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Cambridge & Counties Bank Foundation

Set up to empower people to develop their skills, Cambridge & Counties Bank Foundation wanted to provide more opportunities for people to improve their employability. Enabling developmental opportunities to happen is key for them. Preferring to develop a connection with the charitable groups they select, the Foundation can offer support with skills as well as money.

Cambridge & Counties Bank is a successful specialist bank catering for small to medium sized businesses. They are dedicated to helping businesses grow. In 2016 they set up a Foundation to serve people in Leicestershire and Cambridgeshire to build people’s confidence and improve opportunities for education, training and employment.

Christian Cowie, Director of Marketing & Savings said:

“We launched with Community Foundation as we recognise and value all of the great work the charity does in helping us identify local charities and voluntary groups that carry out the extraordinary work that we are proud and honoured to support. In addition to this, the Community Foundation do a superb job in allowing us to maximise our efforts by minimising our administrative tasks, helping us with due diligence as well as other key tasks. Our relationship with the Community Foundation also allows us to direct the numerous requests we receive to a focused organisation that can really help by matching them with a suitable donor.

 “The Bank together with all its employees are fully supportive and extremely proud of the Cambridge & Counties Foundation. Making a positive impact on the communities we are part of is an important component of the Banks culture. At Cambridge & Counties Bank we have a strong heritage of working with charitable organisations. We understand we’re a relatively young business, so there’s room for us to strengthen our associations. Over time we’ll grow our connections and deepen our involvement with some of the most deserving charities here in the UK.”

Soft Touch

Previously funded by the Cambridge & Counties Bank Foundation, Soft Touch are an award winning Leicestershire charity which uses arts, media and music activities to make positive life changes for disadvantaged young people by supporting them to develop creative, social and employability skills. For young people who lack opportunities or have challenges in their lives it can be hard to look forward to a positive future. Soft Touch helps them get back on track when things have gone wrong so that they can lead more fulfilling lives.

Backing from the Cambridge & Counties Bank Foundation has enabled Soft Touch Arts to give 24 young people aged 16-25 the opportunity to be part of the STARS programme. The project supported the young people involved to develop skills in art, craft, fashion and photography and learn how to sell and market their work. These talented young people all have life challenges which held them back.

The STARS (Showcasing Talent & Recognising Success) programme has increased the young people’s confidence and self-belief, and built their transferrable employability and communication skills.  Five of the young individuals have gone on to get jobs and others are considering careers via further education in areas such as photography and fashion.  In addition, four young people are working towards setting up their own lifestyle businesses.

Zinthiya Trust

Thanks to a grant from the Cambridge & Counties Bank Foundation, the Zinthiya Trust was able to provide a wraparound support service to make a positive difference to 32 vulnerable young people’s lives. The support package included a needs assessment, and the young people, aged 16 to 24 were given the opportunity to learn assertiveness skills, build their resilience and learn where and how to access support services to meet their needs.

This is a user-responsive service which works to assess each individual’s needs so it can address those needs. People who come to the Zinthiya Trust’s city centre advice service are often not in education or employment or are vulnerable.

The Zinthyia Trust provides welfare and debt advice, and helps with developing  skills through work placements and volunteering opportunities in catering, cleaning, retail and office administration , alongside careers advice enabling progress into education or employment. It can provides links with other local agencies which will could help each individual and their particular needs

Falcon Services and Case

Falcon Services needed assistance with a business plan for creating permanent housing for homeless people. The grant from Cambridge & Counties Foundation paid for CASE, The Co-operative and Social Enterprise Development Agency,  to work with Falcon Services to develop a proposal to become investment ready for an application to a Social Investor, in order to  become a Social Landlord.

If you would like to help “unsung and unseen” small charitable and voluntary groups which do so much, so inexpensively, to support local people who are struggling, do get in touch.