- Organisation Name: Seren Ffestiniog
- Region: Wales
Cost saving is key to success for any charity, and with a Unity refinance package, Seren Ffestiniog was able to save £8,000 a year. Seren Ffestiniog provides care, support and employment opportunities to people with learning disabilities across Gwynedd.
The Furniture and Textiles Centre run by Seren Ffestiniog based in Blaenau Ffestiniog takes good quality, unwanted furniture and household items and sells them at reasonable prices while also employing people with disabilities to deliver the service and gain work experience. It also has a number of textile/clothing banks situated at a number of amenity sites throughout its area.
The charity originally rented its current 6,000 ft industrial space and in 2005 was able to take advantage of 100% loan finance offered by the Welsh Government’s Community Investment Fund, managed by the Wales Council for Voluntary Action, to purchase the premises. Over the years both the Furniture and Textiles Centre has flourished and their success has meant Seren was able to seek a sustainable, commercial loan from Unity Trust Bank.
Linda Jones, Managing Director of Seren Ffestiniog, said of the loan: “Public sector cuts continue to hit charities like ours so it is vital that we find new, innovative ways to diversify our revenue streams. The profitability of the Furniture Centre and textiles business means we have been able to shop around for better mortgage finance that offers more competitive charges and more importantly saves us money that can be reinvested back into other areas of the charity. Our £250,000 remortgage with Unity means we now make a saving of £8,000 a year on repayments.”
The charity has been seeking the right loan finance since 2013 but received limited interest from its usual high street bank provider. It was introduced to Unity Trust Bank, a specialist bank for organisations and businesses that aim to create community, social or environmental benefit by the Community Investment Fund.
Linda Jones said: “From the outset Unity Trust Bank was interested in what we do. They were enthusiastic about providing finance support and forthcoming with information about the options available to us. There was no pressure, just clear and helpful guidance that clearly made sense from a financial perspective. We’ve been so impressed that we are in discussions with Unity about switching all our banking services to them.”