Business Charity Awards 2016: Employee Engagement Initiative of the Year - Yorkshire Building Society for Corporate Volunteering Programme

For a company that has adopted policies that have resulted in a significant increase in charitable donations or activities by its workforce

Volunteering participation by building society staff has risen significantly
Volunteering participation by building society staff has risen significantly

What was the scheme?

Yorkshire Building Society relaunched its corporate volunteering programme in 2015. The scheme more than doubled the number of paid volunteering hours available to every member of staff, from 14 to up to 31.

How has it helped communities?

The company encourages employees to use this allowance with seven skills-based volunteering programmes. These include a partnership with Southfield Grange Trust, which oversees the running of a secondary school and a special needs school. Volunteers have taken part in activities such as employability workshops, interview practice, mentoring, careers fairs and debating challenges.

Others give their time to the charity partner Marie Curie, act as school governors, or mentor undergraduates at Leeds Business School. Charity Silver Line has matched 25 volunteers for weekly phone chats with older people, and is recruiting 25 more.

Why did it win?

Since the launch of the increased allowance, volunteering participation has risen significantly, with 11,800 hours of volunteering time donated in 2015, compared with 10,000 in 2014. More than 35 per cent of employees participated in the programme, compared with 25 per cent in 2014. Staff said participation had helped them develop their skills, with 85 per cent claiming the experience helped them with teamwork and relationship-building.

Finalists

- Arthouse with Rossendale Hospice

- Berkeley Group with Berkeley Foundation

- Costain with British Heart Foundation, Macmillan, the Prince's Trust and Samaritans

- Ecclesiastical Insurance with various charities

- Royal Mail with Stroke Association

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