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One in two of us will receive a cancer diagnosis. It’s easy to think of that as just a number and not realise how many people that actually is, until you meet some of them. I’m a Community Manager here at Virgin Money and in the last year, I have met too many colleagues who have a cancer diagnosis and each one of them will stay with me every day. They are the real people behind the numbers and a reminder of the important role we have to play here at Virgin Money in our work with supporting our charity partner, Macmillan Cancer Support Link opens in a new window.

I feel very privileged and humbled that my job allows me to work with the amazing people at Macmillan every day to make a difference to more people living with or affected by cancer.

Nicola Dawson and friends
Nicola Dawson and friends running miles while raising funds!

Our colleagues are a huge part of our partnership and they went above and beyond in our first year of fundraising. They walked, cycled, ran, baked, donated the last hour of their 2020 pay and some even braved the shave! All of this raised a phenomenal £374,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support!

Cat Briggs before
Our amazing Cat Briggs before...
Cat Briggs after
and after she braved the shave for Macmillan!

Whilst fundraising is vital, we’ve been able to go further than ever before with a charity partner. Colleagues have taken on a variety of volunteering roles, providing telephone support to isolated people living with cancer during the pandemic as well as supporting each other.

"I've been volunteering over the last year as a Macmillan Telephone Buddy. I wanted to get involved because the pandemic has been so difficult for us all but even more so for people living with cancer. It’s been both rewarding and humbling as an hour of my time has provided support and practical help to the service user by allowing them to talk about anything and everything on their mind, from concerns about their condition and treatment to life in general!"

Lynn Purcell, Head of Core Solutions and Macmillan Telephone Buddy

A number of colleagues have also volunteered to take on the role of being a Macmillan Neighbour and have received specialist training from Macmillan to enable them to provide peer to peer support to their colleagues affected by cancer.

“Macmillan is very close to my heart and being a volunteer Macmillan Neighbour, supporting colleagues and their families, is a real honour. I get so much from being able to support others through difficult and stressful times. It helps me understand what they're going through and that we can make a difference. I went through lots of training to take on the role and never once was it a chore. I'm full of love, joy and honour to do this and support those that are suffering."

Natalie Bunn, Virgin Money Host and Macmillan Neighbour

As well as all of the great work internally, we launched Virgin Money Macmillan Guides – a bespoke support service for people living with or affected by cancer. We’re the first UK bank to offer such support. Macmillan Guides are customer-facing Virgin Money colleagues in Stores and contact centres , who have volunteered to be Guides. They’ve received bespoke training from Macmillan to help them to better support our customers living with or affected by cancer. It was important for us to offer this support as 83% of people with cancer in the UK experience some kind of financial impact from their diagnosis.

“I volunteered to become a Macmillan Guide at our Fargate Store after previous experience volunteering as a receptionist at a local hospice. I wanted to offer my time and support to our customers living with cancer and their families. This could involve offering financial support, signposting Macmillan services or simply listening in a quiet corner. It makes me feel really proud to think that I could make someone feel better, if only for a short period of time."

Michelle Moulds, Virgin Money Host and Macmillan Guide
Greg Pilgrim
Greg Pilgrim taking on a virtual cycle for Macmillan

And we’re not done yet! We’ve extended our partnership with Macmillan by a further two years where we’ll continue to raise money by engaging colleagues in four big Macmillan Moments throughout each year. We’ll increase awareness of the ground-breaking Macmillan Guides programme and build on that to be there for more people living with or affected by cancer. We’ll also support awareness campaigns alongside Macmillan to develop deeper programmes of activity as we recognise the support we provide can be life changing.

James Peirson, General Counsel & Purpose Officer says, “I'm delighted we've been able to extend our partnership with Macmillan for a further two years. This will allow us to make an even bigger difference to people living with cancer. We're excited to develop our current programmes to leave a lasting legacy for colleagues and customers.”

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