Back in 1874, an organisation was formed which aimed to support the factory workers of Wolverhampton with the costs of every day healthcare. 150 years on, we’re proud to be a thriving not-for-profit, working with individuals and companies across the UK to provide Health Cash Plans and wellbeing support.
We were founded around the concept that no one should struggle to access timely and high-quality healthcare and this remains central for us today, with an overall ethos of making the UK happier and healthier.
As well as supporting our Policyholders, we also whole-heartedly believe in giving back to our community, whether we’re talking about Wolverhampton (where we’ve been based for the entirety of the last 150 years), the Black Country, or nationally.
Over the years, we’ve proudly supported everything from grass roots sports clubs to accessible entertainment, arts programmes to food banks, domestic abuse charities to extreme fundraising challenges.
One thing’s for sure, while we’ve always worked hard to develop our offering, introduce new ways of working (we were among the first providers to launch online claiming!) and we’ve even changed our name a couple of times along the way, we’ve always stayed true to the values that saw our founders launch the organisation 150 years ago. Paycare: we’re here for our Policyholders, the communities we serve, and our fantastic team.
It’d be impossible to share every single milestone from 1874 to 2024, but here are just a few of the ‘big steps’ we’ve taken alongside the million small steps which have led us to the Paycare you see today.
1874 – A Hospital Saturday meeting is held in Wolverhampton, making it one of the first areas to set up a voluntary fund whereby workers contributed to the maintenance of the local hospital (named as such because most people received their wages on a Saturday).
1931 – The Royal Hospital Contributory Association is established, with employees paying in a maximum of 3d per week (at the time, the average industrial labourer earned just under a shilling – or 12d – an hour).
1948 – The creation of the NHS saw the organisation evolve into the Patients’ Aid Association, which five years later began offering optical and dental benefits (which are still part of our Plans to this day).
1989 – Paycare House, where the team are still based now, was officially opened by Wolverhampton Wanderers’ star centre half Billy Wright CBE – and we still have his signature in the visitors’ book from that day!
1996 – Our formal partnership with the Wolves Foundation commenced – a partnership which is still going strong today and which proudly sees us continue to support Wolves’ disabled supporters and the Club’s wider community
2005 – It was time for another name change, as we became Paycare, as well as being ranked as the number one Cash Plan Provider by Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis.
2007 – We were announced winner of the ‘Business Commitment to the Community’ award by the Black Country Chamber
2009 – To provide even greater security and protection to our Policyholders, we launched our free redundancy cover
2013 – Proud supporters of the Wolves Foundation for many years, we created and officially launched the ‘Paycare Lounge’ – which continues to provide a safe and comfortable space for disabled Wolves supporters (as well as visiting fans) to socialise as a group before, during and after a match.
2016 – Our MyPaycare online claiming platform was launched through our website – and it’s been providing our Policyholders with the quickest and most convenient way to claim back ever since
2017 – Former Wolves goalkeeper Matt Murray announced as Paycare’s President, taking over the reins from the late Baroness Rachael Heyhoe-Flint
2017 – The ‘Paycare Lounge’ was renamed the ‘Rachael Heyhoe-Flint Accessible Lounge’ in honour of a wonderful and inspirational individual who was proud to undertake the roles of both President of Paycare and Vice President of Wolverhampton Wanderers FC
2018 – We celebrated being recognised as Community Champions at the Express & Star Business Awards, with this year’s event being hosted by former ‘Voice of the Balls’ Alan Dedicoat
2019 – We launched our MyGiving employee incentive, which sees each team member given money which they can use to kick-start a fundraiser for a charity of their choice. In its first year, the scheme raised £17,000 for various good causes and it’s continued to be successful ever since – alongside Volunteer Days where team members can donate their time, and the more recently introduced Wellbeing Days which aim to ensure our people are relaxed, refreshed and feeling well!
2019 – We were officially recognised as a Real Living Wage employer, having signed a national pledge to ensure our employees earn a wage which is enough to live on. Since 2011, the Living Wage movement has put over £3bn extra into the pockets of low paid workers
2019 – The team celebrated 30 years since moving into our fabulous and purpose-built four storey office on George Street in Wolverhampton
2019 – As a longstanding supporter of the Wolverhampton Grand Theatre, we were proud to back its dementia initiative which still provides dedicated entertainment for those living with the disease as well as their carers at monthly dementia-friendly Memory Cafes
2021 – Our fabulous Compliance Manager Saranjit celebrated an incredible 40 years’ service, making her Paycare’s longest serving member of staff. What a phenomenal achievement!
2021 – In recognition of our longstanding sponsorship and support of Darlaston FC, the Club renamed its ground ‘The Paycare Stadium’
2022 – We were hugely proud to be named the Best Health Cash Plan Provider in the West Midlands at the Midlands Enterprise Awards – an annual awards scheme that recognises businesses in the region who go above and beyond
2023 – Anthony Burns, our former Commercial Director, officially took on the role of Chief Executive following in the footsteps of Kevin Rogers, who remains on board in a consultancy role as well as being the chair of Wolverhampton Foundation. Anthony is also part of the Black Country Think Tank and a non-executive director for the Wolverhampton City Credit Union.
2023 – We officially became an Honorary Patron of the Wolves Foundation for the 2023/24 season, and were announced as one of four Pack Patrons of the charity.
2024 and beyond – Paycare turned 150 years old! We’ve been providing great value Health Cash Plans since 1874 – watch this space for more news!
And finally, a few words from our CEO Anthony Burns:
“Celebrating our 150th anniversary this year is such a momentous milestone, and one that the whole team is exceptionally proud of. As we take this opportunity to reflect on all of the amazing things we’ve achieved over the last century and a half, we also look forward to the next stage of our incredible journey – in continuing our mission to support more and more individuals to be healthy, happy, and well, and to grow and develop our partnerships with organisations across the UK who do so much good within their local communities.”
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Proud to be celebrating our 150th anniversary this year, we support the health and happiness of the UK through a range of Health Cash Plans designed to ease financial pressure and promote a proactive approach to wellbeing. Find out more about our Plans for individuals here, or our Plans for organisations here.