The Lighthouse Club, a non-profit organisation in construction, was set up to to provide financial assistance for accident victims or sick workers within the industry. It now has branches across the UK and overseas. Here, Mike Cragg, the project manager for Serco Middle East, and the committee secretary for The Lighthouse Club Abu Dhabi, set up in 2007, talks about its work.
How does The Lighthouse Club help construction workers in the UAE?
It's very hard to look after construction workers here, because the UAE is quite well-regulated. You have to have workers' compensation insurance.
In what kind of situations do you end up helping then?
There was a guy, and his son needed a heart operation. We paid for the heart operation. [The son] would have died otherwise. I think he was about nine years old. In this particular case the man was insured, but his family wasn't. The other thing was, last year, during the floods in Pakistan, we provided an ambulance and we have done a couple of Dh25,000 (US$6,800) donations to the Red Crescent, because they do it within the UAE and we can stipulate where it goes.
How do you make sure the club is known among construction workers in the UAE?
By word of mouth and we have about 700 [email] addresses, which we send out every month.
How do you reach labourers who do not have an email address?
We don't actually get down to the lower level because they're not going to have the money to come to our events. We rely on the managers and the supervisors to lend their support to the club, give their money, and let us know if there's anything we can help with. We try and motivate them to tell us if there are any problems and then we look at each case individually through our committee.
What sort of people set up a lighthouse club?
You get certain individuals who get together and these are normally people who have served in Lighthouse Clubs before and see there's a need to set up a Lighthouse Club and they do it. The people drive it.
Why did you join four years ago?
I was taken along by a lady who introduced me, and when they said they're looking for volunteers she put my hand up. .
Who is your membership open to?
Anybody associated with the construction industry can join. Actually, we welcome anybody to join because we just like their money. We have an annual membership fee [Dh300] and, really, to go out 12 times in a year and have refreshments and eat is pretty good value.
For more information visit: http://lighthouseclubabudhabi.com