Building society lends hand to Yorkshire’s good causes

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STAFF at Yorkshire Building Society have spent more than 4,700 hours volunteering at charities, local schools and for good causes across the Yorkshire region over the past year.

As part of The Yorkshire’s volunteering scheme called ‘Actionteering’, staff have spent more than 675 days volunteering at 99 different community events within Yorkshire.

Staff from the society’s head office sites in Bradford and a number of colleagues from its branches in Yorkshire have left their desks and picked up spades, hammers and painting brushes to make a difference in their community.

The scheme provides opportunities for staff to get involved in the community and each member of staff is entitled to 14 hours paid leave a year to take part in such activities.

This year teams from the Yorkshire have helped build a giant blue police box for the Bradford Science Festival, created sensory gardens, escorted the elderly on day trips and helped repair a Skipton war memorial.

As well as completing team challenges, staff have also spent time helping children develop their reading skills, spent afternoons with the elderly in care homes and manned the till in their local charity shops.

Bev Cox, the Yorkshire’s corporate responsibility manager, said: “2012 has been our most successful year for volunteering where we’ve seen more staff complete more hours at more challenges than ever before.

“Historically, building societies were created to serve their local communities which is a tradition we strongly hope to continue not just with monetary donations to some of our good causes but by also donating our time where it’s needed the most.”

Alan Redmonds, Yorkshire operations manager, organised eight separate challenge days with more than 70 members of his team to help Swain House Primary School in Bradford.

Mr Redmonds and his team transformed a piece of barren land into a useful nature area for school pupils.

“At the beginning of the year I was looking for a project that the majority of my team could be involved with and would be a lasting addition to our local community,” he said.

“I don’t think anyone realised just how much enjoyment we would get from working on this project as a team and seeing the faces of the children when the nature area was completed.”

A number of teams spent time at Meanwood Valley Urban Farm clearing overgrown areas.

Susan Reddington MBE, farm director at Meanwood, said: “The work that these enthusiastic people got through is a huge help to us and it allows us to concentrate on other jobs that need attention around the farm. Even though the weather wasn’t always on their side, they worked really well and made huge progress.”