Category Archives: News

City investors urged to help tackle illegal loan sharks

One of the country’s leading credit unions is urging City investors to invest in a deferred share scheme which aims to tackle the issue of loan sharks and illegal money lending head on.

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London Capital Credit Union based in Archway, which exists to help its members save and to lend them money when needed at reasonable interest rates so they can steer clear of payday lenders and loan sharks, is looking to expand.

Says Martin Groombridge, Chief Executive of the Credit Union: “We aim to raise £125,000 to £150,000 in additional capital through an issue of deferred shares. This will allow the continuing expansion of our lending as an alternative to loan sharks and other high cost credit providers. A social investment in deferred shares will have a significant positive impact on the communities that we serve, including those in the City’s poorest neighbourhoods.”

For some sections of the community, including the ‘working poor’, there are very few opportunities to access affordable credit. That’s where credit unions come in.

Regulated by the FCA and PRA, credit unions in the UK tend to operate in those areas of the market not well served by mainstream financial institutions. As members’ incomes are usually lower than average, a credit union’s main competitors are likely to be niche players offering high-interest loans to those with poor credit profiles.

London Capital Credit Union is a financial co-operative, owned and controlled by its members and providing financial services to communities across London. One of the country’s fastest growing credit unions, it has gone from 675 members and £493,000 on loan in 2008 to over 15,000 members and over £10.8m on loan at the end of 2018.

The Credit Union plays a significant role in alleviating poverty (as the Joseph Rowntree Foundation has identified) and has an ambitious expansion programme. It is looking to extend its services to tens of thousands more people, so as to reduce financial exclusion and the level of poverty in the community.

Social and financial impact

Increased use of credit unions could have a real impact on local communities. Analysts from a well-known City institution performed an assessment of the social and financial impact of London Capital Credit Union and concluded that, on average, for every pound lent to clear existing debts, members save £1.25 each year in interest, bank charges and fees.

A single investment in deferred shares provides ongoing benefits far beyond the amount invested. With the regulatory requirement for credit unions to hold capital representing 10% of their assets, an investment of £100,000 of deferred shares would allow £1 million to be lent and leads to £1.25 million in benefits to members in a single year.

Over four years, the Credit Union’s members could save some £5 million of loan costs. This is money that is likely to stay in the community, benefitting local businesses and supporting local employment.

Martin Groombridge adds: “The concept of social enterprise and social investment is tried and tested, proven to bring real benefits to our communities. The launch of our deferred shares provides social investors with a practical way of helping more people escape from high cost debt.”

Investors looking to make a difference to the local community can find out more and apply for shares here: https://www.ethex.org.uk/LondonCapitalCreditUnion.

Shrewsbury travel business shortlisted for presitigious tourism award

Janet Redler Travel & Tourism in Shrewsbury has been shortlisted for this year’s UKInbound Awards for Excellence, the leading awards for the UK inbound tourism industry.

Jan_and_Nick_2019_-_Copy_-_Copy.jpgJanet Redler and Nick Bardsley, the Partners at Janet Redler Travel & Tourism

2019 has been a huge year for Janet Redler Travel & Tourism, including seeing their team expand to meet growing worldwide demand and taking on additional offices at their Shrewsbury base.

The shortlist was selected by an independent panel of industry experts, and members of UKInbound will now have the chance to vote for their winners. UKInbound is the trade association that represents the UK’s inbound tourism – the sixth largest export industry and third largest employer in the country. 

Janet Redler Travel & Tourism specialises in delivering tailor-made, personal and luxury tours of the UK. With over 30 years’ experience, Janet and her team work with travel agents, organisations and individuals to arrange customised travel for clients all over the world.

The annual awards celebrate the best of inbound tourism and nominations are for those businesses which have made a significant contribution to the UK’s inbound tourism industry over the past 12 months.

Categories include Tour Operator of the Year, Attraction of the Year, Accommodation Provider of the Year and Regional Member of the Year, the category for which Janet Redler Travel & Tourism has been shortlisted.

