STAFF at a North-East building society have been hailed as “lockdown heroes” during a thank you visit by a town’s Mayor.
The Mayor of Darlington, Councillor Chris McEwan, has paid tribute to Darlington Building Society for the “exemplary” way it has supported staff, customers, and the local community during the pandemic.
Councillor McEwan called in to the Society’s Darlington branch, in Tubwell Row, to show his appreciation.
He told staff: “I am keen to publically recognise the efforts of the people, in different walks of life, who have been the glue that has kept everything together during the lockdown. You are definitely among them.
“On behalf of the town, I want to say thank you to Darlington Building Society for how it has responded, and the corporate social responsibility it has shown.”
From the beginning of lockdown, the Society has maintained an “open for business” strategy to give its customers as much access to the branch network as possible.
It decided not to use the Government’s job retention scheme and, instead, gave staff an assurance that jobs would be protected, and that they would be kept on full pay, even if they were shielding, or caring for loved ones.
The Society also recently announced that its annual pledge to donate five per cent of its profits to good causes would be extended to 2025.
For example, a contribution of £20,000 was made to help establish The Bread and Butter Thing in Darlington, and the charity has played a crucial role in distributing food parcels across the town.
The Society encourages all its staff to commit to spend two days a year volunteering, and it was one of the first organisations to respond to a lockdown appeal by Age UK North Yorkshire and Darlington for volunteer befrienders for older people.
The Mayor added: “Thank you for the way you do business. In uncertain times, it’s so important that you reassure staff and support customers in the way that you have, and your ongoing contribution to the community is really valued.
“Darlington Building Society has demonstrated very clearly that it is a local company looking after local people, and I am delighted to honour you as lockdown heroes.”
The Society’s Chief Operating Officer, Chris Hunter, said: “We have throughout the pandemic recognised the tremendous commitment of our staff internally, but it is really nice to get this kind of public recognition from the Mayor – it means a lot.”