At Provident Financial Group we serve customers in so many communities across the UK and Ireland, we believe we have a duty to be a model corporate citizen and a positive force in people’s lives. We do this by addressing the issues that affect the communities we serve, as well as the wider issues that are material to our business activities.
The majority of our community investment activities are delivered through our Good Neighbour programme. We identify and support projects in the communities where our offices and employees are based to address issues that are relevant to the needs of those communities.
At the end of 2014, we had 48 funding partnerships in place through our Good Neighbour and Active Community programmes. Here are just a couple of examples of the projects we’re helping to support:
Young Kent (a Vanquis Bank Active Community Programme partner)
Young Kent offers support programmes for disadvantaged, disengaged or disabled young people aged 8 to 25 from across Kent.
One aspect of Vanquis Bank’s work with the charity supports the ‘How to Save a Life’ programme. This programme provides approximately 40 unemployed young people from disadvantaged backgrounds first aid and emergency lifesaving skills through a partnership with the British Red Cross. The programme increases confidence, skills and qualifications whilst also providing valuable work experience. A key element of the programme is that participants are trained to become first aid Peer Educators. Once qualified, Peer Educators practise their new skills during work experience, delivering first aid training to other young people across Kent.
Vanquis Bank also supports Young Kent’s Job Club, which provides support for unemployed young people from across the county. Job Club sessions provide one-to-one support with subjects such as CV writing, interview skills, job searching and completing job applications. The support of Vanquis Bank has also allowed Young Kent to purchase the IT equipment necessary to run the club.
United Estates of Wythenshawe (a Good Neighbour partner)
The United Estates of Wythenshawe was established in 1996 by a group of Wythenshawe families and local community leaders who were concerned by increasing instances of anti-social behaviour and the growing destructive influence of youth street-gang culture, coupled with the desire to prevent a local landmark building closing its doors for good. The project worked first with hardto- reach young people ‘not in education, employment or training’ (NEETS) and is now open to the whole community. Still under the management of local people, the organisation is able to provide activities suitable for the very young through to the elderly, based on their needs. Their approach has meant they have been able to create a route away from anti-social behaviour, leading to social
responsibility for young people and beneficial results for the whole community.
Our three-year funding pays for the post of the centre manager, as well as the building of a new outdoor gym. In addition, a group of families were able to benefit from a trip to Stirling, which we organised through our funding partnership with the Scottish Youth Hostel Association. The visit gave the families an opportunity to bond; for most of the children, this was their first holiday and for many, their first family outing.
Solas Project, Dublin
When we first started working with Solas Project it was an after-school intervention project located in the Basin Lane flats, Dublin. At the time, the project supported around 12 primary school-aged girls who had challenging home situations. Solas offered the girls a safe place to go after-school, provided them with a healthy meal each evening, gave them help with their homework and the chance to make new friends and take part in after-school activities. Funding was provided to help expand the number of places available at the centre and, with our support, the organisation has continued to grow, now working with over 200 young people every week.
Since then the project has gone from having one after-school programme with one full-time and one part-time employee and five volunteers, to becoming a charity with seven programmes made up of three education projects and four sports projects, two full-time and two part-time employees and over 40 volunteers (including local Provident colleagues). Through our partnership with An-Oige, the Irish Youth Hostel Association, we’ve also been able to provide residential breaks for some of the children.
“It’s such a great encouragement to have Provident’s support. We are very motivated to grow and expand our programmes in both width and depth as we tackle the very serious issue of early school leaving and youth crime in Dublin’s inner city. Provident’s support will allow us the opportunity to do this.” Graham Jones, Managing Partner – Solas