BPF has several thousand members and we encourage anyone interested in supporting the charity and/or accessing our services to become a member. This policy provides information on membership of BPF, including types of membership, member benefits and fees.
If you have any questions about this policy, please get in touch:
Post: CP House, Otterspool Way, Watford WD25 8HR
Telephone: 01923 889 501
1. Membership of BPF
BPF is structured as a company limited by guarantee (company number 5294321). BPF is also registered as a charity with the Charity Commission (charity number 1108335).
BPF is governed by its articles of association. The articles explain that there are two types of BPF member: company members and associate members.
Because BPF is a company limited by guarantee, it has company members who guarantee to pay a nominal sum of money if the company is wound up. For BPF, this sum is £1.
The articles of association set out the rights and responsibilities of BPF’s company members; when the articles refer to ‘members’, they are referring to company members. Company members also have rights and responsibilities under company law.
If you have a certificate of membership ‘executed by the company’ or have otherwise agreed to accept the £1 guarantee, you are a company member of BPF. The terms and conditions of your membership are set out in BPF’s articles of association and company law.
BPF’s articles of association also make provision for non-company members of BPF, known as ‘associate members’.
Associate members have no rights or responsibilities under the articles of association or company law and are not subject to the £1 guarantee. BPF’s Board of Trustees is responsible for determining the rights and responsibilities of associate members.
If you are a member of BPF but have not accepted the £1 guarantee, you are an associate member. The terms and conditions of your membership are decided by the Board.
2. Membership Fees
The policy of BPF is that all members are required to pay an annual membership fee. The requirement to pay these fees applies to both company and associate members.
In recent years, BPF has faced various pressures which have significantly impacted its finances. The Board conducted a review into the charity’s situation and concluded that the only viable option in the best interests of achieving the purposes of the charity and to ensure the charity’s survival was to introduce membership fees.
Membership fees have been set at an affordable level to encourage people to become and remain members.
Fees and how to pay
Fees are currently:
• £30 for individual membership
• £45 for family membership
Family membership is available where multiple members live at the same address. Proof of address is required.
The membership year runs from January to December. Membership fees are payable by 30 June in any given year. If there are exceptional circumstances justifying late payment, please contact us to discuss this.
Membership fees may be paid by cheque or bank transfer. Please make cheques payable to The British Polio Fellowship.
3. Member benefits
As a paying member of BPF, you have access to the following benefits:
• quarterly BPF Bulletin, including all the latest news on polio and BPF and information on events, fundraising, disability issues, BPF groups/regions and other key matters
• eligibility to apply for holiday and heating grants, and help with mobility and living aids (via the Roosevelt fund)
• telephone advice and assistance with benefit claims [via our helpline]; and
• assistance with applications for financial assistance, including welfare benefits and charity funding
• the opportunity to participate in the BPF Indoor Games.
These benefits are only available to those who pay their membership fees. This is because BPF can only afford to provide these services if membership fees are paid.
Please note that for family membership, all members within the household may access the benefits but only one copy of the Bulletin is provided.
Member benefits may change for the following reasons:
• to enable the charity to further meet member needs and/or charity objectives
• due to a material change (or changes) in circumstance (internal or external)
4. Frequently Asked Questions
Q. I don’t know what type of member I am – how can I find out?
A. You should check your records to see if you have any documentation from BPF to confirm your membership category. You can also contact us to find out.
Q. Can I change my membership category?
A. Yes, it is possible to switch from an associate member to a company member and vice versa. If you would like to do this, please write to us at CP House, Otterspool Way, Watford WD25 8HR to let us know and we will arrange the change.
Q. What happens if membership fees are not paid?
A. If membership fees remain unpaid for six months, your membership may be revoked. Without membership fees, BPF would be at risk of closure. These fees are vital to enable BPF to continue its charitable work.
The Board recognises there may be exceptional circumstances justifying temporary non-payment, such as hospitalisation. If this applies to you, please contact us.
Q. Are there any benefits available to non-members?
A. BPF offers the following benefits to anyone affected by polio and PPS, irrespective of whether they are a member:
• access to the BPF website (https://www.britishpolio.org.uk/), containing a wealth of information and advice; and
• a voice for those affected by polio and PPS in the media, government and other public forums, via campaigns and dissemination of information.
Both members and non-members may also choose to support the charity via donations or fundraising, and we welcome input from anyone with an interest in BPF’s mission. More information can be found on our website.
Q. Has BPF always been a company limited by guarantee?
A. BPF was originally structured as an ‘unincorporated association’. The charity became a company following an ‘incorporation’ process during 2004 and 2005. BPF’s members approved this change of structure at a meeting prior to this being implemented.
One of the main reasons for becoming a company was to protect BPF’s members and trustees, because a company can enter contracts and hold property in its own name and is responsible for its own debts. Previously the trustees and/or members had to enter contracts and hold property on BPF’s behalf and were at risk of personal liability for its debts.
Q. I have been a member of BPF since before it became a company – what happened to my original membership?
A. By incorporating, BPF changed its legal identity: a new company was created and took over the operation of BPF and the old unincorporated association ceased to exist.
Membership of the old unincorporated association ended when BPF became a company and the unincorporated association was closed. Any membership certificate granted before incorporation is therefore no longer valid.
Q. What is the role of the Board of Trustees?
A. BPF has both members and trustees. Because BPF is a company, the trustees are also known as ‘directors’. The trustees are responsible for the overall management of BPF, including its finances, and must act in the best interests of the charity. The articles of association provide information about the role, powers and administration of the trustees.
Q. How can I get more information?
A. By visiting our website or contacting us on the following details:
• Post: CP House, Otterspool Way, Watford WD25 8HR
• Email: email@example.com
• Telephone: 01923 889 501