When Leicestershire Cares approached Hinckley & Rugby Building Society to become a member in January 2012 it turned out to be a perfect fit.
The Society has always had the interests of its communities at its heart and encourages and enables staff to volunteer up to three days of paid leave per year. Leicestershire Cares introduces its member companies to local people and organisations that are in need of help. With this in mind, the partnership made good sense.
Where it all began – Number Partners
One of the first Leicestershire Cares projects Society staff got involved with was Number Partners. Each week volunteers go into a local primary school to play maths-based board games with pupils. The children who attend need a little extra support to gain confidence with maths or with participation, or both. The games are designed to make maths fun, and it works! The Society has a team of eight staff who visit Manorfield Primary School in Stoney Stanton to work with small groups of pupils.
Oleta Williams, class teacher at Manorfield Primary School said:
“The volunteers are dedicated and work exceptionally hard with the children. The children are always excited to see them arrive;, they often run down the corridor to meet them,. They are always enthused by the games and conversations they have. All of the children, over the years, have made progress which I believe has been supported by the volunteers from Hinckley & Rugby Building Society. We, as a school, are immensely grateful for their time and dedication to our children.”’
Since the pandemic hit, the way in which staff support this project has been forced to adapt, as our normal visits to Manorfield were unfortunately out of the question. Therefore, some of our regular volunteers have been active in creating maths challenge videos to pass on to the students of 18 local schools who were learning from home. As schools started to open back up, we took the chance to visit Queensmead Primary Academy in Leicester to award them with their prize for winning one of the challenges we set. We were delighted to hand over a collection of new maths games donated by the Society and certificates for all the students who took part.
Mary Richards, assistant principal at Queensmead Primary Academy, said:
“Year 4 pupils at Queensmead thoroughly enjoyed taking part in the Number Partners Great Pirate Treasure Hunt challenges and, after being announced the lucky winners of the competition, were lucky enough to meet the ‘pirates’ in real life when they were presented with certificates and prizes. Our proud winners cannot wait to try out the new maths games!”
Colleagues from the Society also volunteer time to support other educational projects through Leicestershire Cares. The literacy scheme – Go for Reading, sees the Society provide three members of staff who work one-to to- one on reading skills with pupils at local secondary school, Hinckley Academy. Volunteers also regularly attend secondary schools throughout the county, providing mock interviews for teenagers in readiness for further education or the world of work. These Interview Technique sessions are always enthusiastically delivered by staff who volunteer their time and have been carefully adapted through 2020-21 by Leicestershire Cares to be delivered remotely using live video link.
Carla Loughrey, one of the Society’s Community Champions, said
“When many volunteering activities were forced to be put on hold, being able to maintain our connection with local schools and deliver these sessions remotely was very welcomed. The sessions prove to be incredibly valuable to the young people taking part and I have recruited many new Society volunteers over this period which is fantastic. We look forward to getting back into schools, however we are always keen to offer our support however it can be provided.”
In addition to our regular volunteering, we periodically gather staff from across the Society to take part in a Leicestershire Cares Team Challenge, offering much-needed assistance to charities and community groups with major projects they would otherwise struggle to fund or undertake. These challenges see teams of up to 20 staff working together and are a great way for our people to get to know each other and build on working relationships while doing something positive for their local communities.
Over the years our teams have taken part in challenges at:
- Lutterworth Community Allotments
- Barwell Community House
- Fosse Meadows Nature Reserve near Sapcote
- The Leonard Cheshire Disability Centre in Coalville
- Community garden – A Place to Grow in Enderby
- Mencap in Hinckley
- Sure Start in Hinckley
Penny Tretheway, from Lutterworth Community Allotment, said:
“The team from Hinckley & Rugby Building Society helped us enormously. All the people who came were so cheerful, they worked so hard as a team and were very organised. I would like to thank them, on behalf of Lutterworth Community Allotment, for doing such a wonderful job. They have made our lives so much easier.”
The Society also actively participates in various annual projects run by Leicestershire Cares, such as social challenges, which have seen staff visit care homes to help host activities for residents, festive challenges, which have resulted in staff hosting four festive parties for local charity Mencap and Collect for Christmas campaigns, which brings the focus of giving to those who will benefit the most in our local areas.
Over the years, staff have donated countless gifts for those in need, from household items for formally homeless people to toys for underprivileged children. In December 2020 the collection focused on supporting vulnerable members of our communities or those who have become isolated through lockdown by donating ‘care packages’ to spread a little festive cheer. The Society and staff contributed over £400 to help make packs full of festive treats to be distributed to local people.
Community development coordinator, Leona Harris, from Leicestershire Cares said:
“A massive thank you to the Society for your support. Your donations have helped us create bags of festive goodies for individuals and families who have been affected by the pandemic and find themselves needing to use foodbanks and other charitable services this Christmastime.”
As you can see the Society’s valuable and long-standing relationship with Leicestershire Cares has given Society staff the opportunity to volunteer their time to support many varied community initiatives, and with a focus on seeking out where the need is greatest the charity will no doubt continue to identify new projects in need of our help in the coming years.