News story

UBS and Bridge Academy win Big Society Award

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The UBS Bridge Academy partnership is the latest winner of the Prime Minister's Big Society Award

Over 1,700 UBS employees have been involved in the Bridge Academy, where UBS employees work with the Academy to support and inspire students, volunteering their time and skills in areas such as governance, staff development, fundraising and student literacy and numeracy.

Last year alone 267 volunteers took part in 21 different projects giving a total of 1,620 hours, and in the first ten months of 2011, over 400 volunteers have contributed over 3,000 hours.

Throughout the partnership, UBS has encouraged and supported employees to be involved in the project by offering a two day volunteering allowance every year, setting up a UBS Matched Giving scheme to incentivise donations and launching an employee award scheme to recognise outstanding contributions.

Some of the partnership’s key projects include:

  • 80 UBS volunteers work weekly with 80 students to improve core literacy and numeracy skills by reinforcing practical learning and motivating students
  • UBS and the Bridge developed a new programme for Year 10 to give an introduction to the world of work, a focus on relevant skills and the motivation to think positively about the working world. Benefits include careers assemblies run in Question Time format with UBS and other volunteers, work experience with over 60 UBS volunteers and at UBS partner charities
  • a Virtual Trading project with 54 top Year 10 maths students working in class with Equities traders
  • Risky Business workshops put together by UBS Risk Control on the concept of risk
  • UBS Pride Network engaged Stonewall to work with 180 Year 7 students on homophobic bullying, supported by eight UBS volunteers
  • UBS funding Queen Mary, University of London (QMUL) to support the Academy’s maths specialism with 15 undergraduates working with 43 students on curriculum topics and acting as a drop-in revision session for year 10. They also set up an annual Hackney Maths Challenge to inspire success in maths and encourage students to study maths at university

The award was presented by Children’s Minister Sarah Teather, during a visit to the Academy.

Congratulating UBS and the Bridge Academy on the award, the Prime Minister said:

The Bridge Academy is a brilliant example of business working with their local community to make a difference and create something really special for their area.

The innovative ideas, enthusiasm and skills of the UBS volunteers have had a clear impact on the Academy, inspiring students and helping them reach their potential.

Congratulations to UBS, Bridge Academy and all involved in this hugely successful partnership. They have created an excellent school which will leave a lasting legacy for Hackney.

Commenting on the partnership, Stephen Foster, Principal, the Bridge Academy said:

Every day we see the benefits to students and staff of this exceptional partnership with UBS. Students’ lives are being changed because of it.

Notes to Editors

On UBS and the Bridge Academy Partnership

For more details on UBS, please contact Jenna Ward on 020 7567 4714

For more details on the Bridge Academy, please contact Natalia Dawkins  02077495248

UBS serves private, institutional and corporate clients worldwide, as well as retail clients in Switzerland. UBS combines its wealth management, investment banking and asset management businesses with their Swiss operations to deliver financial solutions. UBS employs about 65,000 people around the world.

The Bridge Academy, Hackney is a mixed, independent, secondary state school for 11 to 18 year olds of all abilities. In September  2012 the sixth form will open and by 2013 the school will cater for a total of 1,150 students.  The Bridge Academy aims to be an outstanding school for students, staff and the local community. Its goal is to provide every student, whatever their background, with the best possible education and to develop in each student a life-long enthusiasm for learning.

Since UBS’s partnership with the Bridge Academy began, the shared ambition has always been to build the best partnership in the UK between a business and a school. The Academy aims to achieve this with their UBS volunteer scheme and with the partnerships it builds with community organisations, which stand at more than 50 to date.  Volunteers from UBS work throughout the school using their  skills to help support teaching, and to help with the school’s organisation and development.

On the Big Society Awards:

The Big Society Awards were set up by the Prime Minister in November 2010. The aim is to acknowledge individuals and organisations across the UK that demonstrate the Big Society in their work or activities. In so doing, the aim is also to galvanise others to follow.

The award focuses upon three specific areas:

  • promoting social action - people being, and being encouraged to be, be more involved in their communities through giving time, money and other resources
  • empowering communities - local people taking control of how things are done in their area and being helped to do this by local government and others
  • opening up public services - public sector organisations and individuals demonstrating innovative ways of delivering public services and charities, social enterprises and private companies showing new ways of delivering public services