Back to September 2019

Commitment from businesses ‘important’ in building community

  • 75% believe commitment to local communities from businesses is important
  • 29% think businesses are responsible for creating a local community

The contribution businesses make to their local areas can be valuable in creating a sense of community, new research by Leeds Building Society has discovered.

The findings of a national survey* indicated 75% of people believe commitment to local communities from businesses is important. Using local businesses was highlighted as an important way to build and maintain a sense of community.

Coffee shops and cafes were named as important local amenities when it comes to making a positive contribution to the community, as they provide a space for people to get together, as well as a venue for community meetings or projects.

Richard Fearon, Leeds Building Society Chief Executive Officer, said: “As a mutual we were founded on the principle of people helping people so we’re passionate about the importance of community and fostering a strong community spirit.

“The findings revealed supporting charities, enabling employees to volunteer within their communities and providing space rent-free to charities were all key ways businesses like ours can contribute to a local community.

“As a business we work hard to contribute to the communities in which our colleagues and members live and work, through volunteering, our work with national charity partner Samaritans  and supporting local charities with donations via the Leeds Building Society Foundation.”

Dr Paul Bagguley, Director of Research and Innovation in the School of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Leeds, said: “People tend to have a sense of belonging with their neighbourhood and identify with their local area and many are committed to developing the true sense of community.

“The presence of businesses, particularly coffee shops and cafes, is becoming more and more important within local communities. They provide neutral spaces for groups of people to get together and in many ways have replaced the local pub as a space to meet and socialise.”


Notes to Editors

*A national survey of 1,420 people was conducted in August 2019

Leeds Building Society operates throughout the UK and had assets of £20.7bn at 30 June 2019 (£19.4bn at 30 June 2018). The Society is a Best Companies 2* employer and its head office is in the centre of Leeds, where it has been based since 1886.

The Society won the title of Best Shared Ownership Mortgage Lender in the 2019 What Mortgage Awards, its fourth consecutive year of success in this category. It also was named Best Lender for Later Life Lending in the Legal & General Mortgage Club Awards 2019.