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We’ve Refreshed our 170 Year old Mission for the Challenges of the 21st Century

Written by Wendy Quantrill

14 Dec 2022


Safe homes, Saving Suffolk

6 min read

Suffolk Building Society is giving more than £100,000 over the next three years to address two social issues it feels are most pressing, and most aligned to its values and history. The Society has decided to focus on two challenging issues: providing safe homes and protecting nature, with two new campaigns; Safe Homes for Suffolk and Saving Suffolk. It has chosen to forge new alliances with high-profile organisations that share its well-established values and aims, to ensure maximum environmental and social change.

Founded over 170 years ago to help people acquire land and well-built homes, and in doing so secure the vote, environmental and social issues continue to underpin everything the Society does. Keen to put its efforts into the right areas, research was undertaken to uncover the priorities of local people.

Ninety-one percent of respondents in the Eastern region said conserving wildlife and the natural world was the most important social issue to them. Local community issues were also pertinent across all demographics.

As a result, Suffolk Building Society has joined forces with carefully selected organisations that have a focus on nature and safe housing, with plans for two distinct campaigns.

Campaign 1: Saving Suffolk

Blessed with some of the most vital natural habitats in the country, Suffolk is well-known for its diverse wildlife, however, much of it is increasingly under threat.

Committed to protecting local nature, Suffolk Building Society will, together with its staff and members, be launching a campaign to protect the county’s wild spaces.

As well as using some of its profits to provide much-needed funding for wilding and habitat protection with Suffolk Wildlife Trust, the Society will also be working with other organisations and launching additional projects in the coming years which help to support these campaigns.

“As Suffolk’s nature charity, we are delighted to be one of Suffolk Building Society’s charitable partners for the next three years”, says Christine Luxton, CEO, Suffolk Wildlife Trust. “Through a clear mandate from their members, our partnership will deliver real outcomes for local wildlife and people by way of support for the acquisition of a new nature reserve for the county, called Martlesham Wilds.

Campaign 2: Safe Homes for Suffolk

There are many reasons people may struggle with homelessness, from a lack of affordable housing to debt and unforeseen life events. Others may feel unsafe in their home through the threat of domestic abuse.

Underpinned by the belief that everyone has a right to a safe home, and its original mission over 170 years ago to build and allocate safe homes throughout the county, Suffolk Building Society is launching a campaign to help people in Suffolk with this issue.

It will be using some of its profits to provide much-needed funding for Ipswich Housing Action Group (ihAg) and Emmaus Suffolk, to help tackle the housing crisis. The Society will also be collaborating with additional organisations in the coming years to support these campaigns further.

Jools Ramsey, CEO at ihAg welcomes the campaign: “I am extremely grateful that the Suffolk Building Society has chosen ihAg as one of its new partners. Every single person within our community is being affected by the cost-of-living crisis, and to have the support and commitment from another respected local organisation who recognises the value of a safe space to call home, stand alongside us in our efforts to end homelessness is an exciting prospect.”

Claire Staddon, Chief Executive of Emmaus Suffolk, said of the alignment: “Working in partnership with such a forward thinking, long established Suffolk based Mutual organisation is a true privilege. With the support of Suffolk Building Society’s Staff and Membership our charity has a real opportunity to increase its prevention work, supporting the most vulnerable in our community from falling into crisis across the county.

“It’s hugely challenging for many across Suffolk and knowing that Suffolk Building Society’s compassion and enthusiasm for positive outcomes for the county’s residents is a silver lining for us all.”

Richard Norrington, Chief Executive at Suffolk Building Society said:

“As a mutual, we’ve always been dedicated to supporting local projects and as we worked towards our rebrand to Suffolk Building Society last year, we felt that it was time to make a greater commitment to doing more to support the people of Suffolk and our corner of the planet.

“We know that our members care deeply about the natural environment and their local community and are keen to do what they can to have a personal impact. They are also aware that how they use their money can have a positive or negative social impact, and with over £600m of members’ savings invested with us, we want to demonstrate that this is a responsibility we take seriously.

“We’re delighted to be working with such excellent organisations and look forward to continuing to make a positive impact on communities in Suffolk by protecting local nature and helping people keep a roof over their heads.”

Suffolk Building Society will also be allowing staff four hours per month to volunteer with key charity partners supporting the two campaigns, or the Society’s chosen UN Sustainability Goals.

By saving with Suffolk Building Society, members are supporting these two campaigns, and can keep up to date with activities via the Society’s Freehold Post e-newsletter.

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