11 November 2015

Supporting Macmillan Cancer Support

3 minute read

  • People with cancer have financial issues regarding mortgages, rents and insurances
  • We worked with Macmillan to set up specialist centres to resolve these issues
  • We raised over £150,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support through our recent cream tea party

Nationwide have supported Macmillan Cancer Support for 22 years, raising over £7.1m. That’s one of the longest standing partnerships between a corporate and a charity and is a stunning achievement in a world where many charity fundraising relationships are changed every year. It reflects the way in which Nationwide takes the long view, doing the right thing not just today but for the future.

When I joined Nationwide in 2012, it was two weeks before the annual Macmillan Coffee Morning. I was bowled over by the enthusiasm and energy shown by Nationwide’s employees and members in fundraising for this good cause. Yet despite all this engagement and generosity, I felt that something was missing. Corporate citizenship isn’t just about volunteering and fundraising, it’s about reflecting the needs of people and communities in the way you do business.

We already worked with Shelter, on housing advice services and the private rented sector, could we do something with Macmillan? After all 1,000 people are diagnosed with cancer every day and many of these will be Nationwide members.

“People affected by cancer are hit by an average cost of £570 per month with implications for mortgages, rents and insurance”

So we arranged for our Chief Executive, Graham Beale, together with his executive team to visit the Macmillan Cancer Centre at University College Hospital. Talking to the Macmillan team, it became increasingly obvious the financial issues are often as much a burden for people affected by cancer as diagnosis and treatment. Macmillan estimates that people affected by cancer are hit by an average cost of £570 per month with implications for mortgages, rents and insurance.

It became clear we could work with Macmillan to find a way to better support members affected by cancer. The solution was to set up a specialised support centre, staffed by people specifically trained by Macmillan on the issues arising from a cancer diagnosis, to which branch and other staff could make referrals.

We’ve been piloting the scheme since April this year and have been able to make a real difference to the lives of our customers. The response has been so positive, we’ve rolled the scheme out nationally, so all our customers can benefit and – crucially – we’ll be working with Macmillan to share our findings with our financial services companies.

We also continue to support Macmillan Cancer Support with fundraising. At this year’s World’s Biggest Coffee Morning we brought together employees and members to break the Guinness World Record for the world’s biggest cream tea party. Our record-breaking attempt, employee bake sales and a whole range of sponsored activities raised over £150k to help people living with cancer.

The work we have done to develop the Specialist Support Centre deepens and strengthens the partnership with Macmillan and shows how businesses and charities working together can tackle some of the most challenging issues facing society.

About the author


Head of Citizenship, Stephen Uden, looks at how Nationwide is putting responsible business principles into practice.

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