Connecting the dots

Combatting deprivation

Southampton is a thriving port town but there are also high levels of deprivation in some areas.

Despite the cities overall prosperity there are pockets of multiple deprivations where residents suffer from poor health, low qualifications, unemployment and higher crime rates.

Education, Crime, Health, Income and Employment are seen as some of the most challenging areas for the City.

There are around 500 community, charity and voluntary organisations working in Southampton to tackle some of the major issues. These organisations often work independently and without any real engagement with other 'Third Sector' organisations or the Business community. By placing a Business Connector in the City to specifically look at building new relationships that didn’t exist before new skills, ideas and energy can be brought to bear on some of the more urgent causes and issues.

Community minded

Branch manager David Farmer has worked at Halifax for 40 years and always played an active part in his local community.

As a community ambassador he implemented an external focus in the Dorset area that connected Halifax bank colleagues with community groups through a number of events and initiatives. This ranged from events that brought communities together like The Big Lunch,  to  fundraising activities in branch to support local causes.

He’s also a mentor for the Lloyds Bank Social Entrepreneurs Programme, providing advice and encouragement to  a Community Café in Worthing and a Furniture recycling hub to support homeless individuals in Southampton.

From these roles, David had a real insight in to needs of his local community, and how he could bring together local businesses and the charity sector to combat the social challenges he’d observed.

As a Business Connector, David was seconded to his local community for a year to use his business skills and contacts to bring change to his community.

David couldn’t wait to start his new role: “To be a representative of Lloyds Banking Group working for BITC and to be a part of the wonderful work they do to bring business and community together was an exciting prospect.”

I had found my work as a community ambassador thoroughly rewarding and I really enjoyed the opportunity to support local colleagues within the bank to help local causes. To be given the opportunity, however, to focus on this activity full time as a Business Connector with Business In the Community for a year was a fantastic privilege.

David Farmer, Business Connector, Lloyds Banking Group

Boosting telephony skills

After speaking with the Chief Executive of the Citizens Advice Bureau for Hampshire, he identified a need for the organisation to improve the skills of its many volunteers.

A high volume of incoming calls are received by each CAB office and the Chief Executive wanted to support his volunteers to enable them to deliver the highest possible service and support.

He arranged a bespoke training event at the local Lloyds Banking Group Contact Centre in Solent. Colleagues there trained the volunteers to improve their telephony skills, enabling them to help local people more effectively, as well as boosting their confidence and enthusiasm.

Digitally savvy

David discovered that many community organisations lacked digital skills to run a website or use social media. Together with the City Council, he piloted a scheme that saw a local IT business share their digital expertise with local charity and volunteer organisations.

Over 6 half day sessions, the local IT business trained  20 charities  across a range of digital skills including building websites, setting up emailing lists and using twitter to communicate with stakeholders.

Around 200 individuals had applied for this bespoke training and following the pilot the intention is to roll out across community groups throughout 2016.

The training was invaluable and delivered in a really easy to understand way. The organisations that attended the training all agreed that it has helped them to create a website for the first time to promote their causes.

Debbie Collis, Community Development Worker, Southampton City Council

Digitally savvy

Helping Britain prosper

Business Connectors work in partnership with Business in the Community to help bring together good causes, local authorities and businesses to deliver projects and activities which have a direct, positive and lasting impact in the community. As part of the Group’s ambition to Help Britain Prosper, Lloyds Banking Group has committed to second Business Connectors into some of the most deprived communities around the UK.

As of January 2016, we’ve so far committed the equivalent of 63 full time staff into local communities. In addition, they have brought an additional 6,000 colleague volunteering hours in to their projects. As a result of these colleagues’ efforts, they have made 2,382 local connections and have leveraged  £4.1m worth of value for local communities.

As one of the headline sponsors for the BITC Business Connectors programme, Lloyds Banking Group has been delighted to second 63 full time staff into some of the most deprived communities around the UK, who have, between them, then leveraged over £4.1m worth of value for community organisations and individuals. What a fantastic tangible demonstration of Helping Britain Prosper!

Paula Rogers, Business Connectors and Social Entrepreneurs Programme Lead, Lloyds Banking Group

Footnotes
  1. Southampton City Strategy 2015-2025

  2. Southampton Voluntary Services

  3. Hampshire Citizens Advice Bureau