Dig In North

Veterans Dig In to Civilian Life

A graduate of the School for Social Entrepreneurs, supported by Lloyds Bank, is providing support to veterans and the military community through horticultural therapy.

Dig In North West – started in 2012 by Donna Rowe-Green – is a social enterprise based in Preston which helps veterans, military personnel and their families.

They offer support to people suffering from mental health and physical issues, and those finding it difficult to adjust to civilian life.

Social Entrepreneur of the Year 2016 Award

Operating from disused land donated by Preston City Council, the space has been turned into a working garden.

It helps around 30 to 40 people a year through a support network and drop-in sessions five days a week, focusing on practical skills such as gardening, photography, carpentry and stonemasonry.

In 2015, Donna took part in Lloyds Bank and Bank of Scotland Social Entrepreneurs 'Scale Up' programme, delivered in partnership with the School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE) and the Big Lottery Fund. She was one of the five entrepreneurs nominated for the Social Entrepreneur of the Year 2016 award.

Scaling Up

The Scale Up programme is offered to social entrepreneurs whose social businesses are already up and running but need additional support. Each receive £15,000, as well as the additional business support and mentoring. Dig In employs seven full time staff – six of whom are ex-veterans in recovery. The £15,000 grant was spent on recruiting a much-needed office manager, who is also the wife of a veteran.

As well as funding, Donna also received mentoring support from former colleague Andrew Charles, who recently left Lloyds Bank but continues to mentor Donna.

"We hired an office manager who took on all the work I was struggling to keep up with as we grew so quickly. I’d gone from being the person who sowed the seeds, dug up the potatoes and did the funding bids. I found myself with staff to manage as well activities, and I couldn’t do everything myself.”

Donna Rowe-Green, Dig In North, Founder

Supporting Veterans

Dig In has been a lifeline for one 52-year-old veteran: “You are able to let your guard down and be part of something special. It is a place to feel safe and be amongst those who are able to lend an arm if you fall down or fall behind - never leave a man behind, everyone is equal here.”

Supporting Veterans

Helping People Prosper

People across Britain are facing significant challenges. We’re helping to address them through our Helping Britain Prosper Plan. We believe no other bank is better placed to do this. We already serve approximately 25 million customers and 1 million small businesses but we want to be more than a bank. We want to go beyond business as usual and help address systemic social and economic challenges such as Britain’s housing shortage, the skills gap in key industries, social mobility and social disadvantage.

In 2016 we achieved 6 of our 9 people targets:

- Providing 1 in 4 of all new build mortgages.

- Receiving more than 280,000 customer visits to our Retirement Planning website.

- Meeting engagement targets for our Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic and Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual colleagues, helping to build a diverse and inclusive business.

- Continuing to make progress against our target that 40%