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Your Later Life 2021

Why gifts in Wills are crucial to the future of good causes

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Rob Cope

Director of Remember A Charity

Charities have been there for people in times of need. Now, because of the pandemic, they are struggling — but you can show your support for a good cause with a gift in your Will.

The last 14 months have been tough on people and tough on businesses. But please spare a thought for charities, too, says Rob Cope, because increasing numbers of them have had cuts to their funding and are struggling to survive.

“The charity sector has had to lay-off thousands of staff,” says Cope, Director of Remember A Charity, a coalition of charities set up to encourage gift giving in Wills. “As a result, it’s having to provide the same services — and sometimes more — with fewer staff and resources.”

The grim irony of this is that, in times of crisis, many people rely on charities for support. And the pandemic has been a major crisis that has drastically affected individuals’ physical and mental health, wellbeing and livelihoods. “Going forward, charities will be needed more than ever because they are society’s safety net,” says Cope.

The pandemic has underlined the uncertainty of life and why it’s important to protect those things closest to our hearts.

Even a small donation can make a big difference

That’s why it’s so crucial to a leave a gift in your Will to a charity (or charities) of your choice. It’s quick and easy to do — technology has simplified the process, which is why there’s been an increase of Will-writing online — and even the smallest gift can make a big difference to a good cause.

“Gifts in Wills are vital to many charitable organisations,” says Cope. “During lockdown, traditional ways of fundraising have simply not been possible, for example charity shops have been shut. So, for many charities, this type of donation represents a large percentage of their overall income.”

If there has been one positive from the last year, it’s that people have had the time to reflect on the things that really matter to them. “The pandemic has underlined the uncertainty of life and why it’s important to protect those things closest to our hearts,” says Cope. “That’s where legacy giving comes in. We’ve seen a huge increase of traffic on our website and an increase in the numbers of people who are planning for the future and leaving a charitable gift in their Wills. It’s a great way to say ‘thank you’ to those charities that have been there for you during your lifetime, show them some support, and help future-proof the things you care about.”

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Home » Legacy » Why gifts in Wills are crucial to the future of good causes

Partnering to help make businesses dementia friendly

Charlotte Matier

Director of Development, Alzheimer’s Society

Fermín Martínez
de Hurtado Yela

Sustainability Strategy Manager, Santander UK

People living with dementia worry about their financial independence. That’s why a high street bank has partnered with Alzheimer’s Society to make its services as dementia friendly as possible.

By 2025, it’s estimated that one million people will be living with dementia in the UK. It’s not just an issue for those living with the condition either, because it impacts carers and family members too.

That’s why organisations have to do more to make their services and products as dementia friendly as possible, stresses Charlotte Matier, Director of Development, Alzheimer’s Society.

Take banking, for example. “This is one of the biggest challenges facing people affected by dementia, because they are concerned about losing their financial independence,” says Matier. “They worry about using cash machines and having to deal with different automated tasks or remembering their PIN and security questions. Plus, they are more vulnerable to fraud because they may be less able to judge if a message they receive is a scam.”

So, in 2019, in an effort to become more dementia friendly, Santander formed a partnership with Alzheimer’s Society. This has spawned various initiatives, including the Santander Dementia Steering Group — made up of people affected by dementia — who review Santander’s processes and products; a roster of Santander colleagues who volunteer their time to make Companion Calls to to people affected by dementia for a chat and to check on their wellbeing; and a fundraising drive which has raised over £1.5 million.

Being part of the Santander Dementia Steering Group is empowering for those of us who have dementia. We can have a voice and make changes for the better. Hopefully what we are achieving alongside Santander will in turn help lots of others.’

Tracey, a member of the steering group who is living with dementia

Embedding dementia awareness into a business 

When embarking on a strategic partnership such as this, it’s vital to involve all members of an organisation — from junior team members to senior leadership — from the very start of the process. “Colleagues across the bank had the opportunity to vote on who our charity partner should be,” explains Fermín Martínez de Hurtado Yela, Sustainability Strategy Manager, Santander UK. “It was a good way to get everyone’s engagement from the beginning.”

Once the partnership was formalised, it aimed to deliver mutual benefits for both organisations. “That’s why two colleagues from Alzheimer’s Society have been seconded to our organisation,” explains Martínez de Hurtado Yela. “They are able to leverage our knowledge — and we are able to leverage theirs, ensuring strategic alignment to deliver on a common ambition.”

Dementia awareness to empower colleagues 

The bank has also invited colleagues to join Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Friends programme, an initiative to change people’s perceptions of dementia aiming to transform the way the nation thinks, acts and talks about the condition. This has been taken up by 54% of colleagues. “There is still stigma surrounding dementia,” says Matier. “Awareness helps employees understand more about the condition – what it is and what it is not – meaning they are much better placed to support customers affected by it.”

The Santander Dementia Steering Group uses their lived experience to review the bank’s products and services to make sure they are dementia friendly. An example of this is making the cash machines experience more dementia friendly through use of accessible colours, language and sequencing as well as launching a Carers Card Account, so a carer can have their own card and PIN to help with shopping, getting cash and paying bills.

During Dementia Action Week in May, the bank also launched an external campaign encouraging customers to inform the bank of their dementia diagnosis, to ensure they are accessing support and suitable products, and supported Alzheimer’s Society’s petition to urge the Government to reform social care, and supported Alzheimer’s Society’s petition to urge the Government to reform social care, and supported Alzheimer’s Society’s petition to urge the Government to reform social care [repeated sentence, delete]. 

Dementia awareness and support is now part of the bank’s culture. “One of the strengths of our partnership is that it has delivered holistic outcomes, not simply single solutions to individual challenges,” says Martínez de Hurtado Yela. “The feedback we’ve had from colleagues is that customers and colleagues affected by dementia have responded very positively to it.” 

For information about the dementia-friendly banking initiatives access santander.co.uk/personal/support/supported-banking/dementia

To get support and advice about dementia please contact Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Connect support line (0333 150 3456) or visit alzheimers.org.uk. More information about how to take part in our fundraising activities like Memory Walk is also available on our website.

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