Mortgage brokers to take on Three Peaks challenge for charity

Mortgage brokers to take on Three Peaks challenge for charity

The Three Peaks challenge involves climbing Ben Neis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon ‒ the three highest peaks in Scotland, England and Wales respectively ‒ consecutively, with a 24 hour period. In total that means scaling 23 miles of mountain.

The challenge has been organised by James McGregor (pictured), director of Mesa Financial, in order to raise money for Blood Cancer UK. It was inspired by McGregor’s friend Sinead, who was diagnosed with leukemia at the start of this year at the age of 30.

McGregor announced that he was arranging a Three Peaks trip to raise money for Blood Cancer UK on social media, and says he was “pleasantly surprised” when a number of mortgage industry colleagues said they would like to join. 

They include Colin Payne from Chapelgate Private Finance, Zara Yeganeh from Enness Global, and Tom Biffen from Seymours Estate Agents.

The team have set the target of raising £5,000 from their efforts on 1 July, and have so far raised £3,395. You can donate on their Justgiving page.

McGregor has promised to document the whole experience across social channels, and added: “We still have space as we have a 17 seater bus taking us between the mountains so if anyone else fancies joining, then be our guest.”

Broker Chris Hall to auction DIY river table for mental health charity

Broker Chris Hall to auction DIY river table for mental health charity

The idea to create a river table initially came to Hall when he began asking lenders to send them his branded pens. Originally, Hall thought to put them in a presentation case and auction it off for charity but said “as the pens came in, the mind started to work”. 

He has accumulated around 100 pens which he said looked “very impressive” so far. 

Hall added: “Somebody’s going to sit at their desk and see over 100 pens in the table. Especially if a broker wins the table, they can just glance and see over all the lenders and give them a reminder of how many are out there.” 

Hall has been sharing updates of every firm which contributes pens to the project and said it was interesting to see that smaller lenders ranked higher on analytics and had more engagement. 

He said this was an indicator of which lenders engaged more with their colleagues and broker communities. 

A poll was run to decide which charitable cause the auction and raffle money should be raised for, with options of the Ukraine crisis, mental health, homelessness or other. 

Respondents chose mental health as the cause. 

Hall said: “What’s happening in Ukraine is really terrible, the war is devastating which is why it was one of the choices on the poll. The two favourites took the lead, which were homelessness and mental health. I guess it’s because we’re in the business of putting people in homes.  

“But a lot of people are struggling with mental health, post-credit crunch regulation has quadrupled the work of a broker. Many work weekends and into the evening, it’s not a nine to five job and many struggle with their mental health because of that.” 

He added: “This started off as a crazy project, but it’s been a revelation in many ways.” 

Hall will run another poll to decide which charity the money goes to. 

 

The task at hand 

Hall, who is also an ex-Air Force engineer, sourced the wood for the table from a local forest and it is currently acclimatising to the indoors. 

The table will be executive sized, with clear or blue resin poured in. 

The acclimatisation process should be complete by July and in September, Hall will work on building the table. 

Hall will put the table together as he does his usual mortgage advising so he will dedicate the weekends to the task. The resin will be poured in stages. 

He said: “I still have my eye on maybe a dozen lenders who should be able to send some pens in, then it’s case of getting the table together. Preparation is everything, it takes you maybe five minutes to pour the resin, but the preparation might take two or three days.” 

Hall originally wanted to fund the construction of the table himself, but once the wood was cut, he realised the resin river would be wider than originally thought and therefore more expensive. He said a few lenders had offered to sponsor the material costs. 

As most river tables which are coffee-table sized sell for around £400, while larger imported tables cost around £4,000. Hall expects his to have a value of at least £6,000 so wants to raise up to £10,000 for it. He added: “It really depends on the support I can get.” 

He said he wanted more support from brokers by liking and sharing his updates on LinkedIn. 

Hall plans to raise the money for the charity on JustGiving, then choose the winner depending on who has contributed. 

“I just feel it’s part of a historic project,” he added. 

