What our networks do together

Alongside their specific focus, our 9 networks work together to have a bigger impact on inclusion and intersectionality for our colleagues. They help to create an inclusive and empowering environment for everyone, actively encouraging all colleagues to support others and demonstrate allyship.

As a collective employee voice, they play a critical role in our Society, and bring our people’s thoughts and feelings to the fore. Our networks engage directly with our board and senior leaders to share insight and challenges. And they’re actively involved in helping to shape our inclusion, diversity and wellbeing (ID&W) strategy.

We're really proud of our employee networks. Read all about the impactful work they're driving in their own words below.

Disability network (Enable)

Our goal is to embrace the value our colleagues with disabilities bring. And encourage a culture where everyone can thrive.

We start conversations in order to:

  • Make it ok to talk about disability in the workplace
  • Connect with each other to share our experiences
  • Find support
  • Help us all feel able to be ourselves at work

We support Nationwide, alongside other networks, to create a truly inclusive, accessible and supportive workplace for everyone.

Adjustments passport

Sometimes we need a few changes to be our best and get the most out of our working day. Nationwide provides a wide range of workplace adjustments to help us do that. There are many different types of adjustments as everyone’s needs will differ, even between people with the same condition. They can be formal or informal, temporary or permanent, depending on the situation. Which is why we have the Adjustments Passport.

The Adjustments Passport helps our colleagues by facilitating a conversation with their line manager so they can work together to agree next steps. It also provides a record of agreed adjustments that they can take with them if they move jobs within our Society. The use of this passport has grown in use across the Society, particularly when we saw our working environment change during the pandemic. And it has since continued to provide support and guidance.


We’re members of the Valuable 500 (opens in a new window), a global business collective of 500 companies innovating together for disability inclusion. Our membership has allowed us to partner with the International Paralympic Committee to promote and support the #WeThe15 campaign (opens in a new window). This 10-year worldwide movement aims to transform the lives of the world’s 1.2 billion persons with disabilities who represent 15% of the global population.

Our branches and administration offices across the country “turned purple” throughout the period of the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games, celebrating our members and colleagues with disabilities and long-term conditions. We ran awareness events, cheered on our local Paralympians and shared personal stories so that we could all gain a new perspective about disability. And it doesn’t end there – we’ll be continuing this conversation for years to come.

Sunflower Scheme

Inspired by first-hand experiences, a team of Nationwide colleagues set out with a goal to improve the in-branch service for members with hidden disabilities. They piloted quiet hours across 23 branches, and trained colleagues to recognise when someone might need extra support. From this project, Nationwide joined the Sunflower Scheme and rolled it out across all branches.

Wearing the Sunflower discreetly indicates that the wearer needs additional support, help or a little more time. Colleagues can also use the sunflower image in an intranet profile or email signature. This helps us to support members and colleagues with hidden disabilities while continuing to raise awareness.

Dyslexia Toolkit

Approximately 1 person in 10 is affected by dyslexia, which is why our Dyslexia Support Group have developed a Dyslexia Toolkit. We aim to highlight the positives and challenges of dyslexia and the support available, in an accessible and easy-to-read format. We hope this will prove useful in helping colleagues and managers not only access support, but also increase their understanding.

Gender Network (Gender Equality Matters)

Gender equality is our network’s vision. We work to create, foster and nurture an inclusive culture at Nationwide across the gender spectrum.

We drive this through these key areas of focus across the Society:

  • gender equality
  • transgender colleague and member experience
  • understanding our data
  • women in tech
  • flexible working for everyone

Events and campaigns

To mark International Women’s Day (IWD) 2022, we hosted a Society-wide panel event for colleagues to attend, focusing on #BreakingTheBias and gender equality. We partnered with ITN to create an IWD campaign video featuring colleagues. And shared colleagues' stories both internally and externally.

For International Transgender Day of Visibility in 2022, we continued with this theme and looked beyond the binary, to celebrate transgender and non-binary people. This involved a Society-wide webcast, featuring a panel made up of colleagues and an external Stonewall guest speaker discussing gender identity, and the day-to-day challenging of gender stereotypes. We also have a partnership with the FA and our campaign, “Where Greatness is Made”, champions equality of the sexes today and beyond.

Building a gender inclusive Society

We all have a responsibility to be respectful of people's identity. To help create a more gender inclusive environment across our Society, we encourage everyone to share their pronouns (he/him, she/her, they/them) in their email signature so we continue to create an environment where everyone can be their authentic self. There are now more options within our internal systems for colleagues to share their diversity information, including an Mx title.

We’ve also created a collection of inclusive language guides, including one specifically on gender identities, as well information information on how we're building a gender inclusive Society. This is, so everyone can feel informed when communicating. And we work collaboratively with our fellow employee networks to enable a happier, better future for us all – regardless of gender identity.

