Up to fifty charities are to benefit from a new initiative launched by a North-East building society to give extra focus to an ongoing commitment to local communities.

The Local 5 campaign, launched by Darlington Building Society, gives each of the Society’s nine branches, plus Head Office, the ability to adopt their own five charities, or good causes, to support for a full year.

As part of a new community strategy, as well as sharing profits through the annual 5% Pledge, staff are committing to helping their chosen charities in other practical ways.

They are pledging to share time through volunteering and fundraising; share knowledge through financial education and career enhancement; and share space by making facilities available to community groups.

Niki Barker, the Society’s Director of People and Culture, said: “As well having as internal conversations, branch managers and their teams spoke to members, reached out to other stakeholders in the business, and then linked in with all of the volunteering groups which support each area.

“County Durham Community Foundation has also helped us in identifying key charities and local causes that would benefit from our support.

“This isn’t just about one-off donations to different causes, we want to be more involved with our chosen charities by supporting them in different ways.

“The regional community is at the heart of what Darlington Building Society is all about.”

Louise Thorpe, Head of Direct Distribution, agreed: “Our branches are the beating heart of the community, and staff have felt a part of the community spirit as they’ve gone out to speak to their local charities.

“We want to empower our staff to allocate their own pot of money where they feel it will make the most impact.”