Founded in 2001 by Paul Barry- Walsh, Fredericks Foundation is a registered charity and a Responsible Finance Provider. Their main focus is to facilitate loans for people who have a viable business proposition, but would struggle to obtain financial support in the conventional manner from mainstream lenders.
But Fredericks, or “Freddies” as it is known to it’s loyal, tireless supporters, is about so much more than just sourcing a loan. Financial backing is wonderful and obviously needed, but this is also about support, advice and guidance. There is so much help to be accessed – advisors, specialists, mentors. Think of it as a hand up, rather than a handout. As their mission clearly states : “Choice, not charity”.
The person behind this meaningful organisation, Paul Barry-Walsh has had personal experience of trying to start a small business, and being held back due to lack of funding. He knows first-hand of the struggle and setbacks. This left him with a desire to help others finding themsleves in a similar position and thus Fredericks Foundation was born. Their motto – NOW YOU CAN – says it all really.
Since 2001, Freddies has helped literally thousands of people take those first steps, get a foot on the ladder and climb out of poverty, gaining dignity and self-respect on the way. It’s a virtuous circle, creating a society based on community and support, where everyone rises by lifting others.
What Freddies has coming next is of particular interest and inspiring to me. As a single mother and a staunch believer in women supporting women, this happening in the Centenary year of women getting the vote, makes my little feminist heart very happy.
Beginning this month (May 2018), Freddies is launching a crowdfunder and it is such a simple yet innovative idea, I can’t wait to get involved – and there are many ways we can all contribute. The aim is to build a Women’s Loan Fund, which will lend small amounts of money to women. As they repay, other women are then able to receive help from the fund. Freddies believes that this is a sustainable solution to the lack of affordable start-up finance available, specifically to women.
To me this is exciting and groundbreaking – Freddies are helping break down barriers and once they have removed what is stopping growth and innovation, they then help plant the seeds and cultivate the crops – but they aren’t doing this FOR the applicants. Freddies are working WITH the women who need the help, it’s very much a team effort rather than a charity handout.
How YOU can help.
There are a few ways you can get involved and make a real, solid difference to someone else’s life. First of all, take a look at this video (created by Big Yellow Feet, a Fredricks client) which explains the Crowdfunder.
There are many volunteering opportunities within Freddies. Mentors, fundraisers, panel members to help decide who can get a loan. Do you have any transferable skills you could pass on to womeen starting out in business? I bet you do! If you would like to know more about volunteering with Freddies, please contact Peter Kelly, Volunteer Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s a well-worn cliche, but it’s true – every donation, no matter how small helps, because they all add up. We could all play a small part in something bigger – something amazing. The Crowdfunder for the Women’s Loan Fund is launching any day now, but as Freddies is already a registered charity, you don’t have to wait to donate. You could set up a regular standing order donation straight from your bank or – if you are already in business yourself and want to help others get where you are – join the 1% club, donating 1% of your company profits per year.
Lend a lump sum to Fredericks via the government CITR scheme and earn 5% per annum tax relief. This is a five year commitment at the end of which the loan is repaid or rolled over.
This is my favourite, because it doesn’t cost you any extra at all. If you already shop online, you can do your usual shopping, but sign up for Give as You Live, which at no expense to yourself can turn every £ that you spend on line into funds for Fredericks.
This is probably the most important one and again, it’s free – spread the word. Tell everyone you know. Tell your wife, mother sister, daughter, aunt! Tell your boss. The loans are designed to help women but men can also be involved, contributing, supporting, sharing.
Fredericks Foundation are laying the groundwork for a sharing, more caring society. Businesses built on support and encouragement, where you’re given a hand up and then you reach down and pull the next person up.
At a time when more people than ever are feeling disadvantaged and disenfranchised and there is next to no support from the people in power – how amazing that Freddies are here to put the power in YOUR own hands.