Ethnicity network (Race Together)

There’s no place for racism in Nationwide. We bring together people from different cultures and their allies. We work hard to accelerate change, amplify diverse voices and champion multiculturalism.

Mutual mentoring

In 2020, Race Together launched a reciprocal mentoring programme pairing senior leaders with colleagues across the organisation from ethnically diverse backgrounds. The programme flips traditional top-down mentoring on its head and encourages senior leaders to learn from different perspectives and experiences, while offering support and guidance.

It’s worked brilliantly so far and built over 75 longstanding working relationships, generating fresh insight and helping spark positive change and understanding across the Society. The network also runs mentoring circles and many other opportunities to help people grow and develop thriving careers at Nationwide.

Building a Society that reflects society

For Race Together, actions will always speak louder than words. As well as passionate partnerships and impactful mentoring, the network helps to make sure multiculturalism is celebrated and everyone feels at home when they come to work. They host weekly drop-ins to share multicultural topics and events – from celebrations like Chinese New Year, UK Asian Experience Month, Diwali and Black History Month to powerful discussion points like Black Lives Matter. These are safe spaces for everyone to share and learn. They also work closely with senior leaders and teams across Nationwide to accelerate change. This led to the network winning Nationwide’s 2021 Annual Award for Mutual Good.

“Being a part of Race Together is knowing that there is a community that offers support and guidance. It offers a safe space to have those important conversations, that then allows us all to grow and evolve. We all aim to do the right thing by our Society as a whole (members and colleagues alike)” – A colleague

Working Families Network

Voted Best Families Network 2021

In 2021 the Working Families Network won the coveted title of ‘Best Families Network’ in the Working Families Org. best practice awards. This accolade reflects the extensive support the network provided to over 1,000 active members throughout the coronavirus pandemic. This ranged from virtual drop-in sessions and dedicated chat channels for parents in similar situations, through to resilience coaching and real-life story sharing ‘Ask Me Anything’ sessions.  Colleagues also benefitted from one to one support in achieving the right work-life balance for them and their families. 

Marking Baby Loss Awareness Week

Angel Kisses & Rainbow Wishes is our baby loss and fertility support group. To mark Baby Loss Awareness Week in October, we hosted a series of events to start conversations about baby loss and fertility struggles for all colleagues and their families. In conjunction with the Miscarriage Association, SANDS (the Stillbirth and Neonatal Death charity), and TV personality Kirsten O’Brien, we discussed the brutal reality of baby loss and the impacts it can have on both work and home life. 

On the back of the successful week, we’ve seen more colleagues turning to the group for support in their time of need. And line managers and peers are also looking to the group to understand how to better support those around them. 

Talking Children’s Mental Health

The coronavirus pandemic has impacted the mental health of so many, including the young people in our lives. To mark Children’s Mental Health week in February, the Working Families Network talked openly about signs of poor mental health in children and how best to support the children and young people in our lives. This was also in collaboration with the Minds Matter Network, as well as external sources of mental health support. 

Working Carers Network

Employers for Carers

We were thrilled to be awarded ‘ambassador status’ by Employers for Carers after a rigorous application process – we're only the second company to go straight in at this level.  The external benchmark scheme recognises the extensive support that Nationwide provides to our employees who also provide care for their loved ones.

We’ve had an active 12 months, the highlight being our ‘Hidden Heroes’ campaign that we ran during Carer’s week 2021. The aim was to raise awareness of the policies and support available to people – many of whom don’t identify as a carer. This can be for several reasons. As well as religious or cultural reasons, some don’t identify as a carer because they’re looking after a family member and “that’s just what you do”.

During 2022, the network is running a number of education sessions in conjunction with Dementia Carers Count. These not only deal with learning about caring for people who have dementia,  but also focus on the carer too. 

We’ll also continue to host our fortnightly “Time for me, Time for tea”, drop-in sessions which provide a safe space to talk. And we have even bigger plans for Carers week 7-13 June 2022 and Carers Right day, 25 November 2022. 

LGBTQ+ Network (Proud)

Allyship & Visible role models 

Encouraging people to demonstrate allyship and creating visible LGBTQ+ role models are 2 of the key priorities for our network. In February 2022, we held a panel with 3 of our LGBTQ+ senior executives, to share their life and career experiences. In 2021 we also launched our allyship programme, which offers training and development to help people  better support LGBTQ+ colleagues and members. 

Pride events

During the summer of 2019, we attended 8 centrally organised Pride Parades and 20 locally organised Pride Parades were supported through either a ‘Pride Parade in a Box’ or through local funding and resource.

Nationwide were also the main sponsor for the Swindon and Wiltshire Pride Parade where locals could participate in charity fundraising and gave us fantastic feedback.

