North East Connected

Community Contributions Lead to National Award for Newcastle Building Society

The commitment of the North East’s biggest building society to supporting its communities has been recognised at a prestigious national awards event.
Newcastle Building Society was chosen to win the Community Services (medium to large lender) category at the annual Mortgage Finance Gazette Awards, from financial organisations from across the UK.
The award recognises community-related work carried out by financial services organisations and their employees and encompasses a range of different activities, including colleague involvement and voluntary activities, community spirit, financial contributions and fundraising.
The award was presented by Mortgage Finance Gazette editor, Joanne Atkins, to Kathryn McLaughlin from Newcastle Building Society, at a special event held at The Royal College of Physicians in London.
After setting up the Newcastle Building Society Community Fund at the Community Foundation in 2016 as a way of focusing fundraising and donation impact for regional charities and community groups, the Society increased the total amount of Community Fund grants available for the initial £18,000 at its launch to £120,000 this year.
Grants of up to £3,000 are made available to community groups and charities within the region, which are nominated by customers through its branches and website, and over the past 18 months the Society has distributed more than £143,000 in grants to 81 projects in the North East and Cumbria.
Alongside this, fundraising for The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, which has been ongoing through a range of Sir Bobby charity savings accounts since 2012, passed the £2.5m mark this year.
An extensive and expanding volunteering programme provides two days a year that colleagues can dedicate to volunteering for projects in communities across the North East and Cumbria.
In the first half of 2017 Society colleagues spent over 2,220 hours supporting 54 local groups and good causes, including careers mentoring in schools, working on community gardens and spaces, and helping at food banks, and they have also undertaken a range of fundraising activities to benefit local causes.
A branch network-wide programme has seen managers being trained to become Dementia Friends as part of the UK’s biggest ever initiative to change the way people think, act and talk about dementia, while more than 2,000 schoolchildren from across the North East have so far taken part in the Society’s Boardroom Charity Challengean ongoing financial education programme that aims to help them learn about becoming more financially aware.
The Society has run more than 50 ‘Big Talk’ events for both customers and non customers which provide free information on financial, retirement and estate planning, while it has also introduced free mortgage information events aimed at helping first time buyers better understand the home buying process and their options. 
Andrew Haigh, chief executive at Newcastle Building Society, adds: “How we connect our colleagues, our customers and the communities around our branches across our heartland area is key to how we measure ourselves as an organisation, which makes it especially pleasing to have our work in this area win this national recognition.
“The energy and enthusiasm that our colleagues give to the groups and good causes for which they volunteer is admirable, and being able to enhance the work of some of these projects through Community Fund grants adds an extra dimension to our involvement.
“As a mutual organisation, supporting our communities is an essential part of what we do every single day, and winning this award represents the latest stage on a continuing journey to deliver our core purpose: connecting communities in the North East with a better financial future.”
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