Mutual benefits: could Friendly financial assistance help you?
Wednesday, June 10, 2015
There’s much more to being a mutual society than just taking care of our members’ money. At Foresters, we take care of our members, too. Providing a benefits package is part of this approach and it includes discretionary financial assistance, which can help all sorts of people…
One of the advantages of being a mutual society is that we don’t have any shareholders to pay. This means we are able to use our profits for the benefit of our members. So, who are our members? They are our customers. Anyone who takes out a policy with us automatically becomes a member and can therefore gain access to our full benefits package. It’s as simple as that.
Friendly financial assistance
Among those benefits is discretionary financial assistance, which may be awarded to support our members in a variety of ways.
For example, we helped the family of a member who was a soldier, sadly killed in action, with a donation towards funds for a commemorative bench in his honour; and last year we provided a small sum to the granddaughter of a member who was going on a trek to Africa to assist with underprivileged children.
Down to brass tacks
One family asked for help in meeting the significant costs that resulted from their children, Zafar and Shazia who both hold Child Tax Exempt Savings Plans with Foresters, being accepted into the National Children’s Orchestra this year after auditioning last autumn.
Zafar took up the trombone three years ago, completing Grades 1 and 2 within a term – he’s now working on Grade 7. “I prefer brass instruments because they make a big sound,” he explains, “and I chose the trombone because I really liked the slide.” Shazia followed suit with the trumpet: “It’s really fun to play and you can make lots of different music with it,” she says.
Both are thrilled to be part of the Orchestra, which involves monthly rehearsals as well as week-long residential courses – two for Zafar, who’s in the under-12s section and one for Shazia, who plays in the under-10s. Zafar completed his first course in April and Shazia is looking forward to hers in August.
“It made a big impact because we had five hours of rehearsal every day,” says Zafar. “I learnt lots of different methods and techniques to make the sound better. But it was lots of fun, too.”
Window of opportunity
Membership of the National Children’s Orchestra is for a year and then the children will have to audition again if they want to be part of it the following year. There’s no guarantee, so they’re making the most of the opportunity this year.
Their mum, Najma, says she would never have guessed that they would turn out to have musical talent. She says: “This experience has taught me that if children want to do something, you should try to feed their enthusiasm – you never know where it will lead. We’re very grateful to Foresters and the children are proud, too, that a special organisation is supporting them.
Foresters’ Chief Executive Paul Osborn adds: “Foresters Friendly Society exists for its members and it is especially pleasing to be able to help Zafar and Shazia who are very gifted and talented members.”
Membership benefits are discretionary and are not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority and are regularly reviewed by us to ensure they are relevant to our members.
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.