For 2020 we had big plans, but Pride sadly had to be virtual. We ran a host of virtual activities including an employee dance challenge, a Nationwide LIVE! radio takeover, The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson viewing party, and an LGBTQ+ quiz hosted by our resident drag queen. We also ran an external campaign on social media.

In 2021 we were the Titanium sponsors of the Student Pride and hosted a virtual booth at the careers fair, promoting Nationwide as an LGBTQ+ inclusive employer to young talent.

Awareness initiatives and speakers

We run regular events with colleagues and external guests, focusing on different LGBTQ+ issues, always with intersectionality at the heart. Raising awareness for both the LGBTQ+ community and its allies is so important on the journey towards equality.

Some examples include LGBTQ+ History Month 2022 where colleagues created artwork on the theme of LGBTQ+ allyship and role models. This artwork was shared on internal channels and across external social media. We’ve also regularly partnered with our other networks and external speakers to highlight important issues – some examples include our event with Race Together and UK Black Pride, and an event with the Gender Network that had  Shon Fey (she/her) and Nonhlanhla Makyuana (they/them) discuss the intersection of gender and LGBTQ+ identities. We also explored LGBTQ+ military history with our Veterans and Reservist Network alongside Craig Jones (he/him) and Caroline Paige (she/her) – joint-CEOs of the charity Fighting with Pride.

Faith and Belief Network (FaB)

Inter Faith Week 

Every year, during November, we celebrate Inter Faith Week – bringing our faith groups together to strengthen relations.  We aim to increase understanding between colleagues of religious and non-religious beliefs. 

During the most recent Inter Faith Week, the highlight was a panel discussion speaking about a range of topics, including faith in the workplace. We ended the week with a celebration lunch and a quiz about different faiths. 

Drop in events and “Time to Talk”

Each of our faith groups holds drop-in events for members. These sessions range from simply being a place to talk, to exploring scripture, or coming together for prayer. In addition, our Christian Group organises monthly 'Time to Talk' drop-in  sessions where the Reverend Richard Burbidge (he/him) answers questions from colleagues on a wide range of issues. Rev Richard also gives his thoughts on the key issues and events that are taking place around the time of each session.

After starting out as in person drop-in sessions at our Northampton Admin Centre, the sessions are now held virtually and are open to all colleagues. For those who can’t make the live sessions, we produce a 15-minute recorded version for colleagues to watch whenever it suits them. 

Your Amazing Heart – resilience workshop

Dr Stephen Brooke (he/him) recently returned to hold another ‘Your Amazing Heart’ resilience workshop for colleagues., A renowned GP counsellor, Dr Brooke uses a medically evidenced technique for managing stress from a faith perspective. This latest session was attended by over 100 colleagues.


Our Muslim Group holds a series of events to mark Ramadan and we share a Ramadan Guide with all colleagues to support our Muslim Community. Marking Ramadan now includes an annual one-day Nationwide fast to raise awareness of why colleagues fast. The numbers taking part in this event have continued to grow year on year.

Our members also shared their stories of Ramadan and there was a Virtual Celebration event for Eid. 

Diwali celebration event 

Our Virtual Diwali celebration event brought colleagues across the business together. The event was co-organised by members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist and Jain Groups – with the groups talking about common rituals and the differences with how each faith celebrate.

Christmas collaboration with the Working Families Network 

The Christian Group arranged their usual celebrations, looking at the real meaning of Christmas. This year, the group held a Virtual Nativity event – telling the Christmas story with the aid of a pack that colleagues and their families could print, colour in and cut out. 


Our Buddhist Group welcomed a Buddhist teacher for a Dharma talk to mark Vesak – which is Buddha Day. The talk focused on meditation, mindfulness and wellbeing. Colleagues were able to find out more about Vesak and ask questions .

Proud Network event 

In collaboration with the Proud Network, we welcomed a guest speaker who shared their experiences of being LGBTQ+ and having faith. Following the talk, there was a group discussion where some colleagues shared their experiences. 

Jain Group 

We’ve now formed our newest faith group – for colleagues who follow Jainism. The group organised their first event in August for Paryushana. 

Remembrance Day 

We joined with the Veterans and Reservist Network to recognise those who lost their lives – focusing specifically on how war and conflict has affected people of all faiths.  

The Veteran and Reservist Network

Our military network aims to support colleagues with a military connection. Membership includes military spouses, veterans, reservists and colleagues with family serving in the military. In 2021 Nationwide was re-awarded Gold which is the highest level in the MOD’s Defence Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS). This award recognised our outstanding support of the Armed Forces community. 

