Page 4: Community partnerships
To enable staff to make effective contributions to the community Abbey National has set out to support them in these ways:
- matched donations of cash to support individual and team charity fund-raising activity
- developing company-led initiatives, such as the Helping Hands Community Partnership Programme, which gives Abbey National employees new opportunities to get involved
- availability of small community grants to help teams of staff meet the costs of practical community projects
- availability of limited special leave which will allow individuals to carry out volunteer and community work during working hours
- providing access to public relations materials and other practical forms of support to help them gain publicity for their efforts and build support.
The best way of illustrating Abbey National’s community involvement is to set out practical examples in the key fields of disability, education and employment.
The Abbey National Helping Hands programme aims to support the Company’s overall community relations through involvement with primary schools. The programme aims to raise children’s awareness of their immediate environment and to develop partnerships with others in the community. Helping Hands deals with real issues for children, such as making the most of limited school resources, making the community safe, or reaching out to disabled people. The rationale behind the programme is that it is important for today’s children to become tomorrow’s active citizens, understanding and protecting their own environment.
Schools that choose to participate in Helping Hands receive a comprehensive educational pack which includes activities encouraging pupils to observe, measure and assess various environmental elements in the school and nearby area. All the activities support learning based on the National Curriculum and the Environmental Studies 5-14 curriculum in Scotland. Pupils are also asked to make a proposal to improve an aspect of the school or its local community. They submit their ideas to Abbey National to be eligible for regional and national awards.
Abbey National staff get involved by helping their local school find community partners to assist in implementing the school’s ideas, which could be anything from setting up a paper recycling programme to building a ramp for disabled access to the school, or tidying up a local park.