Historic building society HQ helping to prevent homelessness

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13 Nov 2013
by Neil Skinner

An historic former building society head office and branch in Nottingham City Centre is enjoying a new lease of life  – as a place of advice and support for people at risk of losing their homes.

The Nottingham Building Society (The Nottingham) has agreed to lease its former offices on Friar Lane to homelessness charity Framework. The five year deal, agreed at a fraction of the commercial rent, is the latest development in The Nottingham’s desire to build upon the traditional idea of business / charity fundraising relationships and develop instead mutually beneficial business partnerships.

Then and now.

Then and now:  Sir Joseph Stamp, the then Governor of The Bank of England, opens the building in 1929.

The Nottingham, which is in its third year of working with Framework, is helping it respond to the growing number of people requesting urgent help for financial and personal issues that leave them at increased risk of losing their home.

As Chief Executive of an organisation with a long and proud history in Nottingham, it also gives me great pleasure to enable such a significant part of our past to be put to such excellent use.

David Marlow, Chief Executive, The Nottingham

Framework will initially operate a system of drop in and appointments between Mondays and Fridays. (see below for full details). These hours will be extended in the future.

Jon Leighton, Framework’s Operations Manager for Floating Support, explained: “Over the last couple of years we have seen a significant increase in the number of people contacting us for advice and support. This is partly because capacity in other areas has been reduced, and partly as a result of on-going economic hardship.

“Our staff are seeing more people who are struggling to pay the rent, to meet their bills and even to feed themselves. On top of this a significant number of people are being adversely affected by the biggest change to the benefits system in living memory. In April 2013 alone – the month when many of the changes to the welfare system went live – the number of people coming directly to Framework’s central offices for support rose by 50 per cent. Presentations to community drop-in surgeries – run on an adhoc basis in public spaces – rose by 20 per cent in the same month. 

“We have long realised the need for a permanent base in the city centre but establishing one would simply not have been possible without this help from The Nottingham.”

The Nottingham’s relationship with Framework began in a very traditional way when it was nominated by staff as the fundraising beneficiary of its ‘Doing Good Together’ community programme. It has since developed in that time to a mutually beneficial partnership that has seen the two organisations working together on a number of exciting joint ventures – most significantly the launch of unique savings accounts that allow customers to directly support  the building of homes for homeless people.

David Marlow, Chief Executive of The Nottingham, explained: “This latest initiative in what has been a rapidly evolving partnership with Framework, is proof of what can be achieved when a business and charity establish a strong working relationship together. We wanted to take our work together beyond solely fundraising and we appreciate that this kind of practical and pragmatic support helps us both to achieve the outcomes we desire.

“As Chief Executive of an organisation with a long and proud history in Nottingham, it also gives me great pleasure to enable such a significant part of our past to be put to such excellent use. The people who founded this organisation did so to provide affordable homes to local people. I for one think they would be delighted to learn all these years later that this part of our past will be used to help keep local people in their homes.”

The Nottingham has agreed to lease the Friar Lane building to Framework and to Double Impact, a charity that helps people recover from issues of alcohol dependency. They are turning the main foyer of the building into an alcohol free bar, which will be open to customers from the end of January 2014.

The excellent buiding work was completed by Robert Woodhead Ltd.

The History of the Friar Lane Building

The Nottingham, which was founded in 1849 by a group of local business men led by entrepreneur Samuel Fox, grew steadily during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In 1929 it had outgrown its old offices in George Street and secured a new head office site in Friar Lane. The building, which retains most of its original features, was officially opened by Sir Joseph Stamp, the then Governor of The Bank of England. The Nottingham retained the building as its head offices until moving to bigger premises on Parliament Street and more recently to its state of the art head office on Mansfield Road.

Drop-ins

Monday, Wednesday and Friday: 9.30am – 1pm
Tuesday, Thursday: 1pm – 4.30pm

Appointments are also available outside of drop-in hours

The Homelessness Prevention Team can be contacted on 0800 917 1396

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