Dear Friends and Supporters
Since the last newsletter, we have all been coping with the impact of Covid-19 and the fall out of the lockdown. Perhaps the first thing to say is that Purple Shoots and most of its borrowers and groups have all survived!
With the advent of lockdown, most of the businesses and all the SRGs had to close down. Frustratingly, large numbers of our borrowers did not qualify for any of the support announced by Governments – I wrote at length to a range of Ministers and was active on social media but to no avail – it demonstrated a real lack of understanding of microbusinesses and a failure to value them in any way. (There is a blog on the Purple Shoots website about this)
As a result, our borrowers had to resort to Universal Credit which gave them just about enough to live on but contributed nothing to their business commitments. One of those commitments was of course our loan and many of them approached us for repayment holidays – which we granted and, unlike most lenders and banks, froze interest charges so that they won’t face an enlarged loan to repay when they are back on track.
Those repayment holidays created a large hole in our income and could have left us in difficulties – however, we were rescued by the prompt intervention of the Waterloo Foundation who have funded us previously, and we are very grateful to them. We also successfully raised funds from WCVA, the Community Foundation in Wales and the Big Lottery to enable us to keep going into the Autumn and beyond and to build back the ground that has been lost, particularly with our SRGs.
As thoughts turned to economic recovery, we looked for funds focussed on this, convinced that our resilient microbusinesses will be at the vanguard of recovery because they are small, flexible and local, committed to their communities.
We anticipated a big surge in demand for lending as people looked to seize new opportunities as lockdown ended or to make new beginnings following redundancy or just a rethink whilst on furlough. In the last month or so we have seen demand for our lending double compared with a normal month – so we were delighted to be able to announce the new PURPLE MOON FUND – a loan fund provided by the Moondance Foundation to help us help our borrowers to lead economic recovery in Wales. We are extremely grateful to them for their commitment to and belief in what we are doing….
Thank you to everyone who helps us keep going.