March 19, 2024

Written by IlariaPRS

Founder’s day celebration! (1934-2024)

We’re celebrating 90 years of supporting PRS songwriters, composers and their families in times of need!

On March 19th, 1934, the PRS Benevolent Fund was established. Since then, we’ve been there for PRS members and those around them – every step of the 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.

 

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 to see the original copy of the Trust Deed).

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 to see the history of our chairmen.

Click here to see the history of our General Secretaries.

 

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 at www.prsmembersfund.com/support-us.

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

Your Fund, For You

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