The Tipton donates £4,000 through its Charitable Foundation

The Tipton donates £4,000 through its Charitable Foundation

 

A £2,300 donation to the Mary Stevens Hospice will help fund the cost of its carer groups which provides support to their patients. The funds will help cover the costs for a number of specialist supplies. These groups ensure carers receive support, advice, emergency respite, bereavement support, and more.

The Charitable Foundation has also donated £700 to Better Understanding of Dementia for Sandwell (BUDS). BUDS provides support for people experiencing dementia, through a number of weekly activities around the borough of Sandwell.

Finally, a donation of £1,000 has been made to the charity AbilityNet, which has been providing free tech support to older and disabled people for over 20 years. The donation will be used to help the charity recruit new volunteers and run an advertising campaign to raise awareness of its services.

Amy Fellows, branches and training manager and member of the Charitable Foundation, at the Tipton said: “This is a tough time for local charities as many are worried about the effect that cost of living increases will have on those that depend on their services.

“We hope our latest donations to these three great local causes will go a long way to help them continue the fantastic job they do in our community.”

Just Mortgages raises £20,000 for ‘Magic Moments’ children charity

Just Mortgages raises £20,000 for ‘Magic Moments’ children charity

The charity was set up in 1998 by Alick Smith, who at the time was the chairman of Spicerhaart, the property group which Just Mortgages is a part of. 

The charity supports 13 children’s hospices across the country which are near to the estate agency’s branch network. This allows staff to visit the sites and see the results of fundraising efforts. 

The charity was formerly known as the Fantasy Charity Fund and has raised over £1m since its foundation. It pays for children from the hospices to go on trips to Disneyland Paris with their families and any additional funds are used to provide equipment. 

The contribution from Just Mortgages will go towards the charity’s annual fundraising target of £75,000. 

John Phillips (pictured), national operations manager at Just Mortgages, said: “This is a wonderful charity and one that is close to our hearts at Just Mortgages and the wider Spicerhaart family.   

“Even in the midst of great pressure on individual finances, staff have once again shown an amazing commitment and dedication to fundraising and their individual generosity and generosity of spirit will make such a difference to the children supported by Magic Moments.   

He added: “It was a tremendous honour to be able to announce at our annual conference that we are going to be able to present a cheque of £20,000 to the charity. I am hugely proud of all our staff and also humbled by the wonderful work done by the team at Magic Moments.”

Leeds BS Ukraine appeal raises over £100,000

Leeds BS Ukraine appeal raises over £100,000

The mutual said that it had matched fundraising and donations from colleagues and members, and that the majority would go to the Disasters Emergency Committee appeal.

It added that a £10,000 donation would go straight to Leeds Together for Ukraine, coordinated by Leeds City council, to support plans to house and settle Ukrainian refugees in the city.

Richard Fearon (pictured), chief executive of Leeds BS, thanked those who had donated, adding that they had responded with compassion and generosity to the humanitarian crisis.

“When we announced our intention to help, our members and colleagues stepped forward swiftly as we knew they would.

“I want to thank everyone who has come together to support this appeal for relief efforts in Ukraine and to help Ukrainian refugees in the UK,” he said.

The mutual is also redeveloping an office space above its Peterborough branch to serve as emergency accommodation for refugees.

Other actors in the mortgage market have raised money for the Ukraine crisis, including The Cumberland, Yorkshire Building Society, Conveyancing Foundation, Skipton Building Society and Paradigm.

Brightstar Group to hold week of events around loneliness

Brightstar Group to hold week of events around loneliness

The group’s mental health first aid team will be leading activities during the week to raise awareness in recognising signs that people may be experiencing loneliness and offer guidance on what to do if you feel lonely, as well as how to support others.

The group will also be raising money for charities Alzheimer’s Society and SANE, as well as providing education on how both dementia and mental health problems link to loneliness.

Clare Jupp (pictured), director of people development at The Brightstar Group, said: “We will have a different daily theme that considers the concept of loneliness, and we are planning a team challenge to encourage people to work with other team members with whom they may not usually have a close working relationship or friendship.

