We are delighted to launch a Cost of Living Support scheme, which will include financial donations to organisations delivering vital services to people affected by rising living costs in our branch counties of Berkshire, Hampshire, and Oxfordshire.
We have highlighted five key areas where people are likely to be the most in need of help: debt, energy, transport, food, and mental wellbeing. After identifying relevant organisations in our ten branch towns, charities were invited to apply for financial support.
We have made donations of between £1,000 and £9,000 to over 25 charities and community organisations, who will use the support for a variety of activities. These include emergency food packs and energy top-ups for families in food poverty, help towards fuel costs for volunteer drivers to take elderly people to appointments, training volunteers, and assistance with running costs so charities can continue to operate in the communities they are supporting.
Eight Bells for Mental Health, who provide mental health support to adults throughout West Berkshire, received a total donation of £6,782 to cover rent and training costs. Andrea Barrett from the charity commented:
"Newbury Building Society’s generous donation will make a huge difference to our members by providing them with certainty about the future of the sessions they attend to sustain and improve their mental wellbeing. It provides them with a safe space with friends who understand what it is like to experience mental ill health on a day-to-day basis.
The donation will also go towards training members to carry out much needed fundraising activities like coffee mornings which they enjoy organising and hosting. Food hygiene training will allow us to reintroduce hot meals cooked by the members for members which can often be the only hot meal some people have.
On behalf of the charity, trustees, members and clients, we’d like to extend our sincere thanks to Newbury for their support of our charity and the work we do to help mental health and wellbeing.”
The initiative also encompasses an online hub on our website, where our members and local people can find guidance on saving energy, accessing debt support, cutting down on food costs and more.
We feel extremely fortunate to be in a position to help the communities in our branch towns in such a significant way. We know many of our members will be worried about the impact of rising prices on their day-to-day lives, and as a mutual, it is right that we do everything we can to ease the hardship of our members and support our local communities. We hope the donations we are making, as well as the guidance, signposting, and advice we have put on our online hub will help to ease a little bit of the strain people are facing.
Find out more about the initiative, and access support and guidance, on the Cost of Living Support hub.