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The 125 Foundation

In 2015 to celebrate our 125th Anniversary, the 125 Foundation was established.

The 125 Foundation provides exclusive financial support to Members, their communities or causes that are close to their hearts. 

The Awards

Members, or their Financial Adviser on their behalf, can apply for two types of awards:

  • Individual Awards are for the simple things that make a huge difference. Members, or their Financial Adviser on their behalf, can nominate individuals close to them who may be suffering hardship and could benefit from financial support. This can be anything from money towards the cost of new household equipment or a short break to recuperate.

           The foundation will make 10 monthly awards of up to £500. 

  • Half Yearly Community Awards are for driving forward the local projects and causes that Members value and support. This could be money towards refurbishing the village hall to helping to set up a youth centre.

           The foundation will award one sum of up to £25,000 twice a year.

How to Apply:

You can make an application to the 125 Foundation Committee by;

  • using our online form here
  • emailing
  • or in writing to: 125 Foundation Committee, Cirencester Friendly, Mutuality House, The Mallards, South Cerney, Cirencester, GL7 5TQ.

All submission must meet the Terms and Conditions. Please include evidence of any costs that you state in your application. Evidence can be in the form of an invoice, quote or receipt.


The 125 Foundation has provided vital support so far by awarding money to a number of individuals and causes.


In June 2018 Karen was diagnosed with cancer and underwent four operations to remove it, the last of which was a mastectomy in November of that year. This was followed by radiotherapy in February and March 2019; luckily, she didn’t require chemotherapy. However, she had to lose weight to be eligible to join the NHS waiting list for the reconstruction surgery.

Her parents had taken out a Cirencester Friendly Membership on her behalf when she was a child. The 125 Foundation caught her eye in the paperwork which was sent out ahead of the 2018 AGM.  Karen was motivated to lose the necessary weight but did not feel comfortable joining a gym.  She applied to the 125 Foundation Committee which was an easy and straightforward process and was delighted to hear, quite quickly, that her application had been successful. Cirencester Friendly sourced, ordered and paid for an electronic treadmill for her!

The treadmill was delivered in April 2019, but Karen lives in the first floor flat and the regulations of the delivery company meant they couldn’t take it upstairs and it was too heavy for her to carry on her own. Instead, Sophie, David, Paul and Daniel from Cirencester Friendly came to her aid that very day and carried it up to her flat. They then took the time to assemble the treadmill and took all the packaging away with them.

Karen started using the treadmill regularly and combined with a good diet, was able to lose the excess weight. After six months she had lost the required amount of weight and was having appointments with medical professionals about being added to the waiting list. In July 2020 after numerous set-backs due to Covid19 and further medical testing, Karen met with her plastic surgeon who confirmed she now met the requirements and was finally on the waiting list for reconstructive surgery!

Although Karen’s surgery has unfortunately been delayed further due to the Coronavirus pandemic, there is hope that her surgery will finally be able to take place this year. Karen still uses the treadmill to this day and is extremely grateful for the exceptional support provided by the Society and the 125 Foundation

Brathay Trust - Community Award

The 125 Foundation helps support Brathay Trust

Cirencester Friendly’s 125 Foundation Committee is pleased to announce it’s support for the Brathay Trust, by donating funds to help upgrade a bedroom for disabled use within Old Brathay Hall.

Scott Umpleby, Brathay Trust said”Our experience of the grant application process and support provided by the 125 Foundation has been very positive. The process is delivered with the charity/beneficiary in mind and is clear and easy to follow. The support the Foundation has provided will make Brathay’s provision of residential personal development accessible to young people with particular physical needs”.

Kate McIntyre, Non-Executive Director at Cirencester Friendly said: “I am absolutely delighted that Cirencester Friendly’s 125 Foundation has been able to support the wonderful work of the Brathay Trust. Brathay’s mission to help disadvantaged young people to gain life skills, to increase their self-esteem and to find their way in a complex and sometimes overwhelming world, is very much in line with Cirencester Friendly’s business values and their aspiration to do good in the community. We hope and expect that this donation by the Cirencester Friendly 125 Foundation will make Brathay’s life-changing work accessible to an even wider range of young people and especially to those who have even greater challenges to overcome.”

Read more here

Wiltshire Air Ambulance - Community Award

Wiltshire Air Ambulance keeps flying with support from Cirencester Friendly

Cirencester Friendly’s, 125 Foundation Committee is pleased to announce it is supporting the remarkable work of Wiltshire Air Ambulance. The 125 Foundation has funded vital equipment and additional uniforms needed for the crew. The 125 Foundation was delighted to fund two ‘Video Laryngoscopy Devices’ to have on board and additional uniforms required for the crew at the base. Find out more about Wiltshire Air Ambulance here.

Valerie Whistler, Partnerships Coordinator for Wiltshire Air Ambulance said: “We’d like to say a huge thank you to the 125 Foundation for their incredible donation with which the charity has purchased two video laryngoscopes for our team of critical care paramedics. The video laryngoscopes are among the specialist medical equipment used by our critical care team to deliver gold standard medical care to patients. It has been an absolute pleasure working with the 125 Foundation and we look forward to working with them again in the future.”

