A Birmingham-based bank set up to cater for organisations in the ‘social economy, has proved it practices what it preaches by surpassing an ambitious target for staff volunteering.

Unity Trust Bank’s Unity in The Community (UiTC) staff volunteer programme, which gives every member of staff five paid days a year to support charities or good causes, saw its 86-day target surpassed with more than 50 employees completing a total of 113 days voluntary work for 19 charities and social organisations.

The Brindleyplace-based bank was set up in 1984 by a number of the country’s largest trade unions to create the UK’s first trade union-owned bank.

It is a specialist bank for organisations in the social economy providing specialist day-to-day banking and affordable finance to charities, social enterprises, co-operatives, CICs, community groups, local councils, trade unions and other organisations.

James Beamish, chair of UiTC, was overwhelmed by the response to the scheme in 2013.

He said: “It has been great to see the time and effort staff at Unity have put aside to help others. It has been a real success and beating our goal of how many days volunteered shows the passion and commitment of the Unity team to a variety of causes.”

Mr Beamish competed in Tough Mudder 2013 raising £1,400 for Cancer Research UK and also volunteered at a donkey sanctuary which helps children with learning and behavioural difficulties.

He added: “The UiTC programme is a really important part of our culture at Unity Trust Bank, it reflects our strong social values and brings different teams together, which is always great for morale and a fun working environment.”

Other volunteering initiatives saw the bank’s head of finance Helen Rotherham use her five days to trek the Himalayas raising a total of £4,000 for Zoe’s Baby Hospice. 

Birmingham YMCA welcomed five members of the Unity Trust Bank team to help clear a children’s play area in Erdington, while Peter Kelly, its business development and marketing director, helped Birmingham Fair Money (four local not for profit lenders), tackle payday loans by promoting affordable and responsible lending.