery. Mark wrote to tell us that Gizmo “would like to thank the trustees with the support of his medical bill”.
MORE ABOUT US
We hope that by publishing the examples above, other potential applicants will see the range and size of grants we can offer and it will encourage more people to come forward.
We are aware that despite the distracting statements by the Post Office and government about compensation, there remains a huge amount of need amongst those still waiting for compensation and those who, for whatever reason, are not entitled to receive it.
The Horizon Scandal Fund is for anyone who has been adversely affected by the Post Office Horizon IT scandal - this extends to the families (and, in some circumstances, much loved pets) of those affected. We welcome applications on behalf of people who may not think to apply for themselves and will deal with everything sensitively and confidentially.
Our income comes mainly via donations from generous individuals or family/charitable trusts. One barrister working on the inquiry is donating a percentage of her net fees to the Fund. A percentage of net income to Bath Publishing from sales of The Great Post Office Scandal is also donated to the Fund.
Our trustees are Helen Lacey, Nick Wallis, Sandra Tizzard, Varchas Patel, Helen Baker, Eleanor Shaikh and Nicola Wallis. The Chair of Trustees is David Chaplin and our patron is Lord (James) Arbuthnot. Between us we have experience of running Post Offices, being victims of the scandal, campaigning for justice and reporting in the news media on it for several years. More information about the trustees and our activities can be found on our website and our page on the Charity Commission website.
If you would like to receive occasional updates about our fundraising activities and the people we have helped, please consider signing up to our newsletters using the form below. We will only use your email address to let you know about the activities of the Horizon Scandal Fund and will not share it with anyone else.