Giving back to society and enabling positive change in communities around the world through philanthropic donations and social investments is central to BNY Mellon’s DNA. One of our most active offices when it comes to community partnership activities is Manchester in the UK. We sat down with Malcolm Struthers, Project Manager at our Manchester office, for our “Behind the Scenes” series to learn more about what it is like to work in Manchester and the great work our employees do to support their local community.
How long have you worked in Manchester and what is it like?
I’m originally from Scotland and moved to Manchester to study for a post graduate degree. I wanted to move here as I always envisioned the city to be a place you can be your true self and a place with a heart and I was right, it is. Almost sixteen years on and Manchester is now very much my home.
The city continues to evolve, with creativity and innovation embedded into Manchester’s DNA, along with football of course! Working for BNY Mellon has allowed me to be part of the city’s evolution – specifically through my involvement in our community partnership programs. It has been really rewarding to witness our community partnership initiatives grow stronger.
What attracted you to working for BNY Mellon?
I started my career with a local charity called the Salford Foundation in 2002 as I wanted to follow a career path which focuses on helping those in need; making a positive impact on society. Being candid, I was a little wary of working within the private sector. I thought it would be more about ticking boxes than genuinely helping in the community. In fact, it could not be more different from my initial judgment.
BNY Mellon has a very strong heritage in philanthropy stretching back over 200 years. The company has a thriving community partnership program locally here in Manchester. And today, in a serendipity twist of fate, I work very closely with my former employer as The Salford Foundation is BNY Mellon’s main charity partner in Manchester. We have worked with them on so many projects, most recently The Together Women project and the National Citizen Service.
Can you please tell us more about the National Citizen Service project?
We were approached by the Salford Foundation three years ago and asked if we would host workshops for groups of 30 to 40 young adults, aged 16, to help with their workforce skills development. We cover a range of things in the workshops from planning to branding. Our goal is to make the sessions interesting, educational and fun; making sure we give the students some skills to take away with them too. In total this year we supported over 700 young adults through the program.
Do you believe this program makes a difference to the students participating?
When I was a teenager I took part in youth theater each summer and it was one of the best experiences of my life. It is so rewarding to hear young people describe how their confidence has grown over the four-week program.
One young man during the brainstorming session was very quiet. By being part of their group for a few minutes I encouraged him to share his ideas and they were great. The rest of the group was really inspired and motivated by what he had come up with and that built the basis of their presentation. His confidence grew instantly. It is all too easy to fade in to the background. Some people are more introverted than others and find it difficult to speak up.
And finally, from all the projects you’ve been involved in, which have you personally found the most rewarding?
For me, an event we hosted this summer called Ready, Steady, Spin has to be a milestone. It can sometimes be challenging to get so many people supporting a fundraiser but this is the biggest one Manchester has ever done. There was a strong sense of achievement after all the activities had taken place and I am proud I was part of that. We raised money for six local charities and even invited some of our charity partners in to participate. To involve 250 people in one project was outstanding – the most I have ever seen.