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.

The West Brom offers homes and jobs to Ukrainian Refugees

The West Brom offers homes and jobs to Ukrainian Refugees

The homes will be available through the mutual’s property letting subsidiary, West Brom Homes. It will include premises above some of its bank branches. The properties will be free of charge for a minimum of six months. 

The initiative will work with the government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme which has been overwhelmed with people offering to house those fleeing the conflict.

The West Brom has already registered 11 homes through the scheme and is reviewing its portfolio for any homes that may become available soon. 

The mutual will use the £350 monthly government scheme payout to support their Ukranian tenants by putting the money towards furniture, appliances and toiletries. Using the money for food, clothing and fuel will be considered in the future.

Jonathan Westhoff, the West Brom’s chief executive, said the mutual was “shocked by the devastation” resulting from the conflict in Ukraine. 

He added: “We have been considering how best we can help, and offering homes to refugees is one way we will be able to support individuals and families in the coming weeks and months. Primarily by not re-letting vacant, or soon to be vacant, properties we can immediately offer 11 homes in the Midlands, South Wales and Bristol. 

“We cannot begin to imagine what those fleeing the conflict have experienced, but we can offer this gesture as a way to provide security and safety.” 

Support with employment

The West Brom will also look to support refugees with employment in administration, customer services, IT, and other roles once they are settled. 

Those seeking employment do not need to be housed by the West Brom. 

The mutual will also provide training and career guidance such as interview techniques and CV writing to help refugees prepare for a job either at the West Brom or within the wider job market. 

Westhoff added: “We know that this crisis will be ongoing, and whilst we can help with accommodation now, we also want to look at how we can help in the future.  

“We know the next step for some will be to find employment once they are ready, and we will be able to offer a variety of roles to applicants across a variety of departments as another way to help them settle and provide security for the future.”

Skipton BS donates £50,000 to Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal

Skipton BS donates £50,000 to Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal


It will also welcome anyone who wants to donate to the appeal to visit one of its branches or call the team on 0345 850 1722. Money will be donated to a dedicated account. 

People can also donate by bank transfer with the following details: Sort code 20-78-91; Account number 70798924; Reference 997580860. 

Skipton is also contacting its Ukrainian customers to offer financial help and support if needed. 

Stacey Stothard (pictured), Skipton’s head of sustainability, said: “Skipton Building Society stands with Ukraine and the international community as it deals with a devastating humanitarian crisis in the heart of Europe. 

“The Disasters Emergency Committee is working hard to provide shelter, food and water for families fleeing the conflict, including an estimated 500,000 people who have already arrived at neighbouring countries with nothing but the clothes on their backs. These families need help, and in launching this dedicated account together with a Skipton donation of £50,000, we’re aiming to get much needed funds to them as quickly as we can.” 

She added: “For more than 169 years, Skipton has believed in building better futures – for everyone. Now, as the humanitarian crisis grows in Ukraine, that future is being put under threat for many families. Skipton stands with countless others in offering its support to all those affected.” 

Mortgage Sleep Out 2022 aims to raise £250k

Mortgage Sleep Out 2022 aims to raise £250k


The event is to take place later this year on 25 November, with hundreds of people from across the industry expected to forgo their bed for a night to raise funds.

It will be the first time since the pandemic the event has taken place.

The Mortgage Sleep Out raised £110,000 in 2018 to support the End Youth Homelessness movement, after 25 events took place with about 500 people sleeping outside.

This year the fundraising is much more ambitious, with the campaign hoping the 2022 SleepOut will be a bigger event.

Will Lloyd-Hayward, spokesperson for the Mortgage SleepOut initiative, said he hopes the whole industry will be involved in this year’s event.

He added: “We last held Mortgage Sleep Out in 2018, which was of course prior to the pandemic.

“Since then, everyone has experienced a very turbulent time and, unfortunately, these situations often impact those in the most desperate situations the worst.

“So, we are determined to make the 2022 Mortgage Sleep Out even bigger and more successful at raising funds for End Youth Homelessness.”

