Reusing furniture, resettling people and restoring communities - loan secures NewStarts future

By Jun 11, 2015

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A Bromsgrove poverty-fighting charity gets investment boost - joint funding from Charity Bank and Big Issue Invest allows NewStarts to buy its premises

NewStarts, a charity that provides practical support to homeless people and those in financial crisis, has secured its long term future in Bromsgrove, thanks to a combined loan from Charity Bank and Big Issue Invest to buy its premises.

As a result, NewStarts is able to continue to provide affordable furniture and household goods, as well as an emergency food-bank, enabling individuals and families to take up or keep existing tenancies without risking debt. In addition, it runs a volunteering and training programme, offering relevant work experience to improve the employment chances of those looking to find their first job, or re-enter the workplace. Approximately one in five of NewStarts’ volunteers goes on to employment or further training.

Established in 2005 as a result of a partnership between a local resident and NewSong Community Church, in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, NewStarts’ furniture project works by collecting good-quality used furniture and household items, including computers and other IT equipment from people who no longer need them and donating or selling them at low-cost to people who have been referred by local agencies.

Marion Kenyon, CEO of NewStarts, says: “People often turn to NewStarts at the point when they have exhausted all other avenues. For us, the reasons they find themselves in a difficult situation isn’t relevant; we will help them if we can.

“The support we have received from Charity Bank and Big Issue Investment has, without doubt, allowed us to continue to respond to local need – reusing furniture, resettling people and restoring communities. Without this kind of financing, we would never have been able to purchase our current premises. We faced the prospect of having to find a new location due to possible rent increases, yet today we have a secure future and can start helping even more people.”

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NewStarts buys its premises

In 2014/15 NewStarts directly supported 1,044 people in the following ways:

  • 430 households received free household items
  • 332 households were provided with emergency food
  • 105 volunteers were given work experience
  • 41 people had training across a variety of courses (woodwork, basic IT and arts and crafts)
  • 136 people received financial management training and debt advice

Peter Hughes, regional manager of Charity Bank, an ethical bank that lends solely to social sector organisations, says: “The case for providing loan finance to NewStarts was compelling. Its impact within the community is vast – alleviating poverty, providing valuable work experience, training and debt advice to the most financially disadvantaged people. By buying its premises outright, NewStarts has secured its long-term sustainability and has a platform on which to grow. Its ability to deliver greater impact to benefit society has increased and Charity Bank is proud to be supporting it.”