Mortgage Sleep Out returns for 2020
In November of that year, more than 500 people in the mortgage industry raised more than £110,000 for the charity End Youth Homelessness (EYH) by sleeping out across the UK.
Maria Harris, then-director of retail mortgages at Atom Bank, and Rob Jupp, CEO of Brightstar, set up Mortgage Sleep Out after Jupp tweeted about homelessness and Harris replied calling for an event to raise awareness.
Jupp’s tweet prompted other members of the mortgage industry to voice their interest in supporting the initiative.
With 25 events spread across 20 different UK regions and 40 different companies taking part, #mortgagesleepout made it into the top 10 UK Twitter trends with 1.5 million impressions on 30 November – the day that most sleep out events took place.
Prominent figures from across the industry also released the single ‘Take Me Home’, which was performed under the name MIC (Mortgage Industry Collective).
Details about the 2020 Mortgage Sleep Out will be announced on 20 March, along with information about some of the projects that benefitted from the funds raised in 2018.
The organisers said the goal for this year’s event was to involve more people, raise more money and have a greater impact.
Rob Jupp, CEO at Brightstar said: “Everyone who took part in Mortgage Sleep Out in 2018 made a tangible difference to the lives of young people who are struggling to find their feet.
“This year we want to get more people involved so that we can help more people. As an industry, it is in our power to make this a very significant event and raise a lot of money for those less fortunate than ourselves.”
Nick Connolly, managing director at End Youth Homelessness, added: “I’m so excited that Mortgage Sleep Out is returning in 2020 and promises to be even bigger and better. The 2018 event raised a phenomenal amount of money that was put to good use to help homeless young people across the country. Just imagine what we can achieve this year.”
Virgin Money selects 10 brokers to run London Marathon
The intermediaries have each secured a free place in the 40th marathon event, which takes place on 26 April 2020. More than 450,000 people applied for a place through the public ballot which closed in May last year.
The winning brokers were chosen at random after marathon sponsors Virgin Money ran its annual competition among its intermediary partners to win one of the free places.
The brokers will be running for charities including Mencap, who are Virgin Money’s Charity of the Year.
The winning brokers are Sam Brown of MAB Gloucester, Ertash Ali of Vincent Burch, Rachael Bolam of 313 Financial and Nazajat Ali of Mortgage On. Other broker participants include Paul Slater of Positive Solutions, Kevin Brooks of Direct Link Funding, Steve Watkins of Henry Clifton and Anthony McGoldrick of Mortgage Wise Scotland.
Advisers Luke Voce-Russell of Richard Bamber and Nicola Stone of Clear View Mortgages are also among those who won a place in the marathon. It will be the first time Ali, Bolam and Brown have taken part in a marathon.
Bolam said: “I’m over the moon to get a place, but also terrified. I knew I wouldn’t push myself though if I didn’t put myself out there, so this will give me the focus I need.”
Nazajat added: “You cannot imagine the level of my excitement when I got the news of getting a place for the London Marathon. It feels like I am flying sky high.”
Former member of the Parachute Regiment Paul Slater will be raising money for ‘Support Our Paras’. Despite a knee injury, Slater plans to carry 100lbs of kit including a five-foot long mortar barrel attached to a flag during the marathon.
Sarah Green (pictured), Virgin Money’s head of intermediaries, said: “We are delighted to offer 10 places to our intermediary partners at what is a very special event. This is the fourth year we’ve done this and this is the most number of place we’ve ever offered.
“All of us at Virgin Money wish the runners all the very best with their training and we will be there to cheer them along on the day itself.”
HSBC broker team fundraising soars to record high
The lender said the cash was 150 per cent higher than 2018 and was part of a record year for fundraising and community work.
Alongside activities to raise funds for good causes, the team also provided 107 days – the equivalent of 21 weeks – worth of volunteering, 50 per cent more than 2018.
This came from a commitment by the bank to provide members of staff with up to two ‘in work’ days each, allowing them to carry out voluntary work during normal work time.
The fundraising helped 29 different good causes over the course of the year, including national charities involved in health and research as well as smaller local charities and organisations nominated by individual fundraisers.
HSBC UK head of intermediary mortgages Chris Pearson said he was extremely proud of the team.
“They have literally gone the extra mile, scaled mountains, fallen from 15,000 feet and got on their hands and knees to help causes that are close to their hearts,” he said.
“Increasing the amount of fundraising by 150 per cent and increasing the hours of volunteering by 50 per cent is no mean feat.
“The dedication to helping good causes in their own time, and through the bank’s own in work volunteering scheme, will continue into 2020 and will provide us with many great opportunities to help communities up and down the country,” he added.
Examples of fundraising totals include:
£19,414 raised for Hallam FM’s Cash For Kids appeal
£5,292 for MacMillan Cancer Care
£3,305 to the Indian Rural Health Trust
£2,000 raised for Sheffield Children’s Hospital
£2,052 for Somerset Sight
£2,000 received by East Cheshire Hospice
£1,732 provided to Shooters Grove School
£1,434 raised for Downswood Community Centre
Second Chargers complete 100km charity walk
The quartet, dubbed The Second Chargers, were (pictured left to right at the finish), Paul Stringer from Norton Finance, Jonathan White from Mortgage Brain, Paul Ford from Fluent Money and Buster Tolfree from United Trust Bank, along with support team Graham Lindsay and Kelly Lyons.
