Mortgage Finance Gazette Awards – Community Services

How we’ve been supporting our communities during COVID-19

During 2020, our commitment to our communities became more relevant and important than ever – we’ve made it our focus to increase our support for our local communities, providing support to those in need and helping others make a difference.

We so proud to have been won the ‘Community Services’ Mortgage Finance Gazette Award! Read on to find out how we’ve been supporting our communities this year.


Community Fund

Following the initial COVID-19 outbreak, we became the first major donor to the Community Foundation’s Coronavirus Response and Recovery Fund with a £100,000 donation. The fund has since exceeded £1m, which was then distributed to more than 150 groups working with those who were most impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak.

We then made a further £35,000 in grants available to crisis-focused grants, with another £64,000 also being allocated to registered charities providing hospice care and cancer support. Alongside awarding grants, our Community Fund also continued to provide ongoing financial support to the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and the Prince’s Trust– taking the total of community grants made in 2020 to over £200,000!


Our Partnerships

In summer, we were proud to announce a six-year, £1.1m partnership with Newcastle United Foundation – supporting the development of their state-of-the-art hub for sports, education and wellbeing. The partnership also saw us become a partner of the Foundation’s NU:Futures programme – a learning and skills outreach project that last year supported more than 50,000 schoolchildren plus hundreds of young people not in education, employment and training across our region.

We were also proud to join forces with both the National Innovation Centre for Ageing and tech for good company, onHand to launch their Newcastle-based pilot – connecting our colleague volunteers with older people needing support with tasks via a mobile app. Already, our colleague volunteers have completed more than 300 volunteering tasks through the app.

We also found new ways of working with local partners to help deliver practical support where it’s most needed. In April, we worked with a distillery in the Yorkshire Dales to purchase and distribute a free supply of 500 bottles of hand sanitiser throughout communities in the Upper Dales. We also collaborated with Nursem, a Newcastle-based hand cream manufacturer, to purchase a supply of their restorative hand cream for our branch and office-based colleagues who were suffering from the effects of continuous hand washing. To help show our gratitude to the NHS, we also worked with Nursem to make a joint donation of a month’s supply of hand cream to every nurse and clinician across the Northumberland NHS Healthcare Trust – that’s over 7,500 doctors and nurses!

Joining forces with the business chambers of Wallsend, North Shields and Whitley Bay, we helped launch Buy Local North Tyneside – a ‘digital high street’ to help encourage shoppers to return to the high street following the national lockdown. So far, hundreds of local businesses and retailers have signed up and the searchable website makes it easy for residents in the region to safely plan their visit before leaving the house.

Most recently, to help celebrate being awarded Platinum accreditation by Investors in People (the highest level achievable!), we’ll be sharing our success with regional charities who are making a real difference in these challenging times. A total of £20,000 will be awarded by the Society on behalf of and at the direction of our colleagues to charities supporting employability, skills generation or inclusion initiatives.