David Macgregor, Commercial Director at Cirencester Friendly said: “Whilst we are incredibly fortunate to live in beautiful Cotswolds, one of the drawbacks is fast accessibility to remote rural areas in the event of an emergency. This is just one of the reasons why we were so keen to support the incredible work Wiltshire Air Ambulance carry out. We are delighted that our donation has been able to provide some life saving equipment as well as additional uniforms.”

Read more here

Knitted Knockers UK - Community Award

Knitted Knockers UK

Cirencester Friendly are delighted to announce that their 125 Foundation has supported the charity, Knitted Knockers with a donation of £1,250.

This lovely charity consists of a group of volunteer knitters, 'Knockerettes' as they call themselves, who knit prosthetic breasts for women who have suffered from breast cancer and have had a lumpectomy or mastectomy. The money donated by the 125 Foundation will pay for 125 pairs of prosthetic breasts to be knitted for 125 ladies.

Lynne Hawksworth, Chair of Trustees for Knitted Knockers UK said: "The magnificent amount of £1,250 will pay for 125 ladies to receive ‘a gift from one woman to another’. These 'gifts' consist of one or two Knitted Knockers and/or Aqua Knockers, sent in a pretty organza bag with extra stuffing and yarn to re-lace the knocker. The joy it gives us to tell ladies ordering that the Knockers are totally free is beyond words, and their responses often bring tears to our eyes. Each year we send out between 3000 to 4000 orders, so your very generous donation means so much to us."

Read more here

Josephine Law - Community Award

The Lyme Regis Sea School Trust

Member, Josephine Law applied to the 125 foundation on behalf of The Lyme Regis Sea School Trust, to help enable them to continue their active maintenance programme on their dinghies. The 125 Foundation were pleased to award £500.00 to the community centre.  

Josephine Law on behalf of The Lyme Regis Sea School Trust said: “The Lyme Regis Sea School was set up in 1995 as a registered charity designated to teach people of all ages to sail. Everyone is a volunteer and gives up their time for the enjoyment of the sport.

The sea school provides an excellent opportunity for local children and adults to learn to sail, which is something that we are lucky to be able to do on our doorstep.

Our dinghies are used throughout the year. We have our multiple intensive week-long courses over the summer holidays. The dinghies are also used by our local comprehensive school, The Woodroffe and by Lyme Regis Sailing Club for various abilities of Youth Sailing. We are determined to make sailing a sport open to all by being able to provide dinghies that people can sail in.

We are a not for profit charity and are grateful for the support and donations we receive. Without the support that Cirencester Friendly have given us we would find it difficult to continue to maintain our boats and trailers to a high standard, and there are lots of costs involved for purchasing and maintenance. We’d like to thank Cirencester Friendly for their generous donation and support.” 

Denise Caffrey - Community Award

Trawden Community Centre

Member, Denise Caffrey applied to the 125 foundation on behalf of Trawden Community Centre to help enable them to install DDA compliant access doors. The 125 Foundation were pleased to award £5160.00 to the community centre.  

Maureen Askew on behalf of Trawden Community Centre said: “Trawden Forest CIO would like to express our thanks to the team at Cirencester Friendly, from the first contact, to being awarded a grant and after, the organisation has been extremely approachable and helpful making the whole process easy and stress free. We are extremely grateful for the grant award, which has enabled us to install a DDA compliant access door. Thank you.”

The 125 Foundation are pleased to be able to support communities like Trawden Community Centre to allow members of the public to benefit from their facilities, services and activities. 

John Westland – Community Award

Paignton under 11s Rugby Team 

John Westland,a Member of Cirencester Friendly, applied to the 125 Foundation on behalf of his son’s Rugby Team. 

The team are small and dedicated and they strive to improve year on year. The 125 Foundation provided financial support towards the team’s new kit. 

Ben Cole, Paignton under 11s Rugby Team Coach and 125 Foundation Beneficiary said: “From the initial contact with Cirencester Friendly, they couldn’t have done any more to help, exceeding our expectations with the support that they have offered. It’s made a huge difference to the children involved and we can’t thank Cirencester enough for helping Paignton under 11’s rugby look the part, both on and off the pitch.” 

You guys really have made a huge difference in what is a very competitive environment at a small club! “

Keri Marie Hughes – Community Award 

The Jesters

The Jesters are a girl’s rugby team, based in Blaenau Gwent in Wales. Cirencester Friendly Member Keri Marie Hughes, applied to the 125 Foundation to help invest in the quality of the team’s provisions. 

 “We do not charge any weekly contributions for the girls to attend as Blaenau Gwent is a deprived area in South Wales. We want the girls to be able to attend without putting an extra financial burden on the families. To help with this we fundraised by completing sponsored walks. 