Paradigm promises to match donations to support Red Cross in Ukraine

Paradigm promises to match donations to support Red Cross in Ukraine


The mortgage distributor has set up a Just Giving page to accept donations which will go directly to the British Red Cross Society’s appeal to help the Ukrainian Red Cross.

Paradigm’s parent company Tatton Asset Management plc has pledged to match donations made via the page, which can be viewed here:

Paradigm is also working with the Association of Mortgage Intermediaries (AMI) on the fundraising campaign to reach the wider industry and provide more support to those caught up in the war in Ukraine.

All money will go to provide food, medicine, clothing and shelter, as we all as first aid training in bomb shelters. The Red Cross has continued to distribute food and hygiene parcels plus thousands of litres of water since the fighting began.

Paradigm has asked its members and all stakeholders within the advisory community to share details of the appeal or other campaigns to raise funds for the people of Ukraine.

Bob Hunt, chief executive at Paradigm Mortgage Services (pictured), said: “To witness what is happening in Ukraine right now is truly devastating. We’ve been looking at different ways we can support the Ukrainian people whose lives have been turned upside down by this illegal war perpetrated upon them by Russia.

“We’ve therefore teamed up with AMI to set up this Just Giving page to accept donations to the British Red Cross appeal for Ukraine which will directly support their incredibly important work right across the country.

“We’re also pleased to say that Tatton Asset Management will be matching these donations, helping to raise more valuable funds for these individuals.

“Many people will already have donated in a number of ways, but if you’ve yet to do this, we’re asking all those associated with our industry to show their support for the Ukrainian people whose lives have been turned upside down by these events.”

Robert Sinclair, chief executive of AMI, added: “The humanitarian disaster being created by the conflict in Ukraine should be of concern to us all. The movement of millions of women and children across Europe is going to create a need for aid at levels not seen in Europe since WW2.

“The British Red Cross has the expertise, capability and capacity to provide direct assistance to those most in need, where hopefully they can operate under a flag of safety. AMI is supportive of initiatives promoted by firms such as Paradigm for those who want to express their support in a tangible way. We will be sharing this solution with all our membership.”

Vida raises £20,000 for charity partner Crisis

Vida raises £20,000 for charity partner Crisis

Crisis is a national charity for people experiencing homelessness. 

The lender raised the funds by donating £29.06 for every application it received in December.  

Vida has pledged to raise at least £150,000 over three years for Crisis, and in October it held an alternative marathon which involved employees at all levels. 

The event consisted of various activities, such as a 2.6-mile sky dive and mixed marathon relay, and a half marathon walk completed by chief executive Anth Mooney and his dog Walter. 

Mooney said: “Christmas is a time for giving, and we’re thrilled to have raised over £20,000 in support of Crisis helping 650 homeless people. At Vida we believe no one should be forced into homelessness and we want to bring attention to such an important cause and make a difference.  

“I know I speak for everyone at Vida when I say we are delighted to be partnered with Crisis to assist the fantastic work they do to change people’s lives for the better.” 

Enra and MT Finance raise £20,000 in Christmas charity match

Enra and MT Finance raise £20,000 in Christmas charity match


The seven-a-side game took place on Thursday 16 December with staff members from each lender. It was agreed that the losing team would split a £5,000 donation between each charity. 

However, the winning team decided to match the amount bringing the total donation from both lenders to £10,000. Additionally, a Just Giving page was set up to raise extra money and the total currently stands at £20,000. 

The match was won by Enra Finance with a score of 5-0. 

Danny Waters, CEO of Enra Specialist Finance, said: “As a business, we are committed to supporting a variety of charities through annual donations and fundraising activities. We decided it would be a good idea in the run up to Christmas to get together and enjoy some healthy competition in this football match while raising money for good causes. 

“Spread a Smile and Great Ormond Street Hospital are two fantastic charities that work closely together to help children and their families. It was a great match and people have been very generous in helping us raise an amazing amount of money so far.” 

Joshua Elash, director at MT Finance, added: “We are delighted to have had the opportunity to raise a phenomenal amount of money for two amazing charities which are close to our heart. 

“A huge thanks to Danny Waters and the Enra Group for the game and also credit to the marketing teams at both companies who managed to turn a Thursday night football game into a hugely successful charitable event. We are very proud to have participated and look forward to a rematch.” 

