Our History


Supporting the News trade for over 175 years

In 1839 a number of people met in a Fleet Street hostelry and decided to form a charity to help men and women from the newspaper industry who were in need. This meeting was reported in John Bull, a popular satirical magazine at the time, and the charity was born. Initially, it was named the Newsvendors’ Benevolent & Provident Institution whose aim was ‘granting permanent and temporary relief to persons engaged in the trade in the Metropolis who, from infirmity, age or distress may require assistance’. The long name soon proved too wordy for many cockney street sellers and the charity became affectionately known as ‘Old Ben’ derived from its name and the benevolence it gave.

Charles Dickens was President from 1854 until his death in 1870 and, since then, many notable and respected people from the news trade have given their time and service to the charity.

This has enabled us to expand throughout the UK, to embrace all three sectors: Retail, Wholesale & Publishing, all of which are involved in news distribution, and increase the nature and amount of assistance we can offer to more beneficiaries.

NewstrAid is integral to the trade and is there to assist when colleagues fall on hard times, not exclusively the elderly but those who have suffered long term sickness or disability or faced redundancy, family breakdown or difficulty in supporting dependant children. Today’s world and workplace are changing rapidly and NewstrAid ‘Old Ben’ is there to continue to meet the needs of the less fortunate of the trade.

As from 1st January 2007, the charity was incorporated and changed its name from the NewstrAid Benevolent Society to NewstrAid Benevolent Fund – charity no. 1116824. NewstrAid is regulated by The Charity Commission.