Janet Redler, Chief Executive of Janet Redler Travel & Tourism, said: “We are delighted to be shortlisted for the leading awards in our industry, demonstrating the strength of the inbound tourism industry across the UK regions and shining a light on our fabulous town of Shrewsbury.

“2019 has been a momentous year for us, as we have welcomed many more clients from different parts of the world. 2020 is set to be even bigger and better, with some incredible specialist tours in the pipeline, including three quilting tours and a large-scale trip from the US which will allow over 200 travellers from North America private access to Stonehenge.

“Two years ago, we were delighted to be chosen for the Tour Operator of the Year category; this time we are hoping to go one better and win Regional Member of the Year.”

The wide range of tours offered by Janet Redler Travel & Tourism has continued to grow, including specialist garden tours, wine and food tours, heritage, academic and music tours. They have also welcomed increasing numbers of independent travellers and small groups from North America, allowing them to showcase the best that Great Britain and Ireland have to offer.

This year, Janet’s son and daughter-in-law have relocated to Shrewsbury to join the team, helping to ensure that the warm family feel that Janet Redler Travel & Tourism is known for continues.

Janet was also delighted to welcome Kat Colling on board, to bring innovative ideas to the business and to assist with future growth. Kat is an experienced UK tourism professional, director of two UK tourism-focused businesses and 2018’s Young Person of the Year at the Wales Tourism Awards.

The winners will be announced at a gala dinner at Aerospace Bristol – the home of the legendary aircraft Concorde – on Thursday 6 February 2020 as part of the UKInbound Annual Convention.

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Branding boost for Midlands aesthetics business

We were delighted to be appointed by EAE Aesthetics in Market Harborough, a new business offering a range of aesthetic treatments, to manage the development of their branding.

EAE Aesthetics logoOur first step was to co-ordinate the creation of an eye-catching logo which reflected the clinical credentials of the new business, as well as looking clean and modern.

Once the logo had been agreed, we were able to roll out the branding across a new website, leaflets and business cards, helping to create a consistent visual identity.

The EAE Aesthetics website outlines the client’s services, as well as providing background information about the business and contact details, in a clear and appealing way.

Liz Everett, owner of EAE Aesthetics, said: “I recently launched my aesthetics business after a long career in nursing – as a registered nurse, nurse prescriber and most recently as an Advanced Nurse Practitioner. EAE Aesthetics provides anti-wrinkle treatments and dermal fillers, as well as aural microsuction for earwax removal, and we needed to come up with some branding to help promote our services.

“Ethos public relations quickly understood our brief and within a couple of weeks had developed a strong new identity for us, which will help us to communicate our business – both now and in the future, when we introduce new services.”

Shaun Fisher, Director of Ethos public relations, said: “We were pleased to be asked to work with EAE Aesthetics to create their new brand and we are happy with how things turned out. We hope the work we have done will help EAE Aesthetics to grow quickly, providing aesthetic treatments by an experienced and qualified nurse.”

If you or your business would like to know more about the branding services we offer, or our range of marketing and public relations services, please do contact us today.

Refil and Coolrec develop the coolest 3d printing filament

Coolrec, a subsidiary of Renewi and Refil have launched HIPS (High Impact Polystyrene plastic), a high quality and unique 3d printing filament made from plastic recovered from discarded refrigerators, available now in the UK

Ron Cramer from Coolrec left and Casper van der Meer from Refil launch the new 3d printer filament

Ron Cramer from Coolrec left and Casper van der Meer from Refil launch the new 3d printer filament

From discarded fridges to high quality 3d printing filament, HIPS has a neutral off white colour which is easy to paint or glue, making it a perfect material for the 3d printing of scale models.

The new filament can also be used as a support material, and if needed, can be removed when the print is finished by a naturasolvent, limonene. The filament comes in the two standard diameters of 2.85mm and 1.75mm and has successfully been tested on many 3d printers.