As a start-up, we have had to start from scratch and it hasn’t been easy”

Keri Marie Hughes, 125 Foundation Beneficiary

The 125 Foundation awarded £1,500 towards the cost of brand new kit for the team.

Vanessa Furlong

The 125 Foundation provided vital support to Vanessa Furlong when her husband, a Cirencester Friendly Member, suddenly passed away from cancer.

"As a self-employed Sailing Instructor, I knew that my husband, Simon, needed safeguards in place. We were impressed with Cirencester Friendly’s offering and so took out an income protection contract with an eight week deferred period.

Unfortunately, sometime after taking out this contract, Simon became unwell. Tragically, he was diagnosed with terminal cancer and he passed away just three weeks after diagnosis. I saw that Cirencester Friendly had a terminal illness benefit under the policy and so contacted the Society to ask if they would be able to provide any support.

The Society wrote to me and explained that although the situation did not meet the terms of the contracted policy, they would like to offer me financial support via the 125 Foundation in order to contribute to the cost of Simon’s funeral, for example. They laid out all the facts and phoned me to explain everything. Nothing was too much trouble and the care and attention they paid, alongside their empathetic approach made me feel like I wasn’t just another contract holder but an actual person – the team was so supportive during that terrible time.

Faced with such a shocking and desperately sad situation and then trying to find money out of thin air is incredibly hard, particularly when still trying to come to terms with such shocking events. I therefore remain very grateful to Cirencester Friendly, not just for the financial aid but for the personal touch they provided. Not only did the Society review my circumstances with independence of mind and, most importantly, with the humanity and respect that those in my position need at such a time, but the payment from the Foundation was a real lifeline.

I really think that the 125 Foundation is something to be very proud of – it takes insurance and the notion of a mutual back to its original roots – providing much needed support when you need it most."

Vanessa Furlong, 125 Foundation Beneficiary

Hucclecote RFC, Individual Award

The 125 Foundation awarded the club the money it needed. The contribution meant that the players were fully prepared for the upcoming season, whatever the weather.

Hucclecote RFC gives local children the chance to play rugby in a fun, safe environment, but relies heavily on donations and sponsorship to provide essential kit for their teams. The club applied to the 125 Foundation to buy their Under-9s team waterproof jackets.

The 125 Foundation awarded the club the money it needed. The contribution meant that the players were fully prepared for the upcoming season, whatever the weather.

"We have children from all backgrounds, including ones where money can be a bit tight, so a company providing kit helps them and the club hugely. Thank you very much Cirencester Friendly!"

Nigel Matthews, Hucclecote RFC Under-9s Coach and 125 Foundation Beneficiary

Robert William Beeton, Individual Award

Robert suffers with Parkinson’s disease and therefore is unable to work, his wife takes care of him. Last year his son, daughter in-law and granddaughter emigrated to Ireland. Robert applied to the 125 Foundation as he wanted to take his wife to see the family in Ireland for the first time. The Foundation awarded him £500 to pay for flights and a cottage to stay in. Mr Beeton describes the 125 Foundation as a ‘small miracle’.

"The one saving grace was being insured by Cirencester Friendly and for that I am eternally grateful. They are a company who really care about their Members and go above and beyond. I was never made to feel like just another number and everything worked like clockwork. Cirencester Friendly really made a difference in the times of trouble.”

Robert William Beeton, 125 Foundation Beneficiary

Robyn Iverson-Mills, Individual Award

Robyn applied to the 125 Foundation for financial support while she undertakes training to become an Approved Mental Health Professional.

"A heartfelt thank you to the 125 Foundation for awarding me £500 to help whilst undertaking training to become an Approved Mental Health Professional. I am truly grateful and the money will help me no end.”

Robyn Iverson-Mills, 125 Foundation Beneficiary

Atherton Town Football Club

Paul volunteer’s as a football coach for the Atherton Town Juniors Football Club. He applied to the 125 Foundation for financial support to help contribute towards the club’s under 13’s Team trip to Poznan in Poland.

The 125 Foundation awarded the club with £700, which contributed towards team’s new kit for their trip to Poznan.

"Atherton Town Storm U13's can't thank Cirencester Friendly enough. The support from the 125 Foundation means that our players have the necessary match day clothing that they wouldn't normally have had. Support from initiatives such as this is vital to grass roots football"

Paul Grainey, 125 Foundation Beneficiary

Knockmany Running Club

Mark is a member of the Knockmany Running Club in Northern Ireland. He applied to the 125 Foundation for financial support to help the club’s youth group. The 125 Foundation awarded the club £500, which contributed towards the youth group’s new running kit.

“The members of Knockmany Running Club would like to offer our sincere thanks on receiving the award of £500 which will help contribute to the new kits for the club.

Please know that this contribution will help us push the club forward in developing a strong youth team and help to support our little community club as we continue to grow and provide coaching for healthy lifestyles within our small rural community.

Our youth programme will continue this summer with a block of eight weeks youth programme and with your kind donation we hope to have some of the best dressed young runners in the country.

Once again thank you very much”.

Mark Donnelly, 125 Foundation Beneficiary