We were thrilled to be chosen by Societe Generale, a leading European Financial Services group, as their 7th Charity of the Year partner 2015-2017. This was our first major partnership in the banking sector and it has made a massive difference to us and the people we support.
Voted for by Societe Generale's employees, the two-year partnership aimed to raise £600,000 through fundraising activities across the UK Group. The partnership raised an unbelievable £750,000, a huge £150,000 more than the original target.
Funds raised by Societe Generale supported the 'Advice to Action' campaign, helping people with mental health problems to get back on track.
The funding helped us to answer almost 40,000 queries to our helpline, which offers information and advice to help people take the first steps towards better managing their mental health.
The campaign also funded 21 new projects for people with mental health problems to get support, build confidence and find employment in their communities. Projects ranged from a kitchen garden at Tameside, Oldham and Glossop Mind to Plymouth and District Mind's 'Get Into' project offering 1-to-1 specialist and personalised support to individuals for whom their mental health problems and associated stigma are a barrier to getting into work, training or employment.
Paul, 23, a local Plymouth resident, felt 'Get Into' made a significant impact on his life:
"The sessions helped me to look at things in a more positive way. I was given techniques to use to challenge my own negative thinking and this week I applied for a job. I've been out of work for a long time because of my depression, but I feel ready to face the world again."
Societe Generale hit the streets, the mountains and the water to raise funds for Mind.
- Over 100 colleagues, and our very own CEO Paul Farmer CBE, pounded the pavements of London on a 26.2 mile overnight walking marathon that raised £94,000.
- 88 colleagues hit the water in a dragon boat racing contest raising almost £30,000.
- 25 colleagues raised £20,000 when they braved the night to reach the summit of Snowden for sunrise.
- 600 participants raised £90,000 at the JP Morgan Challenge over two years.
Additional funds raised by Societe Generale, over the £600,000 target, will continue to support Mind's helplines, as well as fund at least seven projects in local communities, which will help people with mental health issues move closer or back in to employment.
Not only did Societe Generale raise £750,000 to support Mind's work, their staff provided additional support worth over £50,000 including:
- Workshops for local Mind creative therapies groups at the V&A.
- An Excel training session for people who attend Mind in the City, Hackney and Waltham Forest.
- Advice from Societe Generale communications and marketing teams on local Mind's marketing strategies.
- Mentoring for Mind staff.
- Donations of stock worth over £15,000 to Mind's retail network
Luke attended an Excel training session delivered by Societe Generale:
"I would like to thank Societe Generale for the Microsoft Excel training session to which I was invited to as part of a group from Mind in the City, Hackney and Waltham Forest…James walked us slowly, carefully and patiently through the introduction to Microsoft Excel…I enjoyed myself and now feel much more confident about finding my own way around the programme."
After winning a staff vote, it was clear that mental health was an important issue to Societe Generale employees. Over the course of the partnership Societe Generale focused on the importance of wellbeing, providing wellbeing activities including yoga and meditation for staff. Societe Generale also accessed support from Mind's Workplace Wellbeing team, who provided advice on their Wellbeing Strategy; this led to the establishment of a Wellbeing Committee, a legacy that will far outlive the partnership. The change in culture, executive level sponsorship, and clear set of objectives, ensures that workplace wellbeing will remain a top priority for Societe Generale.
Sadia Ricke, Group Country Head for Societe Generale in the UK, said:
"Building stronger communities is a key pillar in our approach to corporate social responsibility, and we are delighted that thousands of people have and will benefit from essential support towards improved mental wellbeing through Mind's Infoline, and other key projects that will emerge following our two-year partnership with the charity. We also hope to have raised awareness and to help lift the stigma associated with mental health, which is especially important when we know one in four people in the UK will experience a mental health problem in any given year. We are delighted to have exceeded our fundraising target, and congratulate all the Mind networks for the tremendous work they do."