Community banking sits at the heart of how we are changing the business we do and the way we conduct business. Aside from our financial services, an important element of community banking is our direct commitment to be a model for how a bank can contribute to society. With a broad sponsorship programme focused on the arts, education, enterprise management, conservation/environment and sport, we engage in a range of activities that we hope will make a real difference to the communities in which we operate.
Of the five key areas of our sponsorship activity, sport drives individuals to improve both themselves and their results, to perform a little better than others through their skill, power and focus. The NatWest Island Games represent the ‘jewel in the crown’ of our sports sponsorship programme and provide a platform of opportunity for sportspeople from 24 island communities around the world to enjoy friendly but serious competition. The Games have grown over the past 14 years to be one of the largest multi-sport events after the Olympics and the Commonwealth Games. Last year, the Games held in Bermuda, attracted around 2000 competitors and officials, with many more island representatives and supporters in attendance.
Hosting the Games in our home jurisdiction of Jersey in 2015 will make a wider contribution to the Island’s community. There is no question that the Games form a significant part of our islands’ cultural landscape. Participation in higher level sporting competition is only one aspect of the success of this event; as important are the opportunities it affords to share experiences relating to our unique island stories.
As part of our sponsorship programme, the NatWest Sports Development Programme promotes sports activities within the member islands, supporting young athletes at grass roots level to ensure that future generations are able to compete at this high level. To date, there has been over £100,000 granted to member islands from this scheme. The NatWest Rising Star Award at the Channel Islands’ Sports Personality of the Year Awards recognises those sportspersons who have the ability and attitude to make it to the top. Previous winners of this award include Heather Watson, Matt Banahan and Serena Guthrie and this year’s Star, Miles Monro. We recognise the role that these individuals play as ambassadors to their sport and their dedication serves to inspire their community to excel in achieving lifelong ambitions.
Based on this rationale, NatWest continues its support for the Jersey Table Tennis Association (JTTA) and the Jersey Cricket Board (JCB). Sponsoring the JTTA for the eighth consecutive year in 2014, NatWest has seen this tournament go from strength to strength, with the standard of competition continuing to rise due to the high quality of opposition from top ranked players from the UK and Europe. The NatWest Open has become the most eagerly awaited tournament on the ETTA Grand Prix circuit of the twelve events around the UK and Jersey has welcomed Olympians and top players from around Europe and elsewhere in the past. This year, NatWest is proud to support the prestigious International Primary Schools’ tournament for the first time whereby teams of the top four boys and four girls from England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Isle of Man and Guernsey will come to the Island with their supporters and coaches.
NatWest has been the long-term sponsor of cricket in Jersey which demonstrates the ongoing commitment and support to the development of cricket at all levels. With NatWest’s support the JCB has established a strong presence within the ICC European Cricket Championships since becoming an affiliated member of the International Cricket Council in 2005 and an associated member in 2007. We were also delighted to sponsor the new Development of Excellence Scheme which is being introduced to support the development of the best young cricketers and coaches in Jersey to prepare them to represent Jersey at international and European tournaments.
Our sponsorships do far more than drive brand awareness; they offer true benefits to our community. It is a privilege to play our part towards the achievements of committed and dedicated sportsmen and women and support the professional players of tomorrow.