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Please may I beg space to make a plea on behalf of the RIBA Education Trust Fund? Part of the Fund Committee's duties is to allocate financial aid to help architectural students complete their studies when in difficulty - for example, if they or their partner falls ill or has an accident, or if a supportive parent or guardian dies.

Last year the RIBA allowed members to make a donation to the fund in lieu of the £4.80 each year that members used to automatically donate when they paid their retention fee to ARCUK. The same opportunity will be available this year.

The 2006 renewal generated £5,000 in this way, which went some way towards raising the £30,000 a year which we need to help with course fees or towards the completion of Part 2 final theses for a number of students.

Generous as many members were, the total raised averaged 16p per member. This is not a reflection on the willingness of architects to help. In analysing the response, the Fund Committee realised that a very large percentage of members either pay their subscription by direct debit or pass their renewal form to partners or practice managers to pay where a practice pays staff professional subscriptions and retention fees. The donation element can easily be overlooked.

We need members to be proactive by sending a separate cheque to the RIBA (Education Department) or by persuading partners or practice managers to add a donation on behalf of the practice. I do hope that members will help again this year so that I and my colleagues can continue to help the future members of the Institute.

Peter Jacob, chair, RIBAEducation Trust Fund Committee, Gloucestershire

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