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24 May 2021

A trip to Shoreham - digital banking for clubs, societies and charities

 

Bankline for Communities is our new digital service for clubs, societies and charities. It’s a version of Bankline specially designed for their needs, and it’s free for existing Community Account customers to use.*

 

We’ve been piloting Bankline for Communities over the past year, and that’s meant getting to know some fantastic societies and community groups. One of these is the Shoreham Society.

 

They’ve been with us from the start and their feedback has really helped us shape this new service. We recently caught up with Jenny from the Shoreham Society, to discuss their experience and plans for the future.

 

 

Image by Sarah Sutherland-Rowe, photographer 

 

Could you tell us a bit about the Shoreham Society and the work you do?

 

‘We started out in 1984 as a historical society, working to preserve the history of our town, Shoreham-by-the-Sea, in West Sussex. We’ve grown since then into a society that aims to give a voice to everyone who cares about Shoreham.

‘We work to conserve the town’s historical architecture, but also to highlight our natural environment and community. This involves everything from talks, to community surveys, residents’ meetings and more. 

‘A lot of our active members are retired, but we’re working to bring in the younger generation. One of our plans for 2021 is to consider a ‘Shoreham Portal’ an online tool for residents and visitors, which incorporates history, local businesses, shopping, and tourist information – a kind of one stop shop for everything about Shoreham.’ 

 

How did you come across Bankline for Communities?

 

‘To be honest, it started with a late-night complaint. Gradually our town lost its bank branches. NatWest is the only one left in the heart of the town, and our society depends on it for cheques and cash deposits. When our NatWest branch reduced its hours, that made things trickier. One night, irritation hit, and I answered a survey from NatWest, being frank about what we felt. 

'I wasn’t expecting to hear back, but someone quickly got in touch, and introduced us to Julia, from the NatWest digital team. Julia explained about the Bankline for Communities pilot and asked if we’d be interested in trying it. 

‘Julia and the team visited us in September 2019 and helped us get set up on Bankline for Communities. They showed us how to log in, view balances, and raise and approve payments as a team. We also took the opportunity to show them around Shoreham, of course!’

 

“It’s made my life so much easier, I’m so glad I had that late-night rant!”

 

How have you found using Bankline for Communities since then?

 

‘It’s been delightful. There are still a few things we’d like to see, but it really does help us a lot. We particularly appreciate the security aspect. That we can have a second person to approve payments and transactions is really important. I raise a payment, text my colleague, he approves it – it’s simple and it works for us.

‘We’re all volunteers, but sometimes our work can feel like a full-time job and having a simple to use digital service to manage our finances definitely helps'.

 

What advice would you give to other clubs and societies about digital banking?

 

‘For other societies like ours I’d say, give it a go! Digital banking can feel like a step into the unknown, but once you’ve taken it, you see the benefit. It makes managing day to day finances much easier, it saves time and can make your society more accountable.

‘We’ve got to move with the times. Groups like ours can’t live by cashing cheques alone. It’s back to the question of how we stay relevant – new people joining will expect us to be effective online, and that brings with it lots of opportunities.

‘We like to say it’s about conservation, not preservation. You can’t stop change, but you can influence the way things change for the better.’

 

What are your plans for the future and how can we help? 

 

‘We’re excited about the Shoreham Portal. We’re also exploring transport plans for the town and something to bring the train-station waiting room to life. So, lots to do! We’ll keep working to broaden our membership and engage with all parts of our community. 

‘We’re happy about engaging online, but we can’t forget that there is a section of our membership, and society more widely, that are not online and not tech savvy, and we still need that personal connection to support and listen to them. That goes for clubs and societies like ours, and for banks too.

‘In terms of what we’d like to see next in Bankline for Communities, automatic notifications and the ability to message other users on our account would be handy. I know you’ve got some exciting plans of your own!’ 

 

Final thoughts

 

Thanks Jenny and the Shoreham Society for sharing your thoughts. We’ll certainly take that last point on board! 

To learn more about the Shoreham Society, visit their webpage. And to find out more about Bankline for Communities, including eligibility criteria and how to apply, click below: 

Discover Bankline for Communities

 

*Bankline for Communities is a free online banking service for clubs, societies and charities. Your organisation is eligible if you:

 

  • hold a NatWest community account
  • have a turnover below 100k
  • have a minimum of 2 and max 4 signatories
  • are an ‘Unincorporated Association’ or ‘Unincorporated Body’