In the second year of the bank’s CommunityForce initiative, the bank ran a poll in each of its nine Welsh retail regions, with local people encouraged to nominate their favourite local charities and causes. The top three causes in each area received £6,000, bringing the national total to £162,000 – more than doubling the amount awarded to Welsh groups through the scheme in 2010.
In Wales, NatWest branch staff also managed to fund raise over £37,000 for good causes last year, including over £9,000 raised for Children In Need, and £4,000 for the Gleision Miners Appeal.
Amongst those who’ve started the year with a £6,000 CommunityForce award are Aberglaslyn Mountain Rescue Team in Porthmadog, Llanelli Youth Theatre, Cardigan Bay Watersports, Conwy Young Carers, the Empowering Youth Foundation from Wrexham, Cardiff’s Noah’s Ark Appeal and Pontypridd Mini Rugby.
It is hoped the initiative will raise awareness of the nominated charities and organisations and encourage people to get involved as volunteers. NatWest staff are also getting involved by volunteering their time as part of the bank’s customer charter commitment to deliver 7,000 days of community volunteering this year.
Members of the public voted for their favourite nominated local organisations online, ensuring that the groups that would benefit were those that matter most to the local community. The total CommunityForce awards made by the bank throughout the UK is £1.9 million.
Dawn Roberts, Executive Director of Empowering Youth Foundation based in Wrexham said: “We were especially humbled to win this award as it was based solely on public support. We plan to use this funding to bring more volunteers into the programme so we can reach even more local children. We also hope to partner with some of the other wonderful local charities who were nominated to support our skills experience programmes. Children participating in the initial sessions in Wrexham have enjoyed the fun activities and are showing great ability to relate the core values highlighted in each session to their home lives.”
Mark Douglas, NatWest Regional Retail Director for Wales, said: ”I’m delighted we were able to increase the CommunityForce awards to over £160,000. It’s terrific that so many people voted, meaning the funds have gone to the organisations local people value the most. An enormous thank you to staff working at our branches throughout Wales too for constantly coming up with new fundraising ideas to support local charities. Through CommunityForce and our own staff fundraising, we have contributed just shy of £200,000 to good causes throughout Wales in the last year which is absolutely fantastic.”