“We are trying to promote inclusivity and ensure that team members who might feel slightly isolated for different reasons, perhaps because they are new or shy, work together.

“At the Sirius office we have assembled talking groups to define loneliness and consider what factors lead to loneliness and isolation in an effort to be more aware of potentially vulnerable people and offer support where needed.

“We’ll also be fundraising for the mental health charity SANE and the Alzheimer’s Society. Many people suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia feel isolated, as do their friends, family and carers, who often face very difficult situations with the day-to-day challenges of supporting a person suffering from dementia.

“This also ties in with the charity ball that our group chief operating officer, William Lloyd-Hayward, is organising in the autumn. There are still tables available, so there remain opportunities for businesses in the industry to support this extremely worthwhile cause.”

Connells Survey & Valuation donates £10,000 to LionHeart

Connells Survey & Valuation donates £10,000 to LionHeart

LionHeart is the only benevolent fund established to specifically support the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors’ (RICS) members and their families.

The charity’s aim is “to be there for members whenever life throws them a curve ball, from the very beginning of their career as an Assessment of Professional Competence (APC) candidate or apprentice, right through to retirement.”

LionHeart has upcoming webinars and events in May and June that focus on a variety of topics like bereavement, anxiety and change, mental health awareness, gardening, suicide, resilience, cancer, presentation skills, mindfulness and meditation, caring for the elderly, and interview coaching.

In 2021, the charity delivered a range of webinars and workshops to Connells staff, with focuses including physical activity for wellbeing, effective lone working, and mental health in the workplace.

Ross Bowen, managing director of Connells Survey and Valuation, said: “We are very proud to continue our fantastic partnership with LionHeart. Surveying involves much lone working, so it’s great for our colleagues to understand and benefit from the support LionHeart provides.

“I’d like to thank everyone involved with organising and delivering the webinars and workshops to our colleagues, and we look forward to another productive year of working with LionHeart.”

Davina Goodchild, CEO of LionHeart, said: “We are very grateful to Connells for its support. As the only charity that specifically supports the RICS community, we’re always very grateful when firms in the industry choose to make donations to us. We’re proud to count Connells as one of our corporate partners and look forward to continuing our work with them in future to support their wellbeing objectives and help them provide a happy, healthy and supportive environment in which their employees thrive.”

LionHeart is an independent charity for RICS professionals, past and present, and their surrounding families. Their aim is to be there for members from the very beginning of their career right through to retirement. The support they provide aims to get RICS members through any of life’s challenges, ranging from financial support, to health and wellbeing, and access to legal advice. Their support extends to past and present RICS members, and their partners and dependants.

Click here to make a donation to LionHeart

The Cumberland BS donates £10,000 to Ukraine refugees

The Cumberland BS donates £10,000 to Ukraine refugees

The fund will be run by the Cumbria Community Foundation (CCF), which is Dovenby-based charity which gives grants to support those in need.

It will be available for all refugees in Cumbria, not solely those from Ukraine.

The mutual added that money from the fund will be available to Cumbrian communities offering housing to Ukrainian refugees, adding that 130 families had already linked up with Ukrainian refugees to offer housing with more to come.

Over £30,000 has been raised for the Welcome Fund as Cumbrians look to support Ukrainians forced to leave their homes.

Claire Deekes, head of retail distribution at The Cumberland’s head office in Carlisle, said: “We have all watched in horror as events in Ukraine have unfolded and the desperate scenes of ordinary people fleeing for their lives.

“Many people in Cumbria want to help so we have made this donation to the Welcome Fund which will help our local communities to look after them when they arrive.”

CCF chief executive Andy Beeforth said he welcomed the donation from the Cumberland to the Welcome Fund, and that this, along with other donations from businesses and local people, would make a “huge difference”.

“We have already had a good response after highlighting the fund last week. It is an established means of supporting refugees in the county and ensures that donations will be used most effectively,” he said.

