Anti-poverty charity celebrates five years and £10 million impact in Wales
Pontypridd based charity Purple Shoots recently celebrated its fifth birthday. Set up by the charity’s CEO Karen Davies in 2013, Purple Shootsoffers small loans at fair rates to those who are unable to obtain a little support from elsewhere to get their business started. Despite being a trained economist, Karen was told by people in finance that her idea wouldn’t last six months because her clients were too much of a risk. Five years on she has proved her doubters wrong.
Since this support has been available over 375 new businesses have started in South Wales and over £1 million has been loaned with an economic impact of £10 million. Remarkably 96% of borrowers were on benefits before moving into self-employment.
Commenting on this success, Karen Davies said, “We are proving that no one should be written off as having no value or having nothing to contribute – by believing in people and in their individual potential, we are enabling them to change things for themselves and their communities.”
The organisation also sets up innovative ‘Self-Reliant Groups’ to encourage those who have been out of work for a long time to get together with friends to turn hobbies and skills into business ideas. These small enterprising groups are popping up across South Wales as a way for people build their confidence and take ownership of their future. From craft to catering, writing to befriending services, the members of each group decide together what activities they will do to generate income. This approach allows each group to be sustainable, and by encouraging a team of people to work together on an enterprise it develops vital employability and business skills.
The innovative and transformative work of Purple Shoots has been recognised by the prestigious Leading Wales Awards where Karen Davies has been shortlisted for the Leadership for the Future (Sustainability) Award.
A celebration event to mark the charity’s fifth birthday was held at a gathering of self-reliant groups from across South Wales, and South West England, hosted at St. John’s Church, Pontypridd. Guests also came from Manchester and Glasgow where self-reliant groups have also been taking off. One Scottish group member said, “If you’re passionate and you really want to change things, it’s possible.”