Banking on Kindness: Our incredible partnership with the Royal Bank of Scotland Dundee Staff Team

How it all began

As one of the busiest city centre banks in Scotland, the team at Royal Bank of Scotland in Dundee knows the effects of the cost-of-living crisis all too well.

So, when they decided to embark on a local charity partnership, they were determined to focus on families and, after an informal web search, found Dundee Bairns.

Looking back to January 2022, during their first meeting with Project Manager Genna Millar, Katie Fuchs, Dundee Manager, said, “We have regional collaboration hubs at the Bank to help us understand the issues and the activities taking place in the communities which we serve. In many ways, we are a great temperature check of what’s going on in our community.

“So we invited Genna in to hear more and, when she talked through what’s happening locally, you could have heard a pin drop. Hearing about the work Dundee Bairns does and why it’s needed was pretty startling. As soon Genna left, we all looked at each other – we knew this was a charity we had to get behind.”

Employing five people and supported by a board of ten committed trustees, Dundee Bairns is a small charity that prides itself on close relationships.

As a bank, we are engrained in our communities. It’s how we operate and we have always supported causes which resonate with us.

With branches in our city and colleagues living as well as working here, our customers mirror what’s going on in the community and provide a really strong indicator of local issues.  We have a diverse customer-base from those who are very comfortable to those looking to withdraw their final 50 pence. We are acutely aware of the impact of this cost of living crisis and poverty more generally. Most of us also have our own children so, if there’s something we can do to help other families, we want to help.

Like everyone says, Dundee is a village. Everyone knows each other. We really liked the idea of getting to know a charity well, one that’s right on our doorstep. It helps both sides. They can phone us up when they need help urgently but, similarly, they’re part of our culture so we see opportunities where they might be able to help.

Katie Fuchs
Branch Manager

Investing in Dundee bairns

Now in their third year of working together, the 25-strong team, spread across both branches, supports Dundee Bairns in two main ways: through donations and volunteering.

As well as taking part in the Kiltwalk each year, of which Royal Bank is the Headline Sponsor, the team holds quiz nights, bake sales, donates hampers, and invites collection can and gift donations at key times of the year.

Since 2022, now boosted by the bank matching every £500 they raise, the Dundee team has raised over £22,000 for the charity.

Katie continued, “Our customers really get behind our charitable efforts. They’re a huge support and never fail to surprise us with their generosity, even if they’re struggling themselves. When we held our quiz, which raised £3000 on the night, business customers also showed their generosity by donating some truly amazing raffle prizes. It’s incredible to see the wider community rally round. Customers also pop any spare pennies and pounds into our charity cans, which soon mount up to make a real difference.”

However, as Katie added, “It’s not all about the money.”

Just as importantly, colleagues have themselves become heavily involved in the charity’s operations.

Allocated two days’ worth of volunteering hours each year, all Royal Bank staff can spend that time as they wish with many opting to again support Dundee Bairns.  But the Dundee team have gone one step further than that, donating the time of two staff for a couple of hours every weekday of the school Easter, Summer and October school holidays to deliver meals to local groups hosting kids’ activities which are eligible for lunches provided by Dundee Bairns.

In total, around 30 employees have pitched in to help with the Fun and Food programme, ensuring no child goes hungry when school’s out.

Amount raised so far
£ 0 +

What does this mean to Dundee bairns?

Genna Millar, Project Manager, commented, “The way Royal Bank of Scotland has supported us these last three years is beyond brilliant.

“Every single team member is behind our mission. Whatever their work pressures, the weather or staffing challenges, their enthusiasm never fades.

“As well as the staggering sums they have raised for us, we value their time just as much. At the end of the day, without volunteers, we can’t deliver our Fun and Food programme as, for some children, it might be the only meal that they get that day.

“Being connected to such a huge company has also boosted our profile. Just by displaying our pop-up banner in the Chief Office, we get regular offers of help from members of the public and businesses. People really do want to help. It means the world to us.”

... and to the bank?

Summing up, Katie said, “Supporting Dundee Bairns helps connect us as a team and really make a difference to both our customers and the wider community.  We do our best to support customers who are struggling but supporting Dundee Bairns allows us to do more. Even our families and kids get involved; fundraising for Dundee Bairns is contagious!”

Dundee Bairns is a flexible, agile and responsive charity, working to support some of the most vulnerable children in Dundee, supporting many community projects, school groups and services to make sure that no child goes without