Focused on our community
OneSavings Bank is proud of its strong links with the local community, especially through the Kent Reliance brand which has been synonymous with the county of Kent and a passionate supporter of its local community for over 150 years.
As one of the largest employers in the region, many of our employees live locally and therefore have a personal affinity with local causes and projects. Employees’ views are actively sought in helping to decide where our support is best placed and feedback is shared throughout the business to boost active participation. Our community strategy is built primarily around three key pillars consisting of volunteering, fundraising and community investment, all of which provide a platform for OneSavings Bank to share its vision and values.
In 2018, we implemented a revised community services programme that enabled employees to have a greater influence on the charities that matter to them. We continue to encourage an active “hands on” approach through fundraising and volunteering opportunities. Our volunteering activities have encouraged our employees to use their “Day to make a difference”. This is a paid day, available to all employees, to help support any registered charity or community group. For example, the annual community based campaign, “Project Kent”, that Kent Reliance runs alongside the radio station kmfm, incorporates a whole week of volunteering opportunities for employees. Furthermore, if employees choose to undertake additional fundraising activities, the Bank will match any funds raised up to a specific amount.
During 2018, employees chose to support a variety of charities through their volunteering day, which included working at the central sorting warehouse for Demelza Children’s Hospice, painting and decorating offices for the Young Lives Foundation as part of Project Kent and getting their hands dirty for a local Medway-based charity allotment scheme helping local school children to grow fruit and vegetables over the school holidays to tackle holiday hunger.
Overall, the Bank has contributed a total of £260,000 to community and charitable causes in 2018 through charity fundraisers, donations and additional support.
Demelza is a children’s hospice charity in the South East, providing compassionate and expert care for babies, children, young people and their families. As a registered charity, Demelza offers bespoke support, free of charge, to families and is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. In order to provide these vital services, it needs to raise over £10m a year.
In 2018, Kent Reliance branches continued to support Demelza as their local charity partner and marked the occasion with the launch of a dedicated Demelza Children’s Account, whereby the charity receives an annual donation equivalent to an agreed percentage of the combined funds held across the associated accounts at the end of the year.
In 2018, £4,151 was raised primarily through the Kent Reliance branches and the annual charity donation arising from the Demelza Children’s Account.
During 2018, 53 employees from across OneSavings Bank volunteered their time in the Demelza Warehouse, Maidstone, providing much needed additional support as the centre filters approximately five million items per year with most of this work supported by volunteers. Kent Reliance also takes huge pride in raising money for Demelza through a range of annual fundraising events such as teddy bear picnics, bake sales and Halloween themed events.
Aside from straightforward fundraising, the branches also engage with the local community by offering the branch network as collection and promotion outlets for the charity.
During 2018, the Bank continued to support its nominated national charity, Winston’s Wish, the first charity to establish child bereavement support services across the UK. Winston’s Wish provides specialist support programmes for children affected by deaths related to homicide and suicide, as well as for military families who have been bereaved.
The end of 2018 marked the end of its two year partnership but there was a silver lining as, in total, the Bank managed to raise over £26,000 for Winston’s Wish, which included the sponsorship of their national support helpline on Christmas Eve.
Kent Reliance’s Project Kent rolled into its second year, in partnership with the KM Media Group and led by its radio station kmfm. This community initiative was powered by nominations from local people who were asked to nominate a local charity or group which benefits the local community. The campaign was promoted via the Kent Reliance branches and nominations reached over 130 this year, a big increase on the previous year, as the annual project becomes more established. Following a lengthy judging process, “The Young Lives Foundation” was selected; a Maidstone based charity that helps improve the lives of disadvantaged young people across Kent. Their offices and meeting rooms were in a poor decorative state meaning they were not being used to their full potential.
A team of 50 OSB volunteers helped transform the downstairs area into a warm and friendly environment which included new display areas and new furniture, which resulted in an amazing transformation for its staff and young visitors.
Through the associated profile raising activity, the charity also benefited from a ripple effect with offers of additional fundraising, recruiting staff as adult mentors and increased awareness throughout the county that resulted in further offers of help from other local businesses.
The Make Someone’s Christmas campaign encourages listeners and readers of kmfm and the KM Media Group, and customers of Kent Reliance branches, to nominate those people they feel deserve an extra special treat during the festive season.
The 2018 campaign was very successful and achieved over 500 nominations which led to us helping ten special people in Kent in a variety of ways to ensure they enjoyed Christmas this year. As always, it was an extremely hard decision for the judging panel but the selected nominations really stood out.
The selected nominees included treating a special young person who made great efforts to look after the health of his eight year old best friend, by missing out on break times and calling for adult help if needed, a young carer who never put herself first and was trying to write her first book using an old typewriter which we swapped for a new laptop, and a young mum diagnosed with cancer who wanted to treat her family to a day out to thank them for their support. Each of the selected nominees was announced live on the radio during a two-week period and received a variety of prizes ranging from high street vouchers to a weekend away.
Corporate social responsibility (‘CSR’) is extremely important to OSBI. The concept of helping society is embedded in its corporate governance structure through the CSR policy and also through employee engagement.
As part of the OSBI CSR policy, funds are kept aside each year to spend on social causes. This is governed by a CSR Committee and implemented by the Corporate and Social Responsibility Group. The focus is to help and contribute in areas where there is critical need and within the office locality so they are also able to contribute their time.
In 2018, the CSR Group agreed to support the areas of child welfare, education and healthcare.
Child welfare and education
OSBI has partnered with the SOS Children’s Village, located in Bangalore, to fund education, food, clothing and housing for 20 orphans. Working together with SOS, OSBI employees helped to provide support for the holistic development of orphans, women and children belonging to vulnerable families. OSBI also hosted a couple of events at SOS for their staff to engage with the children, which was highly appreciated by both children and the employees.
OSBI is currently supporting HBS Hospital to provide dialysis sessions to 20 individuals who live below the poverty line. HBS Hospital is a non-profit hospital which provides critical healthcare to members of society who could otherwise not afford the care they need.
OSBI continued its support in maintaining the gardens at CV Raman General Hospital for the second year. Hospital staff and patients have appreciated the positive impact such a space has had on patients, their relatives and the hospital staff.
Looking forward to 2019
By partnering with national and local charities, we hope to offer employees the chance to make a difference both nationwide and closer to home. By focusing our efforts on our nominated charities, we hope to make a meaningful impact to our chosen charities, and to the lives of those that the charities help.
The OSB 2019 national charity partner, chosen by employees is My Shining Star: Children’s Cancer Charity. This charity supports families through the financial hardship associated with childhood cancer.
Around 1,600 children are diagnosed with cancer in the UK every year. That means 1 in 500 children across the UK are diagnosed with cancer before they turn 14. Families spend an extra £600 per month, on average, during their child’s cancer treatment (mainly for transport, food and accommodation) and many fall into debt as a result, or families become separated as siblings of the child are left at home. To learn more about My Shining Star, the services it provides, and the families it supports, visit its website: https://www.myshiningstaruk.co.uk/