One of Bedford’s business success stories is celebrating 50 years of being based in the area.
Founded in 1902 as a Friendly Society, British Friendly moved its headquarters to Bedford in 1968, and is now in Bromham Road.
British Friendly provides income protection insurance to customers across the UK, which helps them to pay their bills when they are unable to work because of sickness or injury.
British Friendly employs 48 people, with around 70% of employees coming from Bedford and surrounding area.
The company supports local charities and this year is sponsoring the Tibbs Dementia Foundation and two major Bedford events, the Bedford River Festival in July and the Bedford Park Concerts in August.
The last year has been one of the most successful in the society’s history, winning a number of awards for excellence, including three trophies at the insurance sector’s respected LifeSearch Awards in March, picking up the Income Protection Provider of the Year award for the second year in a row.
Iain Clark, British Friendly CEO, said: “Bedford has been a great home to us for five decades, providing us with the environment, skilled workforce and community spirit that has helped us thrive as a business. As such, we are keen to continue to give back to the community through our support to local charities as well as employment opportunities. As a Mutual Society we don’t have shareholders to pay profits to, we exist solely for the benefit of our policyholders. That mindset extends to how we try to help the local community.” British Friendly also has a discretionary Mutual Benefits programme, which gives members valuable rewards, discounts to selected products and services and access to health advice such as second opinion medical services, regardless of whether they need to claim on their policy.
Sarah Russell, CEO of Tibbs Dementia Foundation, said: “We try our best to support people in the Bedford community who are living with dementia and we’re so happy to be supported by a local company like British Friendly. The local community can really make a difference when we work together, so that people can have a better experience with dementia.”