Kay Cameron, Charity Mentoring Coordinator at Lloyds Bank Foundation shines a spotlight on our mentoring programme as we celebrate National Mentoring Day.
Today is National Mentoring Day.To celebrate we want to shine a spotlight on how our Charity Mentoring programme has brought small charities together with Lloyds Bank colleagues.
There are currently over 280 Lloyds Banking Group colleagues mentoring small charities right across England and Wales. As one of the leading grant makers in England and Wales, Lloyds Bank Foundation recognises that whilst financial support is critical for small charities, they also need other support so they can continue working with some of the most disadvantaged and at-risk members of our communities.
Charity Mentoring offers a unique means of forging closer relationships between the private sector and small charities at a community level.
We match Lloyds Banking Group colleagues with a member of staff at a small local charity. Mentors apply their broad business management skills and their external perspective in supporting their matched charities, and in some instances draw on their specific skill sets – such as risk management or business planning – to aid a charity’s development.
As our Chief Executive Paul Streets explains “It’s not easy to get this match right and it certainly doesn’t happen by accident.
“It takes time and effort to get the right charity leader with the right bank colleague. But when these two worlds embrace as equals they do so at a very human level. Barriers and prejudices dissolve on both sides. It’s genuinely humbling and usually surprising.”
We believe Charity Mentoring is most successful when it is mutually beneficial. By harnessing the skills of colleagues at Lloyds Banking Group, small charities can be strengthened and supported to become more robust, effective and sustainable. At the same time, Lloyds Banking Group colleagues benefit from stretching their skills in new settings, developing new capabilities, and building stronger ties to the communities where they live and work.
Chris Gardiner, Regional Operations Manager at Lloyds Banking Group is one example of what charity mentoring looks like in practice. He currently mentors Vivienne Wiggins, Chief Executive of Beacon House Ministries, a homeless charity in Colchester. Chris explains how together he and Vivienne have established their own approach to Charity Mentoring.
“We now meet once a month for about an hour, away from Beacon House so we have an hour without interruption. Vivienne sets the agenda, and it’s about things that are relevant to that month so it can be a chat with a purpose. We’ve covered topics from time management to task delegation.
“I often reference the chats I’ve had with Vivienne at work – topics like stress and busyness span sectors, and I’ve learnt about different approaches to this too from Vivienne. I make sure the support I offer is flexible, which means we find a way of working that’s good for us both.”
From her perspective running a busy charity, Vivienne says “Chris helps me move forward and carefully consider my options. The trust level is being built, and it’s rare to have this with someone external and knowledgeable. So when something’s looming, I now have that support, in whatever form I might need it.
“It feels really good to have a critical friend at a senior level so I can have those strategic conversations.”
Charity mentoring is just one example of how Lloyds Banking Group is supporting local communities and is a crucial tool for staff engagement.
Damian Leeson, Director of Responsible Business concludes “Our partnership with the Foundation has given our colleagues a greater insight and pride in the difference being made in their local communities through their efforts and it allows us to deliver the commitments we made within our Helping Britain Prosper Plan to support 10,000 charities by 2020 as a result of our £100m commitment to the Foundations. It’s also a double win our staff are not just transferring skills, we have found that through the mentoring programme they are broadening their personal skill set.”
If you’re a charity currently receiving a grant from Lloyds Bank Foundation and are interested in working with a Charity Mentor talk to your local Grant Manager. If you’re a Lloyds Banking Group colleague and interested in mentoring someone from a local charity do get in touch to find out more about what’s involved.
Kay Cameron, Charity Mentoring Coordinator