EVEN THOUGH this year BEN - the Motor and Allied Trades Benevolent Fund - has had a 20 per cent increase in the number of people asking it for help, it is concerned that many more are not coming forward. Founded in 1905, the Fund helps and cares for past and present employees, and their dependents, of the motor, agricultural engineering, commercial vehicle, motorcycle, cycle, tyre, petrol, oil, motor insurance, garden machinery and other allied trades industries. Grants are given to those in extreme difficulties as a result of illness, disability, bereavement or other misfortune. Last year the Fund responded to 560 new applications, mainly from those affected by redundancy, in addition to its 2,500 permanent beneficiaries. As one of the wealthiest trade benevolent funds, with just under pounds 10m in assets, BEN is keen to reach smaller motor and allied businesses with two or three employees. 'There are people out there who don't know about us and who would qualify for help.' says a spokesman. The Motor amd Allied Trades Benevolent Fund, Lynwood, Sunninghill, Ascot, Berkshire, SL5 OAJ, telephone 0344 20191.