Yorkshire-based Engage, is setting aside at least £1 million over 5 years for the exclusive benefit of its customers and their communities.
The Foundation is part of a wider commitment to ensure that Engage’s customer owners share in its success as an organisation, and realise the advantages of belonging to a mutual in a very real and personal way. Providing superior customer benefits is how the mutual will differentiate its offer, and attract new consumers to the organisation, which currently has around 500,000 customers.
Solely available for customers, the Foundation has been developed in line with their feedback. Customers will play an integral role in its running and they will choose how best to spend the £1m for the benefit of themselves and their communities.
The Foundation will provide £25,000 each for two community projects, and £5,000 each for 15 smaller projects each year, directly benefiting the communities in which customers live.
It will also provide a helping hand to its customers, with personal grants of up to £500 to help themselves or a family member. Such a grant might, in cases of hardship, be used to replace a much needed broken washing machine, fix a leaky roof, assist with school uniform costs, or to get someone back on track by helping them learn a new skill, or gain a qualification.
The Foundation is made possible by the financial strength of the mutual. Money which is surplus to that required to fulfil its long-term policy obligations to customers, is being made available for their use and benefit.
Peter Burrows, the mutual’s chief executive, said, “The Engage Foundation is what being part of a mutual should be about – the benefits of belonging. We know that our products and services add to our customers’ financial security, but we are going a step further and sharing our success as a mutual with our customers. The £1m is for our customers of today, and of tomorrow, and is exclusively for their benefit.”
Engage Mutual has long been committed to making a positive impact on the lives of its customers, but the Engage Foundation is completely new in terms of scale and commitment, providing £1m over 5 years as a minimum. It builds on the mutual’s previous funding initiatives that have been incredibly successful in benefiting both customers and communities in general.
Over the last two years, the mutual’s Engage with your Community awards helped nine community projects across the UK, and touched thousands of lives. From financial support for a customer to establish an outdoor classroom space, or helping another create a community garden in a deprived city area to grow fresh fruit and veg, to funding an outing for 57 autistic children and their carers to see a performance of the Lion King, customers have benefited from belonging.
The mutual has put customers at the very heart of the Foundation, consulted throughout its development and their feedback has influenced and shaped it. They will continue to be involved in its running and long-term management, ultimately deciding how funds will be spent, while shaping its evolution.
All of the mutual’s 500,000 customers are eligible to apply by visiting the Engage Foundation website and completing the application process.