Positive changes in your community
It’s fair to say 2020 was a year we won’t forget in a hurry. We all faced changes brought about by the pandemic. But for many, the restrictions have resulted in more time with family and given us the opportunity to reflect on our priorities.
Community spirit has been more important than ever
In a survey of our members and the general public last year*, 40% said they now think differently about their local community. Some said the pandemic has created an improved sense of community spirit and they’ve got to know their neighbours better than ever, with local people banding together to help each other out.
We’ve experienced it here too. Our own community of members has shown patience and understanding as we’ve navigated through the changing circumstances around us. And our colleagues have worked hard, keeping their focus firmly on you. We’ve also continued to support the local charities and causes that you care about.
Our relationship with Dementia UK has gone from strength to strength
In April last year we announced our national partnership with Dementia UK, as voted for by our members and colleagues. We kicked off our fundraising efforts with a donation of £25,000 to help the charity navigate the uncertain times brought about by last year.
Thanks to the generosity of our members, and the fundraising efforts of our colleagues, more than £150,000 has been raised for the charity. And that’s just the start. Our goal is to raise £500,000 by 2024.
Vicky Wheeler, Admiral Nurse for Dementia UK said:
“On the Admiral Nurse Dementia Helpline, we’ve seen first-hand the huge impact coronavirus, social distancing and lockdown has had on those living with dementia.
“With the support from Leeds Building Society, we’ve been able to increase the number of telephone lines, so we can provide more support to more people.
“We have also been able to purchase equipment to work from home, meaning our dementia specialist Admiral Nurses can continue to provide much-needed, personalised support over the phone throughout the pandemic.
“We’ve also recognised the impact the year has had on the Helpline Admiral Nurses. The Society’s donation has allowed the nurses access to mindfulness sessions, giving us the opportunity to reflect and concentrate on our own wellbeing.
“We’re so grateful to Leeds Building Society for raising this money, allowing us peace of mind knowing we can continue providing our service to those living with dementia.”
Supporting the local causes making a difference
Leeds Building Society Foundation makes donations of up to £1,000 to UK-based charities to support community-based projects.
Last year the Foundation granted more than £148,000 to 163 charities. This included a food relief charity who provide free meals to the homeless and vulnerable. And a mental health charity who make sure anyone experiencing mental health problems has somewhere to turn. With their donation they purchased plants and a greenhouse to create a tranquil space for those who need it.
Julie McPhee, Airdrie Foodbank said:
“As a charity reliant on regular sources of support, such as fundraising events, schools, churches and businesses, the volume of food and monetary donations decreased significantly as a result of the pandemic.
“Our clients face hard choices between hunger, heating their home, paying bills and honouring debts. Food is commonly seen as the easiest item to cut, and so the provision of emergency food, provided by Airdrie Foodbank, can ease these financial pressures and allow time for longer term solutions to be put in place.
“The donation from Leeds Building Society Foundation allowed us to purchase essential food items, ensuring our emergency food packs remained nutritionally balanced. The funding also kept our van on the road and equipped our volunteers with PPE, allowing us to operate safely.
“While other local groups, such as lunch clubs and soup kitchens, closed during the crisis, Airdrie Foodbank was able to continue operating and offer support to those in need. This would not have been possible without donations from organisations such as the Leeds Building Society Foundation.”
And last but certainly not least... our colleagues
Through our volunteering scheme, colleagues are able to give seven hours of time to support local causes. Last year we doubled this to 14 due to the heightened need to support the community.
This saw colleagues give support in a number of different ways to those affected by the pandemic. Some helped those shielding with food shopping, whilst others signed up to help organisations deliver prescriptions to the elderly and vulnerable.
Ryan Carty, Leeds Building Society volunteer said:
“When the pandemic hit, many elderly and vulnerable people were left without access to food deliveries from local supermarkets. In response I set up a website, CarePackageUK, allowing individuals to place a food order and have a delivery within three days. This meant that most days after work I would go to the supermarket, complete the shop, and deliver to someone in the local community. I didn’t charge a penny for the service.
“More recently and upon hearing some children would be missing out on free school meals during half term, I was keen to play my part - it’s something I’m very passionate about. Working with Cedar Church, Birmingham, we were able to get enough food for more than 40 families. We’re now taking food donations every morning, Monday to Sunday at the church to provide a Christmas dinner for those families experiencing financial difficulties made worse by the coronavirus pandemic.
“It’s my goal that we aim to feed over 100 families this Christmas. We will also be giving out presents and making activities for the children to do.
“It’s been important for me to help others throughout 2020 and I’ve found so many kind people were prepared to give to those in need.”
You vote, we donate
For every online vote cast in this year's Annual General Meeting (AGM), we made a 20p donation to charity. Members were able to choose whether this went to Dementia UK or the Leeds Building Society Foundation.
We look forward to supporting more charities and causes this year. Learn more about our commitment to doing what's right.
*Based on a survey undertaken in August 2020. 442 people were surveyed by Leeds Building Society via our customer panel, ‘TalkingPoint’. A further 506 participants from the general public were surveyed by Verve, a research partner.
This article is intended for information purposes only and is accurate at the time of publication. It’s always advisable to verify any information you take before relying on it.