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Responsible small business of the year award

Ipswich Building Society has been 'Highly Commended' at the national Business in the Community Responsible Business Awards, which took place on Tuesday 2 July at the Royal Albert Hall, London.

The Society was shortlisted alongside 3 other companies across the UK for the prestigious Santander Small Business of the Year award. The Society wasinvited to demonstrate their responsible business practice to a panel of assessors which included representatives from Santander, Northumbrian Water Group, Trading for Good and Zolfo Cooper. The assessors commented that the Society "clearly showed strong leadership, objectives and overall vision" and commended the Society's "emphasis on the importance of member customers".

The Society had previously received a 'Big Tick' accolade at the regional stage of the awards, which were held at Childerley Hall, Cambridge, on Tuesday 19 June. The Big Tick is the first level of accolade in the UK's longest-running and most respected corporate responsibility awards. The awards raise awareness of business making a positive difference and genuinely tackling key social and environmental issues with award-winning corporate responsibility programmes.

Some of the highlights from the Society's activities in 2012 include: £24,500 donated towards charities and good causes; 226 hours of staff volunteering; 309 hours of financial education in primary schools; bespoke staff health and wellbeing programme; investment in solar panels at Society's head office site; development of a Suffolk HOLD (Home Ownership for Long-term Disabled) mortgage and 13.6% of total mortgage lending to first time buyers.

Paul Winter, Chief Executive, Ipswich Building Society, commented: "At a time of financial turmoil and mistrust in the banking sector, our corporate social responsibility strategy has ensured we've retained strong levels of trust and satisfaction with members. Being a good corporate citizen is core to our brand identity and how we behave with members, staff and our local communities, so to have this recognised on a national level is extremely rewarding for the Society and in particular a great achievement for our employees."

In 2012, Paul Winter was appointed HRH The Prince of Wales as the Prince's Ambassador for Responsible Business in the East of England. As part of his two year ambassador role, Paul works closely with members of Business in the Community across the region and encourages them to champion responsible business practices and strengthen their involvement within their local communities.

The role has also given Paul the opportunity to speak to the Prince about the work that Ipswich Building Society has undertaken in the local community and how they have worked hard to establish themselves as a positive business role model within the region.

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