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Welcome to our seasonal edition

Hello community members of One Degree and welcome to our third newsletter!

For easy navigation please use the highlighted links below to select the newsletter sections you wish to read.

For this edition we have a very specific focus for our giving season as our seasonal and final edition of 2015. With our new mentoring programme due to start on the 16th January, aside from getting mentors signed up we want to make sure you are fully aware of the impact we have, as well as all the ways you can help us outside of actually mentoring. This is relevant if you are planning on mentoring and if you are not able to mentor this time around.

A description of the ways you can help will be elaborated on below but here is a quick summary:

  1. Intros to Corporate Social Responsibility programmes
  2. Matched volunteering hours
  3. Service and product sponsorship
  4. Matched funding

Finally, we want to make a special thank you to all the volunteers and donors that have made 2015 possible. More on this in our 'Final Thought'.

Thank you for your time and have a fantastic seasonal break,

Roger Wynne-Dyke
CEO, One Degree 

A reminder of why we do what we do...

Basit Hashmi joined One Degree in 2010. He was failing his English and Math’s GCSE’s. With low predicted grades, he needed some guidance to achieve his unrealised potential. Through the dedication and perseverance of the One Degree volunteer mentors, he not only passed his exams but he achieved a B in English and B in Maths.  Basit is now studying Aerospace Engineering with Pilot Studies at University, something that simply would not have been possible without these grade improvements. 

Artiola Berisha reluctantly joined One Degree in 2012, but she knew it was what she had to do to improve her grades from E’s to C’s and hopefully above. Her mentors didn’t let her give up and proved to her that nothing comes without hard work. She eventually achieved a B in English and a C in Maths, and is now studying Law.

Myron Fernandes joined One Degree in 2014. He was on E for Maths and a D for English when he first started school in London but with One Degree's help he got B in maths and B in English. Myron told us that he felt very lucky to be on the programme as it was an opportunity he didn't want to take for granted. Improvement in English and Maths also helped him in other subjects as well as with his communication skills.

Do you work for a company with a Corporate Social Responsibility programme?

As you can imagine, much like anything, getting your foot in the door for corporate support is the hardest part of applying for corporate social investment. 
One Degree is a charity born from the financial sector. Adding to that, 50% of our mentors are from the financial sector (see mentor backgrounds in chart below). We are therefore looking for small to medium size financial firms or companies within the financial sector, (like the currently participating RM Capital and Market Securities), to join as sponsors.

If you know of a company, or do you work for a company that fits the bill? If so please contact with any details you can provide.

Do you work for a company with a volunteer hours matching policy?

There’s a chance that you work for a company that matches the hours you spend volunteering by providing donations to your favourite organization. Many companies will match an employee’s time volunteering with a financial gift to the charity – as you can imagine this could enable us to do more and increase our impact. Volunteer matching hours must be employee initiated. We cannot request the match of your volunteer service.

Although programs may vary from company to company, the process is usually very simple:

  1. Confirm that your company has a volunteer matching hours program 
  2. Obtain the appropriate Matching Hours Form or website link from your employer
  3. Let us know and we would be happy to add your company to our website and social media platforms as a volunteer provider

Can your company offer services or products?

As you may know One Degree is advancing into the era of providing as much technology as possible to improve our education services. Now although converting to iPads in 2014 saved us £5K in printing costs, it did require an outlay for 45 iPads. Our next phase is to move to companies that are more supportive of education like Microsoft and Google. As to our surprise Apple do not offer any form of CSR or even charity discounts. 
We have identified Google for Education (more specifically Chromebooks for Education) and Google Apps for Education as a potential good fit for One Degree.
Should you have any experience of this, better ideas, or contacts that could replace this option, then please do let us know.

In addition, if you have thoughts on any other tech services, or other products and services you feel would enhance the delivery of the One Degree programmes, please do get in contact. This could be stationary, food, training and prizes etc.

'Matched funding' by mentor Toby Hurlstone

Earlier this year, I was lucky enough to be awarded a pretty decent sized bonus by my employer.  As a keen supporter of the One Degree program, I wanted to donate a part of this to them and so I took a look with my employer at ways this might most effectively be done.  Whilst we found that different solutions work better for different individuals - dependent on their financial position – in general some form of direct giving worked best.   
There are two ways of doing this payroll giving and salary/bonus sacrifice. Both forms of giving see the payment made to the charity with no tax deducted from the employee. So there is no need to go through the gift aid process - making these forms of giving administratively very easy for both parties.  With payroll giving, there are two minor setbacks. The first is that the agencies that collect and distribute these donations do charge small fees and may slightly delay the donation. The second is that these donations are not exempted from national insurance contributions.
With direct salary/bonus sacrifice schemes, you need to be able to persuade your employer to make your charity of choice their charity of choice.  To begin with, my employer was comfortable adopting One Degree as a corporate charity purely because it saved them their national insurance cost on the bonus sacrificed (currently 13.8%). But as we discussed the charity and my willingness to support it, they became much more interested in the whole donation. They ended up adding a 50% match to my donation, so the conversation with them was well worth having.
There are several issues around  tax, tax credits, personal allowances and national insurance contributions to consider when making donations directly – but I’m sure for many of you out there in the One Degree Mentor community, this is a great and cost effective way to contribute.  I’d be happy to answer any questions anyone has on this subject (

Further reading:

  • More details on Gift Aid changes can be found here.
  • A lot of larger companies will match employee donations made to registered charities like One Degree pound for pound up to a certain specified amount. Read more about Matched Giving here.

Thank you for making 2015 possible!

Finally, this month (and this year), I must pay a special thank you to not only the mentors that made our programme possible but our sponsors and donors.

Once again RM Capital and Market Securities have pledged their support for the second year running by sponsoring five and three students respectively through a full 2016 programme.

They join our fantastic list of corporates namely - Westcombe HomesTops PizzaSourcing PropertyIDG UK, and individuals namely - Mrs Clare Woodcraft, Mr M Chughtai, Mr Nadeem Uddin, Mrs Joanne Godall, Mr Syed Jaffery, Mrs Anahita Sarfaraz, Ms Shafaq Shirazi, Dr Werner Wiethege, Mr Toby Hurlstone, Miss F Ladha, Mrs Sharon Sandhu, Ms Madiha Khan, Mr Nishant Gogna, Dr Afsana Safa, Mr Riaz Shah, Mr Nabeel Mughal, Ms Saira Sheikh, Mr Jason Locke, Mr Kamal Haider - who made our 2014/2015 programme possible. 

The network we nurture is core to our ethos. This refers not only our mentor and student networks, but also partnerships and collaborations. We are looking to link up with similar charities and social enterprises that we may be able to work with in some way, or that may offer our students something we cannot. Such organisations currently include MyBnkAlcohol Education TrustTechMaidsUS Charitable TrustInneri and LIFE Creations

We are also excited to announce that MyBnk will be returning to work with our students again from February 2016.

Do you know of an organisation that you think may work well with One Degree? If you do please contact

Have a fantastic seasonal break with your family and friends and I look forward to seeing you in 2016.

Roger Wynne-Dyke

CEO, One Degree

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