They finished the Oxfam 100km Trailwalker challenge in 25 hours 34 minutes over the weekend of the 20-22 September.
The event was originally scheduled for July 2018 but was postponed with only 36 hours’ notice due to the extreme heat of more than 30c.
“Despite our disappointment and 12 months of training, we pledged to walk when the event was rescheduled,” said White.
“Despite real challenges along the way, we completed the event in 25 hours 34 minutes. We were totally physically and mentally exhausted but thrilled to have contributed £7,505 towards Oxfam and The Queens Gurkha Trust.
“Our thanks go to everyone who donated – their support inspired us during the difficult periods,” White added.
Starting at Queen Elizabeth Country Park in Hampshire, the Trailwalker route took in the historical South Downs Way to the finish line at Brighton Racecourse.
The team is still accepting donations through its just giving page and the total is rapidly approaching £8,000.
Donations can be made at: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/secondchargers
Mortgage Solutions and Your Money confirm team for Mortgage SleepOut
The AE3 Media team has joined a raft of industry fund raisers readying to sleep on the streets in support of charity End Youth Homelessness.
So far, 369 people have donated to the JustGiving pages, with 29 separate fundraising pages set up by the mortgage and mortgage advice industries with over £18,544.89 raised so far with two weeks to go.
There are over 70 businesses backing the campaign and over 1,000 people willing to sleep on the street around the UK to honour the homeless suffering on a daily basis.
In the latest industry update this morning, Mortgage Solutions emerged ninth on the fundraising leader board, with Paragon Bank, Newbury Building Society and Brightstar battling it out for the top spot.
Danielle Dennis, events manager at AE3 Media said: “We are all fortunate enough to have a roof over our heads, where some people sadly aren’t so lucky so I think this event is really important to raise awareness and money for such a worthwhile and important cause.”
So please dig deep and then a little deeper again and offer the Mortgage Solutions and Your Money team a message of support on our fundraising page for this incredible charity here.
Rob Jupp, CEO of Brightstar sparked the initiative after a Twitter exchange with Atom Bank’s Maria Harris and has played a large part in driving it on.
Click this link to donate.
A virtuous Circl: You can help boost children’s career prospects – Gill
From January to May, I volunteered as a career coach at a school in South London while also giving talks in other schools to assemblies of over 200 students, a rather daunting prospect.
Several people got in touch off the back of my blog and signed up to volunteer themselves, a great testament to the generosity within the mortgage industry.
Throughout my time with Future Frontiers I spoke regularly with their head of partnerships, Charlie Stainforth.
Charlie is hugely passionate about reaching as many students as possible and believes the key to this is working closer with businesses. He was interested in my own experience working with big banks and law firms and we talked about how he could attract such firms.
Charlie left Future Frontiers in July to pursue his vision full on. He secured the involvement of an equally impressive co-founder, Adrian Blair, a former COO of Just Eat and current non-executive director of Purple Bricks.
I met with Charlie and Adrian in the summer to discuss their ideas and how I could help.
Maximise career potential
In September, Charlie and Adrian launched their new organisation, Circl.
Circl’s mission is to provide school age students from less-privileged backgrounds with the skills, contacts and opportunities to maximise their career potential by matching secondary schools with businesses.
The students are brought to the business to be coached by their employees onsite, providing a convenient way for businesses to get involved plus an aspirational environment for the students.
The programme runs over six sessions in two years, equating to one day per term at the business, plus online contact in the meantime between the student and their coach.
Value to businesses
The key to the proposition is the huge value it brings to the business.
The employees are trained by Circl to deliver one-to-one coaching, then given a live environment with the students in which to carry out the skills they’ve learnt.
Charlie has done his research, as well as being the right age himself, and understands that young adults place a high value on engagement and social conscious from their employers.
As such Circl not only provides valuable skills, it helps motivate and build loyalty among socially conscious young professionals.
How you can help
Charlie has set himself a target of reaching 100,000 students by 2025 and I’m delighted he and Adrian have appointed me to Circl’s advisory board, so I’ll be doing everything I can to help reach this target.
To do this we need to speak to the right people within large banks and lenders.
These people will work within training and development or human resources at firms with a strong social conscious and which value employee engagement.
If you are one of these people, or can make an introduction to someone who is, please get in touch on email@example.com to find out more about Circl.
Mortgage industry plans ‘sleepout’ to raise awareness on homeless
This follows the massive response from a large number of mortgage brokers and lenders to Rob Jupp’s tweet.
Brightstar CEO tweeted: “Shocking how many ‘rough sleepers’ there are in London. I can’t remember a time where there have been so many. It’s a national outrage!”