Virtual drop-in sessions

A central purpose of our network has been to enable military veterans to thrive and succeed at Nationwide. Key to this has been providing opportunities for our military members to meet, network and offer peer-to-peer coaching.

During coronavirus, as we moved to new, more remote ways of working, we established virtual drop-in sessions where our members could connect, share experiences to minimise the effects of isolation and ensure those who needed support could access it.

Supporting our reservists

Nationwide’s active contingent of Military Reservists are highly valued for their skills and contributions to wider society. We’ve strong relationships with our local Reserve units; the last three Squadron Commanders of Y Sqn, RWxY have come from Nationwide and for the past 4 years we’ve hosted outreach events for Reserve units at our Corporate HQ. 

Our Reservists can take advantage of 15 additional days of leave allowing them to fulfil military training objectives and our HR mobilisation policies enabled us to support our Reservists to mobilise in response to COVID 19 and other active operations. Our Volunteers are actively encouraged to share their stories of annual training on our internal news sites and to “wear uniform to work” during our celebration of Armed Forces week.  

Supporting personnel leaving the forces

We’ve been active in supporting military personnel in taking up new careers upon leaving the military. In the past year we’ve supported events sponsored by the MOD’s Career Transition Partnership and have informally connected service leavers with our colleagues to share their experiences of leaving the military.

We’re currently exploring how we can assist military personnel to take advantage of our recruitment and training programmes.


Working with the other Networks 

During the past year we have jointly held events with Race Together and the Proud Networks. During Remembrance week in an event with Race Together we celebrated the overlooked sacrifices of Commonwealth personnel during the World Wars and heard about experiences from recent conflicts from Veterans in both networks. During LGBTQ+ History month we co-hosted an event celebrating the 20th anniversary of the ending of the ban on LGBTQ+ personnel in the military and discussed what we can learn from the experiences of the MOD to enhance inclusion. 

Mental Health Network (Minds Matter) 

Our Mental Health Network is focused on mental health and emotional wellbeing.  It’s run by employees for employees.  And our vision is to transform how colleagues think, and to talk openly about mental health. We also provide support and guidance to empower colleagues experiencing mental health problems in the workplace. 


Across the society we have a combination of colleagues volunteering as Healthy Mind Champions (HMC) and Mental Health First Aiders (MHFA), mixed with an external employee care provision.


Our objectives are: 

  • Signposting – provide mental and emotional wellbeing hints and tips as well as carefully guiding colleagues to the appropriate professional/specialist advice and help if they require it
  • Peer Support – empower colleagues to share their experiences and knowledge, provide emotional support, social interaction, or practical help
  • Education – run education events to promote a greater understanding of the mental health and emotional wellbeing issues that affect our colleagues. Supporting the continuous professional development of HMC and MHFA
  • Collaboration – work closely with the Inclusion, Diversity & Wellbeing team, the other Employee Network groups, leaders and external providers, mental health organisations and charities 
  • Inclusion – create a community of colleague support that includes HMC, MHFA and any other Nationwide colleagues voluntarily providing mental health and emotional wellbeing support
  • Awareness – help to reduce stigma and discrimination by highlighting awareness days, weeks, and months throughout the year 
  • Listening – provide supportive, non-judgmental, confidential conversations with those who need it and listening to our members' feedback. Championing the change needed to create a truly inclusive and supportive workplace for everyone

Other ways our colleagues are collaborating 

Green Network 

In 2021, we launched a network to support our green and sustainability strategy. Leading the Society's internal conversations on sustainability, we’re helping to accelerate our colleagues’ transition to a greener life at work and home through discussion, debate and action on climate change. 

We work closely with our employee networks to create green products and initiatives for our members. And we’re building an internal hub to provide colleagues with quick access to the external information, events and resources they need to make greener choices. 

Connecting colleagues – our Colleague Assembly on green 

In 2021, the network supported a Society-wide discussion around green and sustainability to coincide with COP26, the United Nations Climate Change Conference. Colleagues were invited to present questions to guest speaker, Ed Gillespie – a British environmental entrepreneur, speaker, futurist, and author. The assembly also featured a panel of colleagues who shared what action the Society is taking against climate change. 

Influencing change 

After a four-week challenge in 2020 to save water, waste, energy and emissions in the home, colleagues launched an environmental support guide. The network is keeping this momentum going by sharing their experiences of making greener choices. Such as eating less meat, driving electric vehicles, switching to green energy suppliers and installing solar panels. Colleagues are also responding to sustainable opportunities across the organisation from better resource choices to reduced energy use.

Making lifestyle changes, especially those that require an investment, can be difficult and challenging. By supporting each other and encouraging change through open conversations, colleagues feel they can trust the recommendations and testimonials. By reducing confusion and concern around these topics, more colleagues feel confident in making greener changes in the future. 

Last updated: June 2022