Founder’s Day Celebration! (1934-2021)

March 19, 2021

On Friday 19th March, the PRS Members’ Fund celebrates its founder’s day!

We have come a long way!

This milestone gives us the opportunity to celebrate the legacy of our founders and the rich history of the Fund, but also to reflect on the impact of our work and the progress we made. How we were, how we are and who we want to be.

History is like the geology and substratum of human activity. And the history and experiences between PRS for Music and the PRS Members’ Fund has formed the bedrock of the organisations that we are today.
And what better way to celebrate this fundamental bedrock than to take a little dig into the formative layers and to celebrate the Founding Day of the Members’ Fund! By taking a closer look, previous hidden intricacies and connections with PRS for Music can be revealed.

 

OUR HISTORY

The 1930s were signed by the worldwide Great Depression, Britain’s largest and most profound economic crisis with its devastating effects on employment and profits plunged in nearly all sectors. By summer 1932 unemployment reached 70% with more than 3 million out of work nationally and many families depended entirely on payments from local support.

Driven by the desire to support its members during the crisis, at a PRS annual general meeting its then chairman Leslie Boosey suggested the creation of a fund to help sustain the livelihood of PRS songwriters, composers, and their dependants during the difficult times that were being experienced.

The following year emerged the PRS Members’ Assistance Fund with a small contribution of £100 from the society’s investment earnings to allow a few immediate payments to those members most in need.

On March 19th, 1934, composer Frederic Austin, author Henry Jocelyn Clive Graham and publisher Herbert Smith, signed the Trust Deed to establish the PRS Benevolent Fund.

(Click here Trust Deed to see the original copy).

The benevolent Fund was financed by a subvention of 0.5% of the society’s distributable income.

War Years

In 1939, with more contributions under its belt, the Fund purchased a freehold property in Surrey. Although intended as a convalescent home for older beneficiaries, the onset of war resulted in PRS using it as their ‘evacuation offices’. Subsequently adapted as a temporary refuge for members made homeless by war, it was sold in 1945 due to the high running costs.

 

FUND STRUCTURE AND GOVERNANCE

PRS directors had stipulated that the chairman of the PRS Board must also be chair of the Fund and Leslie Boosey became the first chairman. He remained chairman of the Fund for 23 years, until his retirement in 1957, aged 70.
The rules of the society regarding the chair were then relaxed, and the Fund committee became entitled to select its chair from within its own committee members.

Click here for info on the names of the Chairs and General Secretaries.

 

WHO WE ARE TODAY

The year 2020 has been one marked with struggle due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The challenges of the Great Depression – when there was a huge economic and social upheaval – is not dissimilar to that caused by the current Covid-19 crisis, resulting in mass unemployment and far-reaching poverty.

The main remit then – as now – was to support members and their families who were struggling financially.

Therefore in March 2020 we allocated monies to create a dedicated PRS Emergency Relief Fund (ERF) launched in collaboration with PRS for Music and support from PRS Foundation.

During 2020 and through 2 separate ERF phases, we helped over 4,000 songwriters and composers, with around £2m paid out in hardship grants.

This enabled PRS members to pay their bills at a time when gigs were being cancelled because of Covid-19.

ERF phase 3 which helped a further 850 members still hit by the pandemic with £331,000 being paid out so far in 2021.

We anticipate that there will be further need as the country moves out of lockdown and until such time live music returns and venues and festivals safely open for business.

 

OUR FUTURE PLANS:

Continue to work together with PRS For Music: to support members during difficult times.
Raise awareness of our work: no eligible PRS member who is experiencing distress should hesitate in asking for help from the Fund, this is your Fund, for you!
Increase our presence online: provide more webinars on mental health and other topics, useful content and other resources.
Improve diversity and inclusion: look at how we can become better engaged with the whole membership.
Develop our services: review and improve to meet our members’ needs.

 

SUPPORT OUR WORK

For over 80 years, thanks to the generosity of our supporters, we have been able to provide essential grants to PRS songwriters, composers and their families during difficult times.

We want to take this opportunity to thank all those who have helped support our work and whose donations have allowed us to make a difference in the lives of many fellow music creators. Thanks to your invaluable contributions we are able to implement our services and better serve our members in need.

To those who want to support our work, you can check the many ways to donate on our website by clicking here, or get in touch at fund@prsformusic.com and call us at 020 3741 4067.

Every penny donated will be applied towards grants and will allow us to continue to deliver our work.

MORE NEWS.


August 16, 2022

Peer Support Group

The PRS Members’ Fund are financing Tonic Rider, in collaboration with Help Musicians, to facilitate a peer support group for Black PRS members to help promote better mental well-being within the industry. The group aims […]

Read More


July 14, 2022

125 years of tackling poverty. How Many More?

The PRS Members’ Fund is proud to support our partner charity Turn2Us who is launching a new campaign to ask: How Many More? of us will be plunged into financial insecurity or even poverty. The […]

Read More


July 1, 2022

International Reggae Day 2022

The PRS Members’ Fund is delighted to support British Black Music and partners with their targeted events, which highlight domestic black music, create networking spaces and provide music industry education. Reggae day is a vibrant […]

Read More


May 13, 2022

Mental Health Resources

As Mental Health Awareness Week begins to draw to a close, we thought of putting together some useful resources to support your emotional well-being even beyond this week. Raising awareness of the impact of loneliness […]

Read More


May 10, 2022

“Ebb, flow, forward, back?”

To celebrate this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week, our welfare & development officer Athena Pite reflected on latest events and the importance of good mental health.   Time…. ebb…. flow. Around…forward, back?  Sometimes it’s hard […]

Read More


February 8, 2022

Looking for space to work on your songwriting?

Our Respite breaks scheme is closed now. Look out this space for future updates.   Our Respite breaks scheme aims at PRS members who may be struggling financially and in need of space to create […]

Read More


January 21, 2022

Success Stories

The people that we work with inspire us every day. We love to hear from our beneficiaries, it’s our favourite thing! The personal stories of those who have been affected by financial, physical or emotional  […]

Read More


December 16, 2021

Christmas Newsletter 2021

As 2021 draws to a close we want to take this opportunity to look back on a year that was certainly challenging in many ways, but also showed how strong we are even in the […]

Read More


December 1, 2021

Winter Heating Scheme 2021-22

Need help with your winter heating bills? Here at the Fund we offer assistance to older PRS members or those who face financial hardship because of long-term illness and increases in fuel costs, and need […]

Read More


October 7, 2021

Creativity and Well-being Workshops

We offer a series of webinars focusing on creativity and well-being with British Association for Performing Arts Medicine (Bapam). We know how demotivating the lockdown has been to the creative process and how stressful it […]

Read More


September 30, 2021

Wellness Webinar Scotland

Over the past 18 months PRS songwriters/performers and composers will have faced significant challenges to mental health and wellbeing along with the loss of livelihood and related income. We know that the effects of the […]

Read More


August 11, 2021

Newsletter Summer Edition

It’s time for a quick look back at events which have happened during the past months and to share some news with you about how the Fund’s team and your charity is still evolving during […]

Read More

Need support?

Contact us at fund@prsformusic.com or +44 (0)203 741 4067

Download the Application Form


GET IN TOUCH