It was a year ago on 23 January 2018 when Mark Murphy presented his BBC Radio Suffolk Breakfast Show live from Mutual House and Cllr Sarah Barber, Mayor of Ipswich, cut the ribbon to officially open our new branch.
Several months in the making, and marking a move from the Sailmaker Shopping Centre outlet we had occupied since 1990, we designed Mutual House to be our ‘branch of the future’ – an open, welcoming, flexible space where we could greet members, host events and provide a comfortable environment to help people with their savings and mortgage needs.
The fact we acquired such wonderful premises was certainly an added benefit, albeit one with listed building considerations and requiring extensive restoration works. Needless to say, these have been more than worthwhile and equipped us with a beautiful, historic flagship branch which will continue to serve us well long into the future.
In the past year Tom Jell, our Customer Experience Manager, and his team have been busy welcoming members and helping with their savings and mortgage needs. But they’ve also done much more to support the local community, hosting an impressive 31 events within the branch attracting over 1,400 visitors. Here are five highlights from the past 365 days:
1. Opening for the popular Heritage Open Days, with behind the scenes tours taking in areas not normally open to the public such as our strongroom with original safes (“By Special – Royal - Appointment Lock & Safe Makers to His Majesty the King”).
2. Working with MENTA to help small businesses and start-ups with customer service essentials, with sessions led by Tom.
3. Supporting Ipswich Housing Action Group (IHAG) as our adopted branch charity, donating over £1,830 towards their vital work in our community and providing employee time to volunteer.
4. Hosting a Scam Awareness Workshop for members to help identify scams, report suspicious activity and protect against fraud.
5. Celebrating Suffolk Day on 21 June, with Suffolk Records Office displaying historial artefacts, a performance of Les Miserables from the Children's Theatre Company and plenty of sweet treats in aid of Ipswich-based charity Families In Need (FIND).
For the year ahead we’re planning more activities, so keep an eye on our blog and social media to see what is happening next.
Read more about the history of the Grade II listed building here.