Business Charity Awards: Charity Partnership: Long-term (by finance or professional companies) - Winner: BNY Mellon and Community Links

Awarded to the best partnership between a finance or professional company and a charity or charities that has lasted or will last more than a year and a half

BNY Mellon and Community Links
BNY Mellon and Community Links

Barclays and Unicef UK
Nomura and Teenage Cancer Trust

First Direct and ChildLine
Lloyds Banking Group and Opportunity International
Royal Bank of Scotland and the Prince's Trust

BNY Mellon and Community Links

When a team of five BNY Mellon volunteers spent a day at a Community Links youth centre painting a mural in 2006, it sparked the beginning of a partnership between the two.

The charity was adopted as the investment company's lead community partner two years later, and in 2010 they combined to launch Future Links, a project that helps disadvantaged young people to find employment. It is set to continue in future.

Community Links works closely with so-called Neet young people - those not in education, employment or training. The launch of Future Links followed a report by the charity into employability that found young people responded positively to intensive, targeted, professional support.

Future Links began with the company running a drop-in centre at a recruitment day for the project, at which young people were offered advice on writing their CVs. This was followed by three Future Links business workshops, hosted at BNY Mellon's offices, where 66 of its staff provided one-to-one employability skills support sessions to young people. BNY Mellon also donated 30 laptops to the project.

The results were so positive that two programmes were added in April and July. One participant commented: "Future Links opened up so many doors for me. I feel like I've achieved more in the past two months than I did in the past six years at school."

Of the 44 Neet young people who took part in the Future Links programme, four are now in employment, six are in training, 16 are in further education, four are volunteering and nine remain Neet but are making positive efforts. After visiting the company, one participant was invited back as an intern with BNY Mellon and is now studying business finance at Tower Hamlets College.

The success of the project led BNY Mellon to spend £80,000 to run four Future Links programmes in 2011 and make a commitment of funding for 2012. The value of its contributions so far is £362,390.

Graduation events for the Future Links programmes are held at BNY Mellon offices and all alumni of the project receive certificates and record-of-achievement folders to mark their accomplishments.

As further encouragement, the chief executive of the company's depositary receipts business sends congratulatory letters to all graduates of Future Links who gain employment.

One of the judges in this category, Tom Levitt, sector consultant and former MP, said: "BNY Mellon and Community Links have a partnership that is comprehensive, strategic, inclusive and progressive."

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