Over 160 Years

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Our History

Friendly Societies were first formed over 200 years ago as mutual self-help organisations run for the benefit of their members. An important function was to provide a method of providing funds to pay for funeral expenses, and this made them popular among working people in the days when death was never far away from both young and old.

The Blackburn Philanthropic Mutual Assurance Society was formed in 1863 and it had the main objective of acting as a burial society for local workers. It was organised by local businessmen who would, in general, have been the employers of the families the Society was designed to benefit. It was, in true Victorian style, a means of improving the social welfare of working people, run on a non-profit making basis by successful businessmen who felt a responsibility for those less fortunate than themselves.

People would take out ‘Penny Policies’ for the funeral expenses of themselves and their families, the premiums being collected from them each week. Often these policies would be taken out on the birth of a new member of the family – a sad reflection of the high infant mortality at the time.

Once people began saving in this way they became members of the Society. As a ‘mutual’ there are no shareholders so all of the profits were shared amongst the policyholders.

Since 1863 the Society has helped members throughout some very hard times, including the demise of the local cotton industry and the resultant poverty, many recessions, 2 world wars and the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1919 (which killed an estimated 5% of the world’s population).

The Society changed its name in 1999 to The Red Rose Friendly Society and we believe it still remains as relevant today as it was back in 1863. Many of the products have evolved, but the ethos of self-help and looking after our members is as true today as it was all those year ago.

Today we offer regular savings policies, lumps sum investments including ISAs, a variety of policies for children and grandchildren and of course we still provide policies to help families cover some or all of the costs of a funeral.

Friendly societies like The Red Rose Friendly Society are important providers of financial services and even have a special tax exempt status for some of their products.

The Society is covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). This is a fund helping to protect policyholders in cases where their provider becomes insolvent or ceases trading. Compensation may be payable if the financial services organisation is no longer able to pay claims against it. More details can be found at www.fscs.org.uk

The Red Rose Friendly Society Ltd is Authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.