Sustainable 3d printing filament

After their first recycled PET, ABS and PLA filaments, Dutch company Refil is now adding Hips to their product range. The products now offer a sustainable alternative for the growing market of 3d printing and this new material has a specific focus on architects, schools and product designers. The material prints flawless and comes with a sustainable story, creating 3d products from old fridges.

The collaboration between Refil and Coolrec is a good example of two companies on the forefront of plastic recycling working together in their own field of expertise.

“Whereas Coolrec is all about the recycling of electrical and electronic equipment, Refil transforms the acquired plastics into 3d printing filament and makes it available around the world”, says Casper van der Meer, CEO at Refil.

“Making recycled filament may seem easy, but getting a steady supply chain and maintaining a high quality over different batches is a real challenge. This is why it took us several years of development to be able to guarantee the quality of HIPS. Together with Coolrec we’ve managed to realise this”

Coolrec is responsible for recycling of WEEE (Waste or Electrical and Electronic Equipment) which recycles electrical appliances and electronic products into high quality secondary materials such as plastics, metals and other raw materials.

Arjen Wittekoek, Director of Coolrec said: “Discarded appliances are made from and still contain many valuable materials. Using innovative techniques, Coolrec is able to recover the plastics from the discarded fridges, offering the sustainable solution reusing these again in the manufacturing process of new products, such as the 3d filament.

“For us developing HIPS and the collaboration with Refil is another way to protect the world against pollution, preserve finite resources and enable our partners to achieve their sustainability targets. For this reason we are very proud to be involved in this circular collaboration.”

The recipe of the recycled plastic has been optimized for 3d printing, reducing shrinkage and warping during printing. The filament will be delivered on a unique fully recyclable cardboard spool leaving no waste behind. The spools are made in collaboration with a social workplace in Rotterdam, integrating social sustainability as well.

Refil and Coolrec are also working on a black filament of the same kind of plastic but in this case made from old televisions. It’s expected to be available in the beginning of 2019.

The full range of 3D printing filaments containing recycled material is available at here https://www.re-filament.com/shop.html.

 

London Capital Credit Union welcomes largest ever customer satisfaction survey

London Capital Credit Union, a not-for-profit co-operative which provides savings and low cost loans to people living, working or studying in Barnet, Camden, City of London, Hackney, Haringey and Islington, has welcomed a new report which found significant approval for the services offered by credit unions.

Martin Groombridge

Martin Groombridge, Chief Executive of London Capital Credit Union

The largest ever survey of credit union customers, published by Financial Inclusion Centre, found that 81% of members across the country were extremely satisfied or very satisfied with their credit union, while 84% said they would recommend a friend or family member. This compares to a recent Which? survey showing that mainstream banks’ average overall customer satisfaction score was only 68%.

These results support the feedback received from London Capital Credit Union’s own members. Results from the Credit Union’s 2017 annual survey show a very high overall level of customer satisfaction, with an average score of 9 out of a possible 10.

London Capital Credit Union is one of the fastest growing credit unions in the capital, with over 15,000 members and outstanding lending of nearly £12 million.

Financial Inclusion Centre research also demonstrated just how important the broad range of financial services being delivered by these not-for-profit financial providers are, with the majority of respondents using their credit union as an affordable and fair source of borrowing – giving them an invaluable alternative to high-cost credit such as payday loans, rent-to-own firms and door-step lenders.

Credit unions work hard to help their members understand financial issues and members are shown to score well compared to the general population on a range of financial capability measures, saying they feel they have their finances under control and are confident in dealing with money matters.

Martin Groombridge, Chief Executive of London Capital Credit Union, said: “The findings of the largest ever credit union customer satisfaction survey back up what we see at London Capital Credit Union and show that most members are extremely satisfied with the services provided.

“With the current pressures on household finances, credit unions such as ours provide an essential lifeline for many, offering affordable loans in time of need and supporting people to develop a saving habit. At London Capital Credit Union, we believe it is important to help people make the most of their finances and this survey shows the hugely positive contribution that credit unions make to our communities.”

