Barclays and The Big Night In Appeal
To mark Barclays’ support of with The Big Night In Appeal – BBC Children in Need and Comic Relief’s initiative celebrating the people supporting local communities during the coronavirus crisis – we’re sharing stories from a few of our tens of thousands of colleagues across the UK. Whether guiding vulnerable customers through online banking or managing bank accounts after a family member dies; supporting the wider community as an NHS volunteer or simply checking in to ensure people are safe, they’re making a difference, every day.
Even small acts of kindness can make a big difference to the lives of people confronted with the unprecedented challenges that have come with the coronavirus crisis. It’s these efforts that Comic Relief and BBC Children In Need are joining forces to celebrate in a special television show, The Big Night In, hosted by Lenny Henry and Matt Baker and broadcast on Thursday 23 April.
Barclays is supporting The Big Night In Appeal – a huge fundraising effort to help people and local communities affected by the coronavirus crisis. As well as a £1million donation, the bank has promised to match funds raised by customers up to £1million and match money raised by colleagues. Donations will be split equally between Comic Relief and BBC Children in Need to help local charities and projects in the UK to continue to provide vital support.
Ahead of tonight’s programme – which will include contributions from Zoe Ball, Davina McCall and Paddy McGuinness and is expected to include a thank you message to Barclays teams – colleagues across the bank are finding new and inspiring ways to offer customers support during self-isolation.
Helping customers feel “in control” of their money
Accomplishing essential everyday tasks is far from easy if you are a vulnerable person in self-isolation. Charlotte Page, a Barclays Team Leader in Liverpool, described a phone call with an 85-year-old customer, who had previously relied on visiting branches or phoning for personal banking.
A self-described ‘digital dinosaur’, the customer needed to transfer money to her daughter – who was buying her groceries – but had struggled to set up mobile banking on her smartphone. Charlotte showed her how to register, step by step, and explained how to set up a transfer from her phone.
“Now she is in control of her own money, making transfers and managing her regular payments, and can check her balance whenever she wants,” she said. “Most importantly, while she is self-isolating she can send money to her daughter to get her food and other essentials, whilst staying safe inside. It’s nice to feel we can make a big difference to her life.”
Elsewhere, colleagues have been helping customers to keep in touch with family members despite self-isolation. Caroline Pearson, based at Barclays’ Harrow and Edgware branch, spoke to an 80-year old who was devastated at having to “break her promise” to send her grandson a birthday gift. Caroline offered comfort and practical support, helping her to order a gift online.
Emily Fletcher of Wavertree branch received a similar call from a customer anxious to send her granddaughter some money as a 21st birthday present. As a vulnerable person living with lung-cancer, the customer couldn’t risk visiting her local branch, but had struggled to download the banking app. Emily discovered that the customer had a PINsentry card reader - so helped her create an online banking account, explaining how to make payments. “She was so happy that her granddaughter would know she was thinking about her on their birthday,” said Emily.
Supporting vulnerable and bereaved customers
Glynis Wilson, a Barclays Video Specialist, helped one self-isolating customer top up her gas and electric meters, and referred her to a support charity. Glynis said she felt that her efforts had been worthwhile: “It was a really difficult call for me, but when I called her back she was so grateful and said, ‘I feel a lot calmer now having spoken to you’.”
After hearing that a customer experiencing serious health issues was unable to buy food for their cat, another Barclays colleague, Amanda Worsfold in Newport, quickly arranged for two boxes of food to be sent to their home. More widely, her team has put in place a system to refer vulnerable customers on to charities that can help support them.
We have been doing all we can to look after our customers, clients, and colleagues through this crisis, made possible by tens of thousands of amazing and dedicated Barclays people around the world who have been doing their utmost to keep our services running, and support the economy.
Barclays Group CEO
Greg Macfarlane in Glasgow took a very sad call from a customer whose husband had been taken to hospital and tragically died. Her husband had been the one to look after their accounts, and at a time of immense sadness, she faced the additional worry that her bills would not be paid on time.
Greg talked her through upcoming payments, discussed how she could help ensure there was always a sufficient amount in her account to cover them, and later arranged for flowers to be sent to her. His actions had an impact – the customer told Greg that his advice had taken a huge weight off her shoulders.
In Lancashire, Sharon Harrison, a Business Development Manager, has registered as an NHS volunteer and spends her evenings getting in touch with vulnerable people to support them through the crisis.
The team at the bank’s Ruislip branch in London have been heartened to know that their work is having an impact on our customers’ lives.
“My vulnerable customers in particular are very happy – they feel protected,” said Saba Ahmed. “They love that Barclays is making that effort to call them proactively, to find out how they are and if there is anything we can do for them.”
Sam Gilbert highlighted this appreciation from customers over the last weeks, alongside the ongoing efforts at the bank to help keep colleagues and customers safe: “It’s made me really proud to work for Barclays.”
Recognising that the everyday actions of the Barclays workforce, however big or small, can make a difference in troubling times, Barclays Group CEO Jes Staley, said: “As a bank, we have been doing all we can to look after our customers, clients, and colleagues through this crisis, made possible by tens of thousands of amazing and dedicated Barclays people around the world who have been doing their utmost to keep our services running, and support the economy.”