To help our communities prosper, the Group engages with and supports people across both the UK and India by taking part in a variety of charitable events and partnerships.
Despite the pandemic, in 2020 we donated over £10,800 to causes via our Community and Good Causes funds, almost £10,000 to charities through fund-matching and we raised nearly £12,000 for our charity partners. OSB India also supported its local community in Bangalore by participating in charitable causes and programmes that required critical assistance.
As well as encouraging fundraising and volunteering, we also offer financial support for causes close to our employees’ hearts through our Community Fund and Good Causes Fund initiatives.
Our criteria for grants has now been broadened, meaning employees can apply for funding on behalf of a registered charity or community project, even if they’re not actively involved with the fundraiser. Donations in 2020 totalled over £10,800 and we’re hoping for even more in the future as the scheme popularity grows.
We also allow every employee a volunteering day each year to work for a local charity or organisation of their choice.
We help our local communities in a variety of ways, here are just some of the recent initiatives we’ve been involved in.
We donated £5,000 to Sun Pier House CIC, which provides a base for a community of artists and creative businesses. The donation helped towards improving the appearance of the Sun Wharf site, which will support the charity and Medway Council in their 2025 City of Culture bid.
Our support provides over 100 hours of rugby-based learning activities for children in local schools, as well as supporting the Coventry Rugby Foundation. We also donated £1,000 towards the club’s Project:500 commitment to use rugby to drive positive engagement for children living in poverty, and we support Feed:500, where families of nominated children from disadvantaged households receive food packages filled with fresh fruit, vegetables and protein during the festive period, with a three-day activity camp in between.
We provided financial support to a school that enrols children from less privileged backgrounds, which needed to develop an old hall into a reading area for children.
We have a long-standing relationship with the club, which is a community-based, grassroots club serving both male and female teams from the age of six upwards.
Our support has meant people of all ages were able to come together, share talents, learn new skills and strengthen community bonds.
We answered a public appeal and funded the purchase of a defibrillator machine, which will benefit players and supporters both home and away across their different teams as well as other teams that use this venue.
As well as our local causes, here are some examples of national initiatives we’ve supported:
In 2020 we partnered with My Shining Star, a charity that supports families through the financial hardship associated with childhood cancer. We organised Group-wide fundraisers, employees took part in virtual marathons and we held a successful Christmas appeal to purchase 30 luxury hampers for families whose children were undergoing treatment over Christmas 2020.
Although our partnership with My Shining Star came to an end in 2020, we’re proud to have donated £34,600 altogether during our two years supporting them.
Shocked at the plight of the homeless people he saw living rough on the streets of Birmingham while working as a policeman, Ian Northcott founded Socks & Chocs in 2010, initially handing out socks and chocolates at shelters across the city.
Since then Socks & Chocs has become a national charity, relieving hardship and distress among homeless people and those in need who are living in adverse housing conditions.
Socks & Chocs was our chosen charity partner from 2017-2020 and altogether we raised more than £150,000.
We engaged employees in the process of selecting our first UK Group-wide charity partner for 2021.
With 53% of the vote, CALM was chosen. CALM campaign to raise awareness of mental health issues to create social change, encouraging people to talk about mental health and to seek help when they need it.
They are also a leading movement against suicide. Every week 125 people in the UK take their own lives. They provide frontline services for those struggling through their free, anonymous helpline and webchat service every day from 5pm to midnight.
We’re excited to start our new partnership with CALM as the charity’s mission aligns to the Group’s focus on supporting wellbeing, both for ourselves and for our more vulnerable customers.
In 2020, Board members strongly felt they wanted to give something back, they therefore decided to forgo their cash bonus.
As we’re a business that provides finance for homes, they were keen to help those struggling to put a roof over their heads, a situation made worse by the pandemic.
The following charities were eventually selected:
Our locations in Wolverhampton, Kent, Fareham and Fleet have a charity champion whereby we’re able to ensure that the views of each location are represented when local charity partners are voted for and agreed. Our charity champions have been instrumental in helping support many causes.
Kent Reliance branches continue to support Demelza as their local charity partner. Fundraising is carried out through branches where possible and we offer customers the 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 2020, we raised £12,000 in total.
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is extremely important to OSB India. The concept of helping society is embedded in its corporate governance structure through their CSR policy and also through employee engagement.
As part of the OSB India CSR policy, funds are set 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 that employees are also able to contribute their time.
In 2020, the CSR Group continued to support the areas of child welfare, education and healthcare.
OSB India has partnered with SOS Children’s Village, located in Bangalore, to provide support for the holistic development of orphans, women and children belonging to vulnerable families. OSB India also hosted some events at SOS for employees to engage with the children, which was highly appreciated by both the children and employees.
OSB India is currently supporting the non-profit HBS Hospital to provide dialysis sessions to 40 individuals who live below the poverty line. OSB India has also contributed two dialysis machines which can provide over 11,000 dialysis sessions over a period of five years.
While COVID-19 meant many activities and events were postponed or cancelled and we couldn’t fundraise in the way we would have liked, it meant communicating with our colleagues in other ways, and finding alternative routes to support our local and national communities.
We’ve been working on bringing the best of our community activities across both Banks together and have developed a harmonised Group community strategy, which is now in place.
By combining our community efforts, we hope to continue to support our employees in fulfilling their passion to support causes that are close to their hearts and to support the Group’s desire to give back to those who need it most.