Mick McAteer, Co-Director of Financial Inclusion Centre, added: “These results are very encouraging and go to show that credit unions are highly regarded by those that use them, with higher satisfaction rates than mainstream banks.”

A copy of the report, ‘An Insight into Credit Union Membership’, can be found here.

New PR package for charity events

Ethos public relations has introduced a new PR package to help charities promote their events.

Director ShauPR for charity eventsn Fisher said: “Ethos public relations is passionate about helping charities, community groups and voluntary organisations get publicity for their activities. This isn’t just because it is our business but because we have a commitment to highlighting the valuable contribution made by charitable and voluntary action.

“Over the years, we have seen, and even attended, a wide range of charitable activities that haven’t been as successful as they could have been. Often this is because of time constraints, a lack of appropriate communication and marketing or simply a lack of organisational capacity.

“For most local charities part of the problem of organising a successful event is budget. Not many voluntary organisations can afford the rates charged by large public relations businesses. But that’s where Ethos public relations can help. As we are committed to helping local community efforts flourish, we are offering a bespoke package for local charities seeking to ensure their events are a success.”

For a set fee of £200 including VAT, Ethos public relations will discuss your event with you and give their opinion on the idea, work with you to ensure it is communicated suitably on your website, Facebook and Twitter, write a press release for your local media and upload it to appropriate listing sites and advise on photography.

Shaun Fisher added: “This whole package should not only help you get more visitors or participants to your charity’s event, but will free up your time so you can focus on the important job of putting the event together.”

Click here to find out more and if you would like to work with Ethos public relations to give your charitable work the boost it deserves, give Shaun a call on 07968 211664 or email info@ethos-pr.com.

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Internationally acclaimed Californian choir tours UK

The Starfire Singers, a Methodist youth choir from the United States with an international reputation, are touring the UK this summer and will be performing at a number of venues to raise funds for charity.

Borderless imageEvery few years, the Starfire Singers embark on a summer tour of the UK, arranged by our client Janet Redler Travel & Tourism. The Starfire Singers sing in worship at Los Altos United Methodist Church in Northern California and their musical productions tackle social issues from a Christian perspective. In July and August 2017, they will be performing the original musical Borderless at venues across the country to raise money for local charities.

Borderless is about confronting the places where people feel stuck in life, where people feel trapped by all the demands placed on them by internal and external pressures, and finding a path towards living beyond those borders. The performances include music, song, dance and multimedia.

Janet Redler, Chief Executive of Janet Redler Travel & Tourism, which is arranging the tour, said: “We are delighted to welcome the renowned Starfire Singers to the UK once again. Their thrilling musical production Borderless is sure to entertain audiences around the country while also addressing social issues. The tour will help to raise funds for a number of charitable projects and we would like to welcome people along to enjoy a wonderful evening of entertainment.”

Performances will take place at St Mary Redcliffe Church in Bristol on 26 July, Coventry Central Hall on 28 July, St Patrick’s Church of Ireland Cathedral in Armagh on 31 July, Paisley Methodist Church on 3 August, Wesley Memorial Methodist Church in Epworth, Lincolnshire, on 5 August and Wesley Memorial Church in Oxford on 7 August.

Funds raised from the performances will be donated to a number of charities and Methodist Church initiatives including the New Room Bristol Development Fund, the Open Doors Project at Wesley Memorial Church in Oxford and the Southern Area Hospice in Northern Ireland.

To find out more and for booking details, please visit http://www.janetredlertravelandtourism.co.uk/tours1/starfire-tour-2017/.

“Act now to ensure children don’t lose memory of grandparents who were Far East Prisoners of War,” says national charity

COFEPOW logo“Within a generation, children will have forgotten about their grandparents’ suffering as far East Prisoners of War,” warns Paul Watson, chair of national charity COFEPOW (Children and Families of Far East Prisoners of War).

“As World War Two fades into history, young people are in danger of forgetting about the horrific suffering of many of their grandparents and great-grandparents as prisoners of war in the Far East,” he says.

