Foresters introduce their new annual charity, Sense

Have you seen the video where Jo Milne hears for the first time in her life? This is why fundraising makes Sense to us

Raising money for charity has been part and parcel of Foresters’ commitment to making a positive contribution to people’s lives. Our annual charity for 2014/2015 is Sense, and here’s why we’re supporting it…

If you’ve seen the video that captures the moment 40-year old Jo Milne hears for the first time after having her cochlear implants switched on, it’s something you’ll never forget. People all over the world clicked to view and it quickly went viral after being posted on YouTube earlier this year.

Overcome with emotion and fighting back the tears as her doctor recites the days of the week, Jo later said this was the most emotional and overwhelming experience of her life. As you might have guessed, it’s a bit of a tearjerker.

Jo suffers from a rare condition called Usher Syndrome, which left her deaf from birth and started to claim her sight in her mid-20s. Her story received worldwide coverage, perfectly illustrating the incredible work of the deafblind charity Sense.

Sense has provided support for Jo through the years, and she in turn works for the Sense Usher Specialist Service Team, helping to raise awareness of Usher Syndrome and providing support for others with the condition.

Sense helps people every day

Sense UK 1Jo’s is a high-profile story, but Sense makes a real difference every day for thousands of children and adults with dual hearing and sight impairments, tailoring a wide range of support and services for each individual so that they can live fulfilling lives and enjoy the world around them.

To find out how they do this, click here.

Why Sense?

Each year we support a different cause through our President’s Annual Charity Appeal. Our new President, David Watkins, was elected to represent Foresters’ members last month and he chose Sense for 2014-2015. Explaining his choice, he said: “Can you imagine what it must be like? Try closing your eyes in complete silence – that’s what some of these people live with and somebody’s got to support them and show them how they can enjoy life. That’s what Sense does.”

How can you support Sense?

Sense UK 2Over the next year, we’ll be encouraging Foresters’ members to raise money for Sense through our branch network, which organises fundraising events. We’ve had great success in the past, raising more than £60,000 for the children’s charity Barnardo’s last year via all sorts of events – from skittles tournaments and quiz nights to sponsored cycle rides. Two members even climbed Kilimanjaro, raising a whopping £11,000!

To join other Foresters members in fundraising and regular social and community events, contact your local branch

Find out more about Sense and its work here.

Foresters: a charitable history

Charity was once so vital that it literally made the difference between survival and destitution. Before the days of the welfare state there was no sick pay or benefits, so there was a real risk that a family could become hungry and homeless if their breadwinner fell ill or became too old to work.

Strength in numbers

Friendly Societies, such as Foresters, sprang up to provide essential financial and social support. In 1745, a group of people set up Royal Foresters with the aim of helping each other out as they “walked through the forests of life”. Paying a little every week into a mutual fund meant that if one of them got ill they would be able to draw on the money. Royal Foresters became The Ancient Order of Foresters in 1834 and eventually Foresters Friendly Society, the mutual financial organisation that it is today – one with a strong benevolent spirit.

This blog is intended to provide information, not financial advice, to help you make an informed decision about savings and investments. We do not offer financial advice. You should contact a financial adviser, who may charge a fee, if you want financial advice.

Mr Money explains saving in a With Profits investment

Saving in a With Profits investment sounds like a good thing – watch Mr Money’s video to see what it could do for you…

As a friendly society, we’re big fans of With Profits, but we know that many people don’t really understand why they’re different to other savings plans.

With Profits savings plans sit comfortably between no-risk cash savings and higher-risk stocks and shares and are an option for anyone who wants to save regularly and give their money an opportunity to grow.

Want to know more? Watch this:

Mr Money Video – A Simple Guide to With Profits Savings – Foresters Friendly Society

This blog is intended to provide information, not financial advice, to help you make an informed decision about savings and investments. We do not offer financial advice. You should contact a financial adviser, who may charge a fee, if you want financial advice.

You should also be aware that in some investment conditions and depending on the product you have chosen, you may get back less than you have paid in.

Get Set for the NISA Way to Save: The ISA’s Replacement

On 1 July, ISAs were replaced by NISAs. While they have been criticised by some financial commentators for being aimed at the better off, they still offer many advantages for average earners – here are three good reasons to put your money into one.

1. You can keep more money safe from the taxman

Now, you can put more money into tax-free savings every year because the NISA allowance is higher – it’s increasing from £11,880 to £15,000. Even if you’re not in a position to save that much, you might be able to take advantage of this.

This is good news because…

  • If you have existing savings and investments that aren’t already in a tax-efficient savings plan – savings accounts, shares from employee share schemes or any taxed investments, for example – you could move them into a NISA so you stop paying tax on them.
  • It means that if you do come into any money you can save another £3,120 tax-free – even if you’ve already used up your old ISA allowance this year.

2. You can adapt them to fit your circumstances

The rules have been simplified so you can move your money between cash savings and stocks & shares as your situation changes, without losing any of the tax breaks.

This is good news because…

  • If you use a cash NISA to put money away in a rainy day fund (it’s a good idea to have one of these!), and it grows large enough to cover most emergencies, you could then decide to switch some of it to a stocks & shares NISA to save for longer term goals.
  • It works the other way round, too: you can use a stocks & shares NISA to save for a long-term goal with the reassuring knowledge that when you need access to your money, you can transfer it to a cash NISA.

3. They’re easier to use

The rules have been simplified so that NISAs allow you to save the total tax-free allowance into a cash and / or stocks & shares NISA if you want to. This makes saving more straightforward.

This is good news because…

  • Whereas ISAs have restrictions on the amount you can save in a cash ISA, it’s up to you how you split the annual tax-free allowance between cash and stocks & shares NISAs.

Need to know

  • On 1 July all your existing ISAs will automatically become NISAs – you don’t have to change anything.
  • Interest on a NISA is paid tax free, there’s no further income tax for you to pay on any dividends on stocks and shares, and you won’t pay capital gains tax on any profits.
  • If you do decide to switch between cash and stocks & shares NISAs, remember not to withdraw the money. If you do, the money you withdraw will lose its NISA status and the tax breaks associated with it. Instead, contact the NISA provider who can arrange a transfer on your behalf.
  • Tax rules may change in the future and depend on individual circumstances.
  • With a stocks & shares investment you may not get back all you have paid in.

This blog is intended to provide information, not financial advice, to help you make an informed decision about savings and investments. We do not offer financial advice. You should contact a financial adviser, who may charge a fee, if you want financial advice.

You should also be aware that in some investment conditions and depending on the product you have chosen, you may get back less than you have paid in.