Working in partnership with Leeds Building Society: Q & A

July 23, 2020

Introducing our partnership with Leeds Building Society, we catch up with Holly Buckley, Community Manager at Leeds Building Society and Jo Richardson, Corporate Partnerships Executive at Dementia UK.

Welcome Holly and Jo, we’re delighted to have kick-started our four year partnership with Leeds Building Society. We’re very excited to be working with you all.

Holly, what made Leeds Building Society want to partner with Dementia UK?

Our members and colleagues were asked about causes that were important to them and through an application process, followed by a colleague and member vote, Dementia UK was selected. As a business we wanted to partner with a charity that had ambition and which aligned with our purpose. With Dementia UK we could see a tangible opportunity to make a difference, both through fundraising initiatives and ongoing partnership support. We’ve had a really positive response since the partnership was announced in April.

Holly Buckley (pictured left) from Leeds Building Society and Jo Richardson (pictured right) from Dementia UK

Jo, what made you want to join the Dementia UK team?

I have a personal connection to dementia; my grandad had it and died eight years ago. We didn’t have any support as a family and he had to go into a home. I know what’s it like to see a loved one lose their personality, their independence and their spark. I wish that we had a dementia specialist Admiral Nurse to support us and guide us through.

How have the first few months working together been?

Holly – Fab! Although the partnership launched publicly in April, we’ve actually been working with the team at Dementia UK since the end of 2019 to make sure we had everything in place to launch. It’s been great to get to know everyone and learn more about the charity. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting so many of the team at Dementia UK and we were so grateful to have had the support of their volunteers and Admiral Nurses at our annual roadshows in February.  Of course, in light of the coronavirus (covid 19) situation launch plans took an unexpected turn. We have continued to work with the team to reassess what’s possible and we were incredibly proud to be able to support the Admiral Nurse Dementia Helpline appeal with a £25,000 donation right at the start of the partnership.

Jo – I started working at Dementia UK in May this year. It’s been strange working from home and not being able to get out and meet my new colleagues. Everyone has been so friendly and welcoming though, from both the charity and Leeds Building Society. I’m slowly making my way through the branches, calling each one to introduce myself. I say slowly because I end up having such a great long chat with each of the staff about Dementia UK and their plans to support us. The engagement is already strong which is really exciting.

How do you both see the partnership developing, especially in light of coronavirus (covid 19) and social distancing?

Holly – Of course, the safety of everyone involved with the partnership is the most important thing and we’ve had to think creatively to enable colleagues to get involved. At the start of July, more than 150 colleagues from all across the country signed up to take on a personal challenge and are already raising thousands of pounds! We’ll be spending the next few months giving colleagues the opportunity to learn about the charity and will be working together to plan what the next few years look like. The challenge that coronavirus (covid 19) restrictions have given us has presented an opportunity to really think about how we can make the biggest impact in a way that’s equally safe and enjoyable while supporting families who are living with dementia and I’m looking forward to what the next three and a half years will bring!

Jo – When I accepted the job I was brimming with ideas of how we could work together. Most of those will be parked for now and we’ll continue to create virtual spaces for fundraising, learning and engagement. I’m hoping that being a four year partnership we will eventually get to everything on our wish lists. Watch this space I guess.

Finally what are you most excited about working on over the course of the partnership?

Holly – Lots! One of the things that is most exciting is being able to support Dementia UK to amplify their message about the importance of Admiral Nurses in towns and cities around the UK. On a personal level I’m really looking forward to being able to create innovative opportunities for other people to be brilliant and I’m sure there will be lots of them over the next few years.

JoI agree with Holly, as someone who’s personally experienced dementia within my family, working with Leeds Building Society to raise awareness across the UK is really important to me. After three years of being a homebased worker, I’m looking forward to the time I can work from the Society’s head office a couple of days a week. Being able to fundraise and work together side by side is going to make a great partnership.