Now, to mark the anniversary of 75 years since the Fall of Singapore in the Second World War, COFEPOW is launching an Education Programme to help ensure youngsters grow up knowing about the huge sacrifice many of their relatives made in the Far East.

Paul Watson says: “One of our functions at COFEPOW is to educate future generations so that our brave ancestors are never forgotten. As a result, we have created this exciting new initiative to help students understand what happened, whilst giving them the opportunity to experience different learning platforms to develop transferable skills for their future – skills such as confidence, teamwork, creativity, communication and working to deadlines.”

Working in teams, students will be tasked with preparing a television news report explaining that the war is over in the Far East and that all those held as prisoners will be released and sent home. In order to prepare their news report, students must find out as much as possible about the life of a Far East Prisoner of War.

Once complete, schools will need to send the filmed news reports on DVD to COFEPOW, who will judge all the entries and choose a winner. Students that take part will receive a Certificate of Achievement and the winning team will receive a special COFEPOW VJ Day 70th Anniversary Commemorative Medal for their school.

Paul Watson adds: “Members of COFEPOW are relatives of those who fought and were held captive in the Far East in World War Two. Whilst many of the prisoners are no longer with us, as relatives we saw first hand the lasting effects that the time in prison camps had on these men and women – both mentally and physically.

“We are all extremely proud of our loved ones for their war effort and we strive to ensure that what they went through will always be remembered and respected. By creating this competition, we feel we are helping the next generation to understand a little bit more about the Forgotten War.”

The programme was prepared in collaboration with Jayne Greene, who is experienced in producing education packages for schools and is a volunteer for COFEPOW.

The COFEPOW National Enterprise Competition for Primary Schools will run from 11th November 2017 (Remembrance Day) to 15th February 2018 (the anniversary of the Fall of Singapore).

If you are a teacher, school governor, or otherwise involved in delivering the national curriculum at primary school level, and would like to find out more about this new initiative, you are invited to attend the launch of the COFEPOW Education Programme at the National Memorial Arboretum on Wednesday 15th February 2017, commencing at 1pm.

To secure your place at the launch, please email COFEPOW Secretary Alan Wills at alanwills@blueyonder.co.uk. To find out more about the project and for schools to enter please visit the COFEPOW website https://www.cofepow.org.uk/schools-competition.

Cae Post signs up as right Waste, right Place campaign ambassador

right Waste right Place logoCae Post, the environmental charity and social enterprise based in Welshpool, has become an ambassador for the right Waste, right Place campaign, a national initiative aimed at raising awareness of the Duty of Care for waste amongst UK businesses.

Managed by the Environmental Services Association (ESA), the campaign was launched in April 2016 following damning evidence of widespread non-compliance with Duty of Care legislation for waste, and mounting costs on local authorities and private landowners for tackling fly-tipping.

Recent research has revealed that 56% of UK businesses are not complying with the law, despite recent changes to sentencing guidelines and the removal of the £5,000 maximum fine in the Magistrates Court.

Cae Post offers trade waste and recycling services in Powys and Shropshire and is committed to promoting best practice when it comes to duty of care for waste. Cae Post is keen that businesses in the area are fully aware of their responsibility for the good management of waste and recycling.

Speaking about the announcement, Sue Packer, General Manager at Cae Post said: “Our mission as a charity is to create employment and promote positive environmental action. We support right Waste, right Place, as a way to encourage all organisations to think about the environmental impacts of their waste and to adhere to best practice with regard to waste management.”

Sam Corp, Head of Regulation at the ESA, commented: “We are delighted that Cae Post has become a right Waste, right Place Campaign Ambassador. We are looking forward to working with Cae Post to raise awareness of Duty of Care in their area and to many more organisations signing up to the programme in the near future.”

As a social enterprise, Cae Post has a firm commitment to the environment and its mission is to provide meaningful employment and work experience opportunities to people who would otherwise find it difficult to gain these opportunities.