In response of his tweet, Maria Harris, Atom Bank director of retail mortgages, suggested a financial services CEO sleepout to raise funds and awareness, calling for a Mortgage Sleepout, which got approval from a large number of brokers and lenders.
“It would be a shame to limit this to CEOs. A mortgage-only one wouldn’t be difficult to do. We should do it in the middle of winter as well IMHO,” Rob Jupp tweeted.
Chris Barker, co-owner of Manchester Money, answered on Twitter pointing out that the city of Manchester has a real problem. “When I worked in the city centre ten years ago, you may see one or two people homeless. Now there are people sleeping in every other doorway,” he tweeted.
Nicola Firth, founder of Knowledge Bank, tweeted: “Count me in 100%. Every year we take part in The Rucksack Project locally and volunteer at Christmas at the local shelter. It breaks my heart to see people on the street and especially in winter when it must be unbearable.”
Having seen the massive response from the industry, Rob Jupp tweeted: “I am simply overwhelmed and staggered by how many of you have been in touch as a result of a tired and emotion- driven tweet, late last night. Let’s make the #MortgageSleepOut happen. Thanks to Maria Harris for the idea and for so many of you showing that you do care #Emotional.”
Rob Jupp told Mortgage Solutions they are going to talk further but nothing has been confirmed yet.
“Every town faces this issue, not just London. London and Manchester are equally horrific,” he said.
“I am glad to see this was hugely supported by people in the industry in the latest 24 hours, which means that people feel the same. The mortgage community has always been very supportive.”
If you want to support the initiative, join the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #MortgageSleepOut!
Future Frontiers: How to be a career coach and mentor – Rob Gill
I harbour dreams of becoming a full time crypto-currency trader. However, when I got the chance to have a few months off work recently, I realised that spending too much time on any of these passions wouldn’t be good for my sanity or bank balance.
Fortunately, technology of a non-Blockchain variety helped me find another outlet. Through the power of Google, I got in touch with Future Frontiers, an award-winning charity who train and provide volunteer career coaches to young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. Their head of partnerships promptly got in touch, signed me up to a training course and got me involved.
Pushing the boundaries
Over the following months, I worked with Future Frontiers and its schools in a number of different ways. First and foremost, I coached half a dozen pre-GSCE students at a school in South London, using the Future Frontiers programme to help them identify and research an inspiring career, then build an academic plan to achieve the qualifications towards this career.
I gave talks in schools to assemblies of over 200 students. A rather daunting prospect although fortunately the subject matter of ‘Success is not a straight line’ was right up my street. I also undertook some professional expert calls, giving guidance on my first career as an investment banker. Bizarrely I haven’t had any kids wanting to become a mortgage broker.
Time to step up
Future Frontiers is doing amazing work and wants do much more. The charity would like to hear from other professionals keen to become volunteer career coaches.
It really wants to attract more businesses to work with the team and the schools on an exciting programme where they bring students to a place of work to undertake the coaching onsite. This provides a convenient way for businesses and their employees to take part in coaching, plus an aspirational environment for the students.
If you’re interested in becoming a coach, or can help with an introduction to a large bank or other corporate, I’d love to put you in touch with the inspiring people behind this brilliant initiative. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working with them, their schools and the students and am sure the generous people of the mortgage industry will want to add their support.
For more on how to become a mentor to students on the Future Frontiers programme, see the website.
Email Rob Gill, partner at Mercury FX for more information.
Buckinghamshire BS ditches Secret Santa to support homeless charity
Gillian Nickless, HR manager at the mutual, said: “We usually do a Secret Santa at our Christmas party, but this year as a staff we were keen to spend the money supporting a good local cause.
“We have been overwhelmed with the staff’s support for this initiative, donating household items such as duvets or sleeping bags or essential food and toiletries,” she continued.
Sheena Dykes, chair of trustees at Wycombe Homeless Connection, said: “Our key aim is to reduce the harms of homelessness. Our support centre is open every week day; we give out emergency food, clothing and bedding to those on the street and help people find or keep accommodation.”
Dykes continued: “We also run the Wycombe Winter Night Shelter during the three bleakest months of the year, so people have somewhere warm and safe to sleep.”
“We were so pleased when the society contacted us, it’s wonderful seeing local businesses getting involved to help their community and we always welcome the support,” she added.
Brightstar marks World Mental Health Awareness Day
The focus for the day has been about raising the profile of mental health and helping to deal with stress, with the team at Brightstar engaging in a variety of activities.
Meanwhile, team members tested out their cooking skills to contribute to The Great British Brightstar Picnic with ticket sales for the picnic raising funds, as have donations for stress busting treatments such as head and hand massages, given by an on-site therapist in the Brightstar Wellbeing Room.
The firm created a raft of educational posters, leaflets and a social media campaign and team members have also been reminded about our corporate membership of Anxiety UK and the access that this gives them to helplines, support and services, wherever needed.
Through its Mental Health Action Plan, Brightstar continues to support Anxiety UK and Mind Basildon as their charities for the year and also to raise awareness about mental health issues both within and beyond the walls of Brightstar.