Several lenders have made donations in recent weeks, including Yorkshire Building Society donating £50,000 to the Disasters Emergency Committee and Skipton Building Society giving £50,000 to the Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal.

Paradigm added that it would match donations to support the Red Cross in Ukraine.

YBS removes admin barriers for Homes for Ukraine applicants

YBS removes admin barriers for Homes for Ukraine applicants

 

The mutual said that it wanted to remove any mortgage-based barriers for customers who get accepted on to the scheme.

Ben Merritt, director of mortgages at YBS, said: “Since the government announced the creation of the Homes for Ukraine scheme we’ve worked on making it as easy and simple as possible for those who want to help to do so.

“This takes away any further administration for borrowers that are helping people in unimaginable situations. We’ve been supporting people to have a place to call home for 158 years and we see this as enabling our customers to do the same for Ukrainian refugees.”

Last month YBS donated £50,000 to the Disasters Emergency Committee’s Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal and unrestricted the causes colleagues can support through its paid volunteering scheme, which allocates each employee 31 hours paid leave every year to give practical help, sorting and packing donations in support of Ukraine.

The Homes for Ukraine scheme was launched in March and allows individuals, charities, community groups and business in the UK to house refugees.

According to the latest figures from the government, around 32,200 visa applications have been received under the scheme and 4,700 visas have been issued.

Lenders, including Skipton Building Society, have voiced support for the scheme but brokers have expressed concerns around how it may impact mortgage affordability, and called for more information around criteria for buy-to-let landlords, owner occupiers and tenancies.

Conveyancing Foundation launches Ukraine appeal with DEC

Conveyancing Foundation launches Ukraine appeal with DEC

At least three million people have already fled their homes to escape the conflict in Ukraine, which is predicted to affect 18 million in total in the coming months. The non-profit foundation hopes to raise thousands of pounds to help Ukrainians in desperate need in the coming months.

All funds raised through the Lotto will be donated to the official DEC Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal. The DEC brings together 15 leading UK aid charities to raise funds quickly and efficiently at times of crisis overseas. By pooling resources to work as one, the DEC is pivotal in co-ordinating the UK public’s response to overseas disasters.

You can contribute to the Conveyancing Foundation by clicking here

More about DEC Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal here

Since 2010, the Conveyancing Foundation Charity Lotto has helped to raise over £860,000 for local and national charities through a monthly draw which clients of lotto members can enter at the end of their transactions for a chance to win £500.

A minimum donation of £10 gets additional Gift Aid, meaning that the DEC gets £11.25 per donation. Anyone can now take part, from brokers to lenders to estate agents and their families, everyone in the industry is being asked to help. Corporate sponsorship opportunities are also available.

Nicola Lancaster, spokesperson for the Conveyancing Foundation, said: “£30 could provide hygiene supplies for three people for one month, £50 could provide blankets for four families and £100 could provide emergency food for two families for one month. By participating in the charity lotto you will be raising funds that will help DEC charities in Ukraine and neighbouring countries meet the needs of all refugees and displaced people.”

“Companies that pledge £1,000 or over will be marketed on the foundation appeal webpage and all publications in conjunction with this appeal. We will also work with you to produce a dual branded video that you can share amongst your contacts to raise awareness and promote your involvement to your clients.”

Lloyd Davies, managing director of Convey Law, and chairman of the Conveyancing Foundation, said Convey Law had chosen to donate all of the funds it raised through the charity lotto in March to help launch the appeal with an initial donation of £15,000.

He said: “It is quite simply the right thing to do for us to switch our charity fundraising focus to broader world events where thousands of people are facing a critical situation and need us all to take notice and support them.

“The conveyancing and property industry has a great tradition of charity fundraising and I urge everyone to get behind this appeal and to share it far and wide. We need to help these people who desperately need our support right now.

“By opening the Charity Lotto up to the public for the first time, we are hoping that it will enable us to raise significant sums of money as quickly as possible, as speed is the essence in getting supplies and aid to the many thousands of displaced people.”