Vida runs ‘alternative marathon’ for Crisis charity

Vida runs ‘alternative marathon’ for Crisis charity


Vida’s employees at all levels will take part in a variety of activities, such as a 2.6-mile sky dive and a mixed marathon relay. Chief executive Anth Mooney will also walk his dog Walter in a half marathon. 

This is the second fundraising event the lender has arranged for Crisis since partnering last year. 

Vida pledged to donate at least £150,000 to Crisis over a three-year period. 

Mooney said the alternative marathon was inspired by the London Marathon, which the lender wanted to replicate in “some small way with a twist”. 

He added: “The aim was to bring people together after a tough 18 months in support of our charity partner Crisis in a way that is open to everyone regardless of interests, ability or location. 

“At Vida we believe no-one should be forced into homelessness. I’m grateful to all my colleagues who are taking part, or supporting, our first alternative marathon. I know I speak for everyone at Vida when I say we are delighted to be partnered with Crisis to assist the fantastic work they do to change people’s lives for the better.” 

Richard Lee, head of fundraising at Crisis, said: “We are so pleased to be working with Vida and support their efforts in raising vital funds with the alternative marathon.  

“The past year has been incredibly tough for everyone and having somewhere safe and secure to call home has never been more important. With Vida’s help, we can support people and help them find a path out of homelessness for good.” 

RIP John Murray, journalist and author (24.06.1947 to 14.07.2021)

RIP John Murray, journalist and author (24.06.1947 to 14.07.2021)


He was a cheery man, always curious, often too totally absorbed in the pages of Mortgage Finance Gazette, which he edited for six years, to join in the daft editorial office mayhem. John was most often seen shuttling in and out, particularly around lunchtime, with commercial manager Mike Mortimore, sipping his Cappuccinos which left chocolate on his top lip, hunched over his desk or sharing the edition’s top news story with anyone in earshot.

He enjoyed a rage-fuelled rant after rudeness or an injustice and harboured magnificent grudges.

John was always generous in his praise of good journalism, found time for people and was consistently up for an inappropriate pint. He spoke often and lovingly about Pam his gorgeous wife who he always considered far ‘too good for him’ and his son Nick, daughter Natasha and grandson Thomas.

He had always fostered loftier ambitions, which he realised writing three novels, penning the one he appeared the most proud of, Elvis and the Virgin Mary in 2015.

More recently, John’s Facebook page was testament to the frequent walks he took in South London with his wife Pam and his love of wildlife photography. His passion for travel culminated in a Chimpanzee and Mountain gorilla tracking trip to Uganda just before his cancer diagnosis.

John was born in Kidderminster to an Austrian mother and an Irish father from County Mayo. He grew up in Shepherds Bush, was an ardent QPR fan and flitted between journalism and PR throughout his career which began in the 1960s with Sun Alliance and London Insurance Group. He moved into training at the Distributive Industry Training Board pioneering the use of video as a learning tool then on to the Building Societies Association (BSA) in 1982 to manage corporate communications and commercial activities.

He became editor of Mortgage Finance Gazette in 2000 at Charterhouse Communications, the place where so many of us started out and moved to Lending Strategy in 2006 where he reigned supreme until 2009 when the crash tumbled the standalone magazine but John stayed on as consulting editor.

John died at home in his own bed last week, after a brave battle with cancer.

In his own words, John said: “By accident rather than design I found myself as an expert in housing finance but at a strategic rather than an operational level.

“As a journalist I liked exploring new ideas and challenging old mantras, and this is exactly what I have continued to do in my books.”

The last time I saw John was two years ago, give or take, for another inappropriate pint in the Cittie of Yorke in Holborn. He lovingly re-told me the plot of Elvis and the Virgin Mary which I promised I’d read but never did. I looked the book up again on Amazon today which involves Elvis returning from the dead, a heroine committed by parents to a mental institution and a reality TV series which all climaxes in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

Nice one John.

I’m going to have a pint, raise it to you and start reading tonight.


With thanks to Pamela Murray and family.

Buy the Kindle version of Elvis and the Virgin Mary here.