A Model Employer

10,000 steps?

As someone whose daily exercise was by and large equal only to the daily commute, and who managed 10,000 steps mainly by running for trains, working from home has been something of a challenge. Now that my commute has been reduced to the distance from the bedroom to the dining room table, (change at bathroom for the kitchen line), I need to make a conscious effort to timetable exercise into my working day.

Add to this the necessity of keeping to my routine of early mornings (on the grounds that at some point I expect to go back to my ninety minute each way commute) the answer for me has been to get up at my usual time and to go for a walk.

The predominantly good weather in May was a bonus, and the fact that over the years Birmingham and the Canal and River Trust have done a fantastic job in improving the canal paths and walkways, but even so you can get a little bored of walking along the cut and dodging the Canada Geese.

So a few weeks ago when it was announced that it was now permissible to drive for up to ten minutes to exercise I decided to take advantage and go exploring. It is really quite embarrassing how much of Birmingham I have never visited although as I used to work for the local authority my knowledge of some of the more dubious areas is impressive.


Not quite Legoland

Bournville is perhaps the most recognisable (if only by name) Birmingham location after Spaghetti Junction and Villa Park, due to its association with chocolate. It wouldn’t be true to say that in over thirty years I have never been to Bournville – but apart from a couple of residentials at a conference centre there, I have never ventured further than Cadbury World, so one fine Saturday morning I set off for a walk around the model village.

Bournville, was the creation of the Cadbury family who in the late 1870s moved their thriving chocolate factory from central Birmingham to a green field site some four and a half miles away. Once the factory was established George Cadbury, who was dedicated to improving the working conditions and lives of ordinary workers, worked religiously towards ensuring healthier and happier lifestyles for his workers. The Cadburys were particularly concerned with the health and fitness of their workforce. Sports facilities at Bournville grew to include football, hockey and cricket pitches, tennis and squash racquet courts and a bowling green. Gradually women's and men's swimming pools were built and every young boy and girl joining the company was encouraged to become a good swimmer

In time the development at Bournville became the blueprint for many other model village estates around Britain, such as Saltaire and Port Sunlight.

These model villages date from a movement that saw some employers taking their duty of care for their workers out of the factory and offices and into every area of their employees’ daily lives. It is a fact that employers no longer build houses and provide bowling greens for their employees but whether it is introducing screens and safely visors, facilitating home working or implementing new shift patterns, at the present time employers are again active participants in their employees’ welfare and in 2020 this stretches far beyond regular tea breaks and medical insurance.

As well as ensuring physical health and safety, employers can be proactive about improving their employees’ financial well-being to benefit their physical and mental health. 


Plugging the Savings Gap

While the return on savings has fallen to an all-time low, the safety net of a savings pot, rainy day money as it is sometimes known, has been a real blessing in the coronavirus downpour. Likewise, those who are fortunate enough to have avoided the trap of high cost credit have managed better in accommodating a decrease in household income.  Though if people have used their savings to cope with the income shock of Covid-19, how do they begin to plug the gap and replace those savings in the ‘new normal’?


Pain-free payroll payments

Since 2015 Churches Mutual Credit Union has provided access to ethical savings and affordable credit through payroll to employees of a variety of organisations within its common bond, from church based charities with less than twenty staff, through diocesan Multi-Academy Trusts, to central church payrolls in the thousands. Direct deduction is by far the simplest way to start saving, as the funds are deducted and sent to the credit union before it reaches the employee’s bank account. Credit Unions such as Churches Mutual are ideally placed to respond to the level of financial anxiety that has occurred during the pandemic and to respond in a people before profit way. As one member told us:

“It can often feel that no one cares if and how you will survive. Sometimes, it can feel so demoralising that you wonder if you shouldn't just give in and give up. Thank you for coming alongside us, and providing us with crucial support just when we needed it most”

If you are an employer and would like to know more about helping your employees to save with Churches'Mutual please contact us, details below.