On 17 March 2020, Foresight's new housing development was subject to an arson attack. Three days later the first lockdown was announced. With support from Charity Bank, the charity has overcome these difficulties and is feeling excited for the future again.
People living with disabilities often struggle to access support, social activities, and wellbeing services, which can lead to poor health, loneliness and social exclusion. Since its inception over 20 years ago, Foresight has grown to respond to the complex and varied needs of disabled people across North East Lincolnshire. It provides a wide range of services, from learning and activity sessions to supported living accommodation.
In mid-March Foresight’s new housing development — due to welcome 24 new residents — was subject to an arson attack. This led to the discover of significant issues with the build itself and then, three days later, the first national lockdown of the Coronavirus pandemic began. Having a long-standing relationship with Charity Bank, with four loans over the past eight years, Foresight reached out for support.
Charity Bank helped secure Foresight working capital through the Resilience and Recovery Loan Fund (RRLF) offered by Social Investment Business (SIB), and some additional grant funding. This enabled rebuilding works to take place whilst insurance payments for the arson were processed. It also meant the charity didn’t need to deplete its reserves in order to continue services through the pandemic, providing a much-needed lifeline to many of its service users. Now, nine months later, Foresight is once more in a strong position and its new accommodation is due to open imminently.
“We could have coped if it had just been COVID-19. But the fire and building issues on top of that could have brought our whole organisation down. The relationship we’ve built with Charity Bank over the years is just fantastic and once more their support has been invaluable. Without the RRLF loan, not to mention the additional grant they secured for us, the impact on our reserves would have been devastating and we’d be in a very different situation now.”Paul Silvester, Chief Executive, Foresight North East Lincolnshire
“I suffer with anxiety and depression and, if it wasn’t for Foresight, I’d be stuck at home, festering in my flat, struggling. Foresight has been here for me and Paul has done a brilliant job keeping the centre open. If it hadn’t been open over this period I don’t even know where I’d be. One of the most important things when you’ve got autism or a learning disability is to not be stuck at home. We need support and this place has been brilliant for me.
“I’ve actually been helping out on reception as well over the pandemic, which has been a really good opportunity to build skills and confidence. I really appreciate Foresight. It’s one of the best things I could ever ask for. There should be more places like this all round the country.”Thomas, Foresight service user
About Charity Bank
Charity Bank is the loans and savings bank owned by and committed to supporting the social sector. Since 2002, we have used our savers’ money to make more than 1,000 loans totalling over £350m to housing, education, social care, community and other social purpose organisations.
The Resilience and Recovery Loan Fund (RRLF) is managed by Social Investment Business (SIB) who make the ultimate lending decision. Charity Bank was one of eight social organisations who delivered this fund. RRLF is not appropriate for all organisations and eligibility criteria applies .Borrowers remain 100% liable for the debt.
Nothing in this article constitutes an invitation to engage in investment activity nor is it advice or a recommendation and professional advice should be taken before any course of action is pursued.