UK / Spain

Santander ‘Big Build’ teams do it again in the UK & Spain

Santander Consumer Finance | Loveworks / Fundacion Manatial

Over the last 12 years, Santander Consumer Finance has pledged around £1.2 million to charities in need through its Splash Projects, which have made an incredible difference to the lives of countless people.

2022 saw them double their efforts, with a two-phase project, with phase one in the UK and phase two in Spain.

In June, we worked with 140 employees over four days across two sites for Loveworks, a charity based in Reigate, Surrey, supporting people struggling financially in the community including through a foodbank scheme.

While Splash Projects have an immeasurable impact on charities and communities, they are designed to develop the participants who build them both individually and collectively.

We designed the Big Build concept for Santander to give personnel the opportunity to develop as leaders through increased involvement in their Splash Project (this year was a committee formed from their graduate programme), from selecting the charity and resources, to the project designs and the recce.

This year the challenge was handed over to the company’s young graduates and also involved groups from the PSA Group and Volvo.

Loveworks wanted to grow its own produce to serve its food bank as well as improve its warehouse to double up as an educational space.

Over four days, the Santander teams:

  • Created a seating area and planters to grow more produce to supply fresh fruit and vegetables at allotments in Reigate
  • Built a tool shed, raised beds and a poly tunnel to grow soft fruit at allotments at Woodhatch
  • Improved the food storage warehouse and schools/volunteers’ education room in Reigate

Colin Robertson, Project Director, said: “The Big Build concept is about leveraging a Splash Project to maximum effect, boosting the learning outcomes for the teams as well as the impact on the charity.

“Well before the project days, senior team members get involved in the design concept and charity search, as well as determining the learning outcomes and desired community impact.

“The Big Build gives teams the opportunity to learn and grow while creating something considerable in scale. They have real ownership over the entire journey.

“It gives mangers the chance to manage projects which are different from those in their day-to-day work lives, while really making a difference.”

“We could tell the charity was just trying to survive with its current facilities,” continued Colin. “We listened to what they wanted and then tweaked the plans until they got what they needed.

“We improved the volunteers’ area so it could be used as an educational space allowing children to see, hear and do, what happens in the main warehouse. This is important because when kids become passionate about something, that’s when things get done.”

Phase two of the Big Build involved a team of 25 from the UK and a team of 25 from the HQ in Madrid, Spain, improving the site at Fundacion Manatial, a non-profit organisation which improves social and health care for people with mental health problems.

The charity requested shaded areas and improvements to their growing areas for their residents, giving them the opportunity to grow their own produce in a therapeutic and social environment, as part of their route back to supportive living.

Andrés Brunello, Centre Director, said: “The benefits were almost immediate, it will make a real difference in our residents’ recovery, and without the Splash Project we wouldn’t have been able to afford anything like it.”