Santander grant to enhance services to the community

santanderOn Friday 29th July 2016 senior members of Santander visited the Nishkam Centre to present a cheque for £5,000 from the Santander Foundation. This was a great opportunity to share information and better understand each other’s organisation. The Santander Foundation is at the heart of the bank’s community activities, providing grants to small charities and social enterprises working with disadvantaged people to fund skills, knowledge and innovation projects across the UK. The grant will enable the Centre to upgrade the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) suite and to provide essential services.

Ravinder Singh Sidhu, Branch Director from the Financial Centre in Birmingham and Branch Manager, Harry Singh Saggu, visited the Nishkam Centre to meet with Amrick Singh, Nishkam Centre Director and Narinder Kaur, who developed and submitted the application. The meeting enabled the two organisations better understand each other’s priorities and activities and to discuss future collaboration. The grant was awarded by the Santander Foundation to upgrade the Nishkam Centre’s ICT suite. Opening the meeting Amrick Singh offered thanks on behalf of the Board, the team at the Nishkam Centre and all beneficiaries for the support Santander had provided to the Nishkam Centre.

The Nishkam Centre prides itself on the services that it provides, in particular those that are provided free at the point of use. The influx of mature and sometimes non-English-speaking people, with limited computer skills who wish to learn how to use a computer, has presented a challenge for the centre with the ageing equipment.

Ravinder Singh Sidhu and Harry Singh Saggu (both centre) present cheque to Amrick Singh and Narinder Kaur (L & R)

Ravinder Singh Sidhu and Harry Singh Saggu (both centre) present cheque to Amrick Singh and Narinder Kaur (L & R)

The grant will allow disadvantaged people to achieve basic knowledge and up-skill individuals in the use of computers.  Having the skills and access to IT will allow people to become self-sufficient in form filling, carrying out job searches and applying for jobs. Learning how to shop online will also enable individuals to make better use of their, often limited, funds as they will be able to buy goods more competitively and shop around for services such as utilities.

Narinder Kaur, who coordinates the Sikh Rogi Aasra (Chaplaincy Services) Team said, “The grant will go a long way to helping us provide the much needed services in the community. We were elated to hear the application had been successful and this is great news for the community.”

Having Ravinder and Harry present the cheque to the team at the Centre was a fantastic opportunity for the Santander team to better understand and appreciate the work of the centre. During the meeting the Santander team were impressed with everything the Nishkam Centre was doing to make a difference to the lives of the local, regional and international communities. They were particularly interested in how the Nishkam Centre, a Sikh inspired organisation that is sometimes misconceived to be only for the Sikhs / Punjabis was engaging with so many diverse communities across Birmingham.

Amrick Singh took great pleasure in explaining to the visitors the significance and ethos that underpinned all the activities that the Nishkam Centre and the Nishkam Group undertakes. He articulated the importance and significance of understanding the brand, ‘Nishkam’ – which literally translated means selfless service to all without expectation of reward or recompense. Both Ravinder and Harry were also impressed by the diverse variety of activities that were undertaken by the small team at the centre with the support of many volunteers yet managed to reach out to so many in a super-diverse city.

Ravinder Singh said: “We are always looking for opportunities to support local charities and communities in the great work that they do. The Santander Foundation makes hundreds of donations

(L-R) Amrick Singh, Ravinder Singh and Harry Singh in the newly refurbished ICT Suite

(L-R) Amrick Singh, Ravinder Singh and Harry Singh in the newly refurbished ICT Suite

every year to good causes throughout the UK. We are committed to playing a key part in the community and are delighted to be supporting the Nishkam Centre in this way and we hope the donation makes a real difference to local people. Having seen the ICT suite I am impressed with the new kit, the setup and the usage that this equipment will get at the centre. We look forward to further supporting this very worthy cause in the future.”

Ravinder Singh and Harry Singh were delighted to have a tour of the upgraded ICT suite after the cheque presentation and buffet lunch, giving them the opportunity to observe the results of the funding and some of the learners who benefitted.

After the meeting, Amrick Singh said, “It was inspiring to meet like-minded individuals from an organisation that was keen to work with community groups, charities and the third sector to see how they could support activities. It would be very difficult for us as an organisation to self-finance all the activities that we do and still offer them to those disadvantaged and deprived without the support of partners who enable us to provide the services that we do. Our parent organisation Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha (GNNSJ) has always stood by us and supported us in our time of need, and it is the support of other organisations like Santander who visited today, and all the other partners that have funded us in the past, that we have a great debt of gratitude.

“The meeting was very positive insofar as it enabled us to have a conversation around Santander’s charitable activities and some of the challenges the Nishkam Centre and other partner organisations were facing regarding grants. I must say we look forward to working with organisations like Santander to see how we continue to support the disadvantaged communities that we work with and serve.


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