Claire Hunnable is Saffron’s Community Business Partner. In this role Claire manages the Saffron Community Fund and the new Community Link facility, as well as volunteering and local sponsorship. We asked Claire what she’s most proud of from 2022.
Stepping up our financial support for communities
“The Saffron Community Fund has become a real source of colleague and member pride – in 2022 we invested the largest sum to date. Working in partnership with the Essex Community Foundation (who administer Saffron’s fund), we granted £19,327 to applicants including Bishop's Stortford Mencap, Thaxted Centre for the Disabled, Enterprise East, and CARA (Centre for Action & Rape abuse). Our support is critical for these smaller charities and we welcome applications for funding from an amazing diversity of groups who do great work at a grassroots level. As a further boost, we’ve joined the Alternative Reclaim Fund. This means money held in dormant accounts where we have been unable to trace the owner can be transferred to the Saffron Community Fund and put to good use. Of course, if the account holder comes forward at any point, the full amount is credited to them. In 2022, we transferred over £400,000 to the Saffron Community Fund using this method, which will allow us to continue to help more deserving causes for years to come.”
Helping Saffron’s colleagues feel part of our community effort
“As a business we encourage all colleagues to volunteer and build connections in the community. We’ve made it easier than ever to do: colleagues can either use a full volunteering day to help one of our charity partners or use the digital onHand volunteering platform to donate a couple of hours to a good cause. What’s more, studies indicate that taking a break from work to help others actually boosts people’s wellbeing at work, which shows that volunteering is a win-win initiative for everyone.
"Our people volunteered across a wide range of causes in 2022. This included helping with special educational needs, conducting mock interviews in secondary schools, leading financial education workshop for adults with learning difficulties (in partnership with Accuro), and helping educate over 650 year 6 pupils with money management sessions (as part of Crucial Crew). Through onHand, our colleagues completed 431 volunteering ‘missions’ for organisations such as NHS, Trussell Trust, Wrap Up and Samaritan’s Purse. You can see some of this great volunteering in the photos throughout this Annual Members Review.”
Creating a new community space on the high street
“In 2022 we also opened the doors to our first Saffron Community Link. Previously an empty shop unit in the heart of Saffron Walden, we’ve completely refurbished it to create a free-to-use space for community groups, charities and non-profits. We know community groups often lack the facilities to host meetings or events, so we created this space to enable them to connect and thrive.
"It’s been an outstanding success: since launching in February this year, it’s been used for over 1,125 hours by 56 different organisations and charities including: Support 4 Sight, NHS, Homestart and Citizens Advice. We’re really proud of Saffron Community Link and it’s a great example of our mutuality creating a positive difference in the community.”
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