Foresight operates throughout the north and north east of Lincolnshire to meet the needs of disabled people, their families and carers.
The charity has received four loans from Charity Bank over the past eight years, supporting the expansion of its service provision. Chief Executive Paul Silvester explains how they have adapted and grown to support and enrich the lives of disabled people in their community.
“Foresight began life in 1999 as a charity assisting blind and partially-sighted people. It quickly expanded into a mainstream support organisation, responding to the varied and complex needs of all disabled people across the area. In 2005 we were awarded our first service provision agreement with the local authority and have seen phenomenal growth since then.
“The activities and services we provide now range from daycare facilities and supported living accommodation to older persons and children services. We have identified areas lacking in service provision, seized opportunities and created diverse income sources to ensure our sustainability. The use of loan funding has also played a significant part in this development.
“We received our first Charity Bank loan in 2011 when we were responding to feedback that our main centre needed to provide food. With help from the loan, we purchased an adjacent property to build a cafe and community centre, where we now welcome over 12,000 people each year. Since then, several other Charity Bank loans have supported us as we continued to expand and develop.
“We took out the initial loan with Charity Bank because they offered us the best deal. We continue to go to them because we have such a good working relationship. We’re quite a quirky organisation that never stands still and often has multiple projects on the go. We have taken out other loans with mainstream banks but it’s difficult for them to understand our way of working and their due diligence can be cumbersome. With Charity Bank, we have a mutual understanding and a shared mission. Having a named account manager really helps as well. I feel like I can simply pick up the phone and resolve any issue at any time.
“We’re a shining example of the significant social benefit and impact that can be achieved through ethical banking. Social investment has been the catalyst for growth of our charity. If we hadn’t had access to that, especially when we were first starting to expand, we wouldn’t be where we are today. Without the Charity Bank loans we’ve received and the people who save with them, the lives of disabled people in our community would be significantly poorer.”