Building a national treasure
The Rock Trust aims to prevent youth homelessness and support young people to build better futures. Last year, they received a £50,000 Community Grant from Nationwide’s Community Board in Scotland.
Ally is Head of Services at the Rock Trust.
“When young people leave foster care, they face temporary accommodation and uncertain futures. Our Housing First project helps them break out of that cycle by offering them a permanent place to live, and support to stand on their own two feet. With Nationwide’s help, we’ve doubled the number of young people we can support.”
Hannah is 17 and used to be Scotland’s most reported missing person.
“The Rock Trust stepped in when I most needed it. I used to run away all the time and I didn’t feel like I could trust anyone. Now I’ve got a place to call my own, I’m at college and I don’t drink or do drugs anymore. I feel like this is my home. And I know I have help no matter what.”
Adam (pictured) is one of Hannah’s Rock Trust project workers who supports her day-to-day.
“The biggest change I’ve seen in Hannah is her confidence. She lives on her own, supports herself and has made such a positive change to her life. And Nationwide’s grant is helping us do that for so many others now, too.”
Nationwide Community Grants have been rolled out across the whole of the UK.
“With Nationwide’s help, we’ve doubled the number of young people we can support.”
Building a national treasure is perhaps our most ambitious cornerstone. It’s not about how we see ourselves, but about how others see us: how well we are trusted, recognised as a brand, and seen as a force for good in society.
We’re pleased to be no.1 for trust in our peer group, and joint top for brand consideration1 – a measure of how many consumers would consider Nationwide for their financial needs.
As a building society, we are guided by a social rather than a commercial purpose and aim to make our communities better places to live and work. Last year, we aligned our social investment with our goal of helping people into better homes and now direct most of our community investment into housing initiatives. In the second year of our social investment strategy, built on the idea that everyone should have a place fit to call home, we’ve awarded Community Grants totalling £3.9 million to more than 100 housing-related projects. We’re also working with Swindon Borough Council to develop a multi-generational community of 239 homes.
Financial capability is also important to us. We are funding a £3 million Open Banking for Good challenge, to motivate technology firms to use Open Banking standards to develop apps and services that put people in control of their money.
No.1 for trust
We’re no.1 for trust in our peer group, with a lead over our nearest competitor of 2.3% (March 2018: 1.4%), and we’re joint top for brand consideration. Our trust and brand consideration scores were our highest year-end scores ever2.
Everyone should have a place fit to call home
We continue to take concrete steps to make our communities better places to live and work3.
In 2007 our members voted to commit at least 1% of pre-tax profit to charitable activities each year. In 2018/19, we invested £10.6 million in community projects through the Nationwide Foundation (an independent charity which we fund), our own social investment strategy and a range of local initiatives.
Our social investment is aligned with our founding purpose of helping people into better homes. Since launching our strategy, we’ve established 11 Community Boards covering the whole of the UK, each made up of Nationwide members, colleagues and local housing experts. Each Community Board has the power to award housing-related Community Grants, and local members have the final say over which projects we support.
In the last year, we have made grants totalling £3.9 million to over 100 housing-related charities or projects. Our funding has helped older people live independently for longer in Scotland, supported homeless young people in Gloucestershire to rebuild their lives, and has supported young vulnerable people in Wales through funding for a new helpline.
We have applied for planning permission for our Oakfield development, which will transform a brownfield site creating the start of a community of 239 new homes, including affordable housing. Through the support of a community organiser, local residents have helped shape the plans to foster neighbourliness through shared gardens, extensive places to meet and play, and a community hub. We intend to share what we learn to encourage other responsible businesses to do more as part of our commitment to find local solutions to the national housing shortage.
We are also working with two housing and homelessness charities. We have supported Shelter since 2001, part-funding its national helpline, donating £5 for every new mortgage taken out and supporting its Christmas campaign. We’re also working with St Mungo’s, to provide our branch colleagues with the tools and knowledge they need to provide a compassionate response to rough sleepers locally.
Looking out for tenants
Around one fifth of people in the UK live in privately rented homes and we’re using our expertise and influence to improve the quality of these homes. In 2017, we established a cross-industry Partnership Board made up of organisations and charities representing tenants, landlords and agents. This is now developing a coherent strategy for the sector. It also backed a Private Member’s Bill to let tenants bring claims against landlords for poor quality homes and succeeded in widening access to the rogue landlord database.
Unlocking financial capability
There are around 13 million people in the country who are coping financially, but only just keeping their heads above water. We believe Open Banking could help transform the lives of these people and launched a £3 million Open Banking for Good challenge to the financial technology community to develop apps and other services for them. We received over 50 applications and have shortlisted seven firms who we are working with closely to develop solutions in three areas: helping people understand their income and expenditure; smoothing irregular incomes, for example, in the flexible ‘gig’ economy; and manage their money and debt. Our funding will help bring the most successful solutions to market.