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Guest blog: Creating community partnerships with impact

Find out how Yorkshire Building Society ensures its community partnerships deliver real help to those who need it most. 

By Sasha Pauley – Lead Community Manager, Yorkshire Building Society 

Our community programmes and partnerships help us deliver our purpose – real help with real life – beyond our members, to those who need it most.  

Our community strategy focuses on three key areas:

  • alleviating financial hardship - addressing immediate needs and supporting people with food, clothing, housing or employment;
  • delivering employability skills - to help people to unlock income and enter employment through work-based skills;
  • financial education – helping people create financial resilience by teaching them how to manage money well. 

To achieve this, we have a powerful community programme that includes national partnerships to maximise our reach, funding for local charities in our communities through the Yorkshire Building Society Charitable Foundation and a range of volunteering opportunities for colleagues to provide practical, hands-on support wherever they live and work.  

Our community partnerships are not just ‘nice to do’, but are carefully designed and measured to ensure we are delivering real impact that aligns with our values and ultimately delivers on our purpose. 

We’re currently working to adopt B4SI impact measurement across our key community programmes, to not only better capture the number of people we reach, or touchpoints we create through our programmes, but also assess the depth of impact we have on the lives of individuals. Through this we can measure the real help we’re delivering to the lives of those who need it most.  

Citizens Advice

Our award-winning partnership with Citizens Advice is an example of one of our projects that tackles financial hardship. This partnership sees an innovative use of our branch network, with Citizens Advice advisers hosted at many of our high-street locations. They offer free, face to face independent, and impartial advice on a wide range of issues, with a particular focus on financial wellbeing. This service is accessible to the entire community, not just our members. We work closely with Citizens Advice to record key data about the service we’re offering – this includes the number of people supported by the service, the problems people present with, and the potential outcome of the advice given. We know from this we supported over 3,700 people in 2023 alone and unlocked a potential £1.4 million of income for beneficiaries. 

FareShare

YBS executive committee at a FareShare volunteering dayAnother example of measuring deep impact on individuals’ lives is our partnership with FareShare. FareShare is the UK’s biggest charity fighting hunger and tackling food waste, and we’re working with them to extend their impact by helping lift people out of financial hardship. With one in four people of working age currently out of work*, and many facing barriers to gaining or sustaining employment, we aim to raise £1million to fund FareShare’s Building Skills for the Future programme.

This employability programme will help 2,500 people into employment through work experience, training and honing important skills such as CV writing and interview practice. This project will be measured not only on the number of participants who complete the course, but also on the extent of the transformation it has on participants’ lives – from learning new skills to gaining employment. 

Pupils complete an activity during Money Minds financial education sessionMoney Minds

Our flagship volunteering programme, Money Minds, teaches children, young people and adults about money and prepares them for the world of work and managing finances. For this programme we’ve used our branch network and geographical reach to deliver sessions in school classrooms, led by colleagues as part of their 31 hours per year volunteering allowance. 

For secondary aged young people, the programme is available online and offers teachers, parents, and caregivers an accessible resource for enhancing financial literacy, aligned with the national curriculum which can be used within and outside the classroom. 

For adults, our Money Minds programme is delivered by our colleagues to local community groups and charitable organisations through workshops covering a range of topics, including the cost of living and fraud and scams, with signposting to further advice and support where necessary.  

In 2023, 17,000 people benefitted from this programme either through in person sessions or via resources downloaded from our online platform. 

We constantly evaluate and review the outcomes of all of our community initiatives, to remain focused and ensure they are delivering on our purpose, providing real help with real life in a meaningful way to those who need it most. 

*Office for National Statistics

Find out more: Visit www.ybs.co.uk/your-society

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