The UK’s best community bank, Metro Bank, gives every colleague a Day to Amaze – essentially a paid day off to support a local charity or good cause. Colleagues from Metro Bank’s Southend store chose to use their Days to Amaze as volunteers for a Focal Point Gallery community art installation - part of the Estuary 2021 festival.
Based in Southend, the Focal Point Gallery supports new and recent contemporary art that challenges people to think and feel differently about their locality and the importance of their communities. Estuary 2021 is a 23 day (May 22nd – June 13th) large-scale arts festival that celebrates the lives, landscapes and histories of the spectacular Thames Estuary. Artworks set in the landscape explore the estuary and the stories of its diverse communities, bringing new audiences to a deeper understanding of the estuary.
On Southend Pier, Metro Bank’s store manager, James Farmer, assistant store manager Vikki Grindrod and customer service representatives Megan Lee, Alex Tozer and Will Alston, all helped move over two tonnes of shingle and soil for planting shrubs as part of an open air community art project, which also features a floating sculpture designed by New York artist Mary Mattingly moored just off the pier.
“As a community bank, we love using our Days to Amaze to support local good causes,” explains Southend Metro Bank’s assistant store manager Vikki Grindrod. “I absolutely love helping out in the community as you learn so much about what’s going on your doorstep! I thoroughly enjoyed the day will be going back to visit to learn more about art in the community and estuary life.
Store manager James Farmer echoed Vikki’s sentiment “It was great to get out of the store now the lockdown restrictions have started to lift and meet people from across the area all working together for such an inspiring and original addition to our local community. Customer service representative Will Alston added: “Because we were there towards the end of the project being completed, we got to see it come together and how it will finally look - it not only felt good being part of a local project to highlight our area, but also so rewarding to help out.”
Metro Bank’s Southend store can be found at G19-G21 The Victoria Centre, SS1 2NG. The store is currently open Monday – Saturday 08:30am - 6pm. Sunday: 11am - 5pm.