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 on 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 sense and it was indeed a perfect fit.
One of the first 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 one to one or in small groups of pupils and, recently, were delighted to receive the award for Outstanding Contribution to Number Partners at the 2019 Leicestershire Cares Awards!
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. The children are always enthused by the games and conversations they have. The volunteers remember personal or school events that happen with the children and follow up the following week showing a real interest in the children. They also ask how to support the children academically and socially. All of the children, over the several years, have made progress which I believe has been supported by the volunteers. We, as a school, are immensely grateful for their time and dedication to our children.’
The Society was also awarded Leicestershire Cares’ Outstanding Contribution to Education award thanks to our on-going support of education projects. One such project is Go for Reading, which sees the Society provide two members of staff who work one to one on reading skills with pupils at local secondary school, Hinckley Academy. We also regularly send volunteers to help in local secondary schools, providing mock interviews for teenagers in readiness for further education or the world of work. These Interview Technique sessions are always enthusiastically delivered by the staff who volunteer their time.
In addition to regular volunteering, once a year a team of up to 20 staff are given time off from their usual duties to take part in a Cares Team Challenge, offering much-needed assistance to charities and community groups with major projects that they would otherwise struggle to fund or undertake.
2018 saw a group of 12 volunteers spend a day working at Lutterworth Community Allotments. The Society’s volunteers were led by business development office manager Evan Crosskey as they weeded, dug in manure, built a raised bed, tidied up a seating area, cleared hardcore waste and built a new path.
“It was a thoroughly enjoyable day made successful by a great team spirit amongst colleagues unified by a worthy cause. With limited experience of cultivating or landscaping, it was brilliant to see individuals demonstrating skills they didn’t realise they had.”
The allotments’ own volunteers grow fruit and vegetables to share or pass on to the community. Their plot has also been used as a site for young or disadvantaged people to learn building, gardening and growing skills.
Penny Tretheway, from Lutterworth Community Allotment, said:
“The team from Hinckley & Rugby 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 the Lutterworth Community Allotment, for doing such a wonderful job. They have made our lives so much easier.”
The first Challenge saw Society staff redecorate at Mencap in Hinckley, giving the tired interior of its community hall a complete refresh. Staff completed a similar job for the disabled residents at a Leonard Cheshire Disability home in Coalville the following year.
To help mark the Society’s 150th Anniversary in 2015 the challenge chosen was a bigger one, with over 20 staff spending three full days transforming the garden at Barwell Community House.
The centre works with local residents and young people in an area previously blighted by anti-social behaviour, encouraging them to become involved in community projects and activities. The community house is used by a wide variety of users, from mother and toddler groups to local pensioners.
Carla Loughrey, who co-ordinates the Society’s Leicestershire Cares activities, said:
“All team challenges are met with such enthusiasm, however it really pushes the volunteers out of their comfort zone and tests their abilities. The team spirit on these days is fantastic and give staff from all over the Society an opportunity to work together and make a difference for others – what could be better?”
The Society also participates actively in the other annual projects run by Leicestershire Cares, such as Festive Challenges and Collect for Christmas Campaigns.
The Collect for Christmas Campaign facilitates the donation of countless toys and home starter packs to those who otherwise would not be able to enjoy the type of festive period most people take for granted.
The most recent campaign in December 2019 saw staff donate 18 starter packs of useful everyday items to help local homeless families when they move into a new home.
Alongside its staff members’ donations Hinckley & Rugby Building Society contributed £250 to buy some of the items on the appeal wish list.
Assistant marketing & PR manager Carla Loughrey, who co-ordinated Hinckley & Rugby’s Collect for Christmas campaign, said:
“Everyone has been so generous, and we hope the starter packs will help people and families to feel at home in their new surroundings.
“The items may seem very ordinary to people who have not faced homelessness, but they will be keeping people warm, clean and fed as they settle in.”
The Society’s increasing involvement with the many projects outlined here was rewarded in May 2015 when it was named Leicestershire Cares’ Company of the Year.
And again in May 2019 when we were awarded the Leicestershire Cares’ Outstanding Contribution to Education and Outstanding Contribution to Number Partners awards!