Nationwide supports BITC's call for businesses to step up and work together

23 February 2012

With youth unemployment rising in the UK and following today's Business in the Community (BITC) Community Summit, Nationwide Building Society has welcomed the debate led by HRH The Prince of Wales to address the social and economic challenges in local communities and, in support of BITC, is calling on more businesses to help tackle these issues, particularly unemployment, financial literacy and homelessness for current and future generations.

The Community Summit was held in London today and attended by HRH The Prince of Wales, President of BITC, and Prime Minister David Cameron, along with around 400 senior business leaders. The aim was to address the social and economic challenges in our communities by calling on businesses to work together to tackle some of the UK's most pressing social issues, including youth unemployment and homelessness. HRH The Prince of Wales stated that "Business and the private sector have proved that they have the most enormous value to bring [to society]" and Nationwide Building Society welcomes the recognition of this value and urges other organisations to demonstrate this.

Jayanti Durai, Head of Corporate Responsibility at Nationwide Building Society, who attended the Business Summit, said: "Young people in the UK today are facing many challenges and we all need to get stuck in and create more opportunities, particularly for those from disadvantaged backgrounds where advice and guidance might not be readily available. At Nationwide we take a proactive and preventative approach to dealing with social issues including financial education and homelessness. Nationwide is committed to making a difference by investing in building young people's skills, through, partnering with the housing and homelessness charity Shelter, and through offering practical work experience placements.

"We are increasing knowledge levels, support and accessibility through our range of programmes and believe it is more important than ever to provide young people with the information and tools they need to handle their finances, secure employment and navigate the housing market with their eyes open."

Nationwide, which achieved the prestigious BITC CommunityMark for excellence in community investment in December 2011, is helping young people better understand the financial and societal aspects of becoming more independent through a number of measures which include:

  • The launch of a series of short animated films to help young people learn about the basics of money.
  • Provision of funding for the 'Shelter Classroom Kit' which provides resources aimed to equip young people with basic life skills to manage money, understand homelessness and navigate the housing market.
  • The introduction of an employability module on the award winning Nationwide Education website designed to help young people broaden their horizons and gain confidence in the workplace from an early age.
  • Partnerships with local secondary schools where Nationwide Building society volunteers will deliver modules from Nationwide Education in a fun and engaging way
  • Development of a range of practical employment opportunities (due to commence summer, 2012) which will include: 9-18 month apprenticeships; industrial placements; summer internships and formalised school work-experience placements.
  • Commitment to support local colleges with mentoring schemes.
  • Development of a range of impartial housing guides including an award winning First Time Buyers guide which enables people to make informed choices when making decisions about their housing needs.
  • Funding of a BTEC qualification in Money and Finance Skills, available to 14-19 year olds via EdExcel which helps to boost their CVs as well as core life skills.

Notes to editors:

Nationwide Building Society is the world's largest building society, the UK's second largest savings provider and third largest mortgage lender. It is also a major provider of current accounts, credit cards and personal loans.

With around 16 million members, Nationwide has a relationship with almost a quarter of the UK population. In the first half of 2010/2011 alone we helped 10,000 people buy their first home.

Since the credit crunch began in 2007, Nationwide has remained profitable against a very difficult economic environment. In the year 2010/11 Nationwide made a strong underlying profit of £276 million – up 30% from the previous year.

Our strong financial performance and prudent business model meant that Nationwide was included in Global Finance magazine's Top 50 Safest Banks in the World, one of only three UK institutions in the Top 50.

Nationwide Education

Nationwide believes that financial awareness is essential for young people and in 2008 it created Nationwide Education, an award winning website to provide parents and teachers with a range of interactive tools to help teach 4 to 19 year olds about money and finances. Its financial capability programmes are the only free online educational curricula-linked resource developed to cover the full primary and secondary age ranges. The resources are linked to all UK curricula for teaching personal finance including the latest governmental guidance from the Department of Education (DfE) and the Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE): Economic Wellbeing and Personal Finance curriculum.

The Nationwide Education website has received over 27million hits and downloads since its launch in September 2007.

About the CommunityMark award

1. CommunityMark is the UK's only national standard that publicly recognises excellence in community investment, developed by Business in the Community (BITC)

2. The Impact of all CommunityMark companies in the past four years amounts to:

  • Collectively invested £746,819,977 in their communities
  • Engaged almost 13% of their employees, investing over £39.5 million of employee time
  • Worked with almost 300 community partners
  • Supported over 6.5 million school children in over 52,000 schools

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