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Guest blog: Community engagement is key to building a brighter future

The Marsden Building Society Charitable Foundation was launched in 2023 to support projects in Lancashire based on three key themes. The work of the Foundation and the Society's strong community links are the focus of the latest blog demonstrating The Mutual Difference. 

Rob Pheasey, CEORob Pheasey, Chief Executive, Marsden Building Society

The community should be at the heart of every building society. We’re built on a unique foundation of mutuality meaning we’re owned by and run for the benefit of our members and - by extension - the community. It’s this fundamental difference that sets us apart from traditional banks and shapes who we are as an organisation. Nowhere is this more evident than through our commitment to community involvement and charitable giving. 

For us, it’s not just about good PR, it’s about living our values. Being deeply embedded in the communities where our members live, work, raise families and retire creates a powerful responsibility. We understand the challenges individuals and local causes face, and we believe supporting them isn’t just a choice, but an obligation. An obligation we wholeheartedly and proudly accept. 

Making a genuine difference is something we feel strongly about. Whether it’s supporting vital local charities or sponsoring youth initiatives, our actions can help make a lasting impact on people’s lives. This means community involvement is critical for local organisations like us. Not only does it strengthen our relationship with our members, but it also allows us to better understand their needs and priorities. This, in turn, helps us develop products and services that truly benefit them, therefore fostering a stronger and more sustainable member base. 

We strive to build trust within the neighbourhoods we serve. It’s not enough to say we care; we must also show it. This is why we launched the Marsden Building Society Charitable Foundation. Each year, the Foundation will provide funding for projects in Lancashire based on three key themes; encouraging financial wellbeing; promoting inclusivity; and improving the environment/regenerating the local area. Since launching in 2023, we’ve had the privilege of supporting 11 incredible causes with grants totalling £30,000. 

In supporting local charities and organisations through the Foundation, we’re investing in the very communities that fuel our success. This creates a mutually beneficial cycle with stronger communities leading to more vibrant economies, which ultimately benefits everyone. 

Lytham residents joining a Walk and Talk session with AFC Fylde Community FoundationOf course, community involvement goes beyond financial contributions. It’s about nurturing genuine connections, building partnerships, and listening to the needs of our members. After all, being mutual is about reciprocation, not just providing a blanket service. 

People are at the heart of everything we do here at the Marsden. Whether it’s providing a thriving work environment, supporting our customers, or making positive contributions to our community, there’s nothing more important to us than people.

It’s our people who’ve made Marsden Building Society what it is today. Additionally, our increased involvement in our communities directly impacts our teams and encourages recruitment, therefore benefitting the organisation. If social media has taught us anything about the future workforce, it’s that Gen Z and millennials are seeking careers within companies that display strong social responsibility. Genuine commitment to the community can help to attract and retain talented individuals who not only share our values but act on them as well. 

Part of our mission to support and nurture this passion for community amongst our teams is through our volunteering initiative. Marsden employees have opportunities to take paid leave to volunteer for causes close to their hearts, further cementing Marsden’s commitment to improving the neighbourhoods we work within. 

So, it’s safe to say community is deeply rooted in Marsden Building Society. Without the support of local people, we wouldn’t be here today. Community is the reason we’ve been able to help savers and homeowners for more than 160 years, and it’s the reason we’ll be supporting them for many more years to come. 

Find out more: Marsden Building Society Charitable Foundation