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Media Enquiries Please contact Tom Clarke
Tel: 01276 608513
Email: tom.clarke@thefsegroup.com

Award Winning TVB Funding Escalator Increases Capacity to £11.3million

In 2013, Thames Valley Berkshire LEP invested nearly half its Growing Places Fund to create the TVB Funding Escalator to help local high-growth businesses. Managed by The FSE Group, the Funding Escalator has so far supported 51 companies and invested £8.3million of loans and equity, creating or safeguarding 594 jobs in the LEP area. In addition, £21million of private finance has been leveraged to help companies grow. The funding escalator has supported businesses from a wide range of different sectors, including Tech & Digital, Life Sciences, MedTech, Cultural & Creative and Food & Beverages.

To build on this success, the LEP has committed a further £3million to make the £11.3million an ‘evergreen fund’; and increased both the size of loans available up to £300,000 and the period up to 5 years. The increased scale of the fund will mean that it is self-sustaining so that it can continue to support SMEs in Berkshire in perpetuity. This represents a significant investment for the LEP and reinforces its determination to support SMEs in the area, from any sector, that want to grow and create wealth locally.

Robin Barnes, Programme Lead for Enterprise, Innovation & Business Growth at Thames Valley Berkshire LEP says: “We created the first funding escalator in the UK with the aim to transform the way businesses can grow by creating an enduring legacy of business investment, innovation and growth in our sub region. This increased capacity and evergreen status is a real game changer and I would encourage ambitious businesses to get in touch with The FSE Group.”

Chief Executive of The FSE Group, Dean Mayer, adds: “We are delighted to continue our close working relationship with Thames Valley Berkshire LEP. The Funding Escalator is here to help support businesses looking to grow substantially in Berkshire, and we are extremely proud of our achievements over the last 5 years. This new injection of £3million allows us to press ahead in reaching even more innovative and high-quality businesses in the area.”

About The FSE Group:

The FSE Group provides tailored funding solutions and support for ambitious and innovative small and medium enterprises (SMEs), to help them achieve their maximum potential. This includes the Thames Valley Berkshire Funding Escalator, which is one of a number of Local Enterprise Partnership backed funds that The FSE Group manage. For further information about the range of products and services offered by FSE, visit www.thefsegroup.com

About Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership:

Thames Valley Berkshire LEP is a company limited by guarantee; one of 38 LEPs in England competing for public funds to invest in initiatives that address barriers to economic growth. It is a strategic, business-led partnership between the private sector, local government, the community and education sectors, as well as the main business organisations. Its aim is to bring about the sustainable economic growth of Thames Valley Berkshire through the implementation of a Strategic Economic Plan and to sustain the area’s status as the most productive sub region in the UK. For more information visit www.thamesvalleyberkshire.co.uk

£40m investment fund launched for Cornwall and Isles of Scilly SMEs

The British Business Bank has today (June 28) launched the £40m Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Investment Fund (CIOSIF), aimed at boosting the local economy by providing debt and equity finance to help growing small businesses across the region.

The fund has been established in partnership with the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and UK Government to provide local businesses with more funding options to help them grow and create jobs.

CIOSIF has been designed following input from local business groups, funders, business advisers and the LEP and will provide debt and equity finance from £25,000 to £2 million. It is expected to unlock a further £40 million of private investment.

Small Business Minister Andrew Griffiths said: “Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, supporting more than 1 million jobs in the South West alone and 13 million across the UK. This new fund will help us deliver on the ambition set out in our modern Industrial Strategy, with investment that will ensure the region’s small businesses can access the finance they need to grow and succeed.”

Ken Cooper, Managing Director, Venture Capital Solutions at the British Business Bank, said: “Our role is to make the finance markets work better for smaller businesses at all stages in their development. The Cornwall and Isles of Scilly investment fund has been specifically designed to support growth businesses in this area and is part of a co-ordinated approach to help them realise their potential.”

Mark Duddridge, chairman of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly LEP, said: “This fund has been a long-held ambition of the LEP and our partners and we believe it will prove transformational by creating an enduring legacy of business investment, innovation and growth in our region.”

CIOSIF is operated by appointed fund managers FSE Group

The fund has been established to address specific funding needs in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. There is an identified market gap in the provision of debt and equity finance, where access to finance has been identified as a much higher barrier to growth than the England average.

Half the fund (ca £20 million) will be in the form of debt finance providing loans between £25,000 and £1 million. This will be aimed at growing businesses with a viable proposal that are unable to access all the debt finance they need from commercial sources, maybe due to a lack of collateral or track record.

The other half of the fund will be in the form of equity funding from £50,000 to £2 million for growing companies. This aims to close an identified equity gap, especially in start-up, early stage and development capital. Despite having 1% of the UK’s SMEs, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have just 0.1% of all UK equity deals.

CIOSIF is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. Further investment has come from the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership and HM Government.

For more information about the Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Investment Fund, please visit www.ciosif.co.uk of follow the fund on Twitter at @CIOSIFBBB2

TVB Funding Escalator Loan for Software Solutions Business

UserReplay has been providing innovative software solutions for e-commerce since 2009 and is continuing its journey to growth with further support from Thames Valley Berkshire (TVB) Funding Escalator.

The Theale based company provides large businesses that have a strong online sales presence, with a tool to analyse user movement throughout their websites, helping to identify the cause of abandoned baskets and subsequent lost revenues.  As ecommerce continues to expand, there is an increased focus on making sure online interactions are efficient and productive. As such, the global market for Application Performance Management software is growing significantly and this rise is set to continue over the next few years.

The FSE Group, which manages TVB Funding Escalator on behalf of Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), has been working with UserReplay since 2013, making equity investments from both South East Seed Fund and TVB Growth Fund. During this time the company has continued to expand, including establishing a base in the US where it is making significant sales.

The FSE Group is now providing debt finance of £200,000 from TVB Expansion Loan Scheme to accelerate marketing activity, along with further technology development, to take full advantage of the market opportunity.

Ruth Peters, UserReplay CEO, comments: “The support we have received from The FSE Group has been vital to the growth of our business; since the initial FSE investment we have refined and improved our product offering so it meets the needs of our clients and this latest loan will ensure we continue to do this in line with ever-evolving ecommerce market.”

Ian Baker, Senior Fund Manager at The FSE Group, adds: “With client renewal rates at over 92%, UserReplay are clearly providing a competitive and sought-after product. The opportunities are significant and we are delighted to again be working with this experienced and impressive team to help them achieve their growth potential.”

The Thames Valley Berkshire Funding Escalator is a £8.3m initiative funded by the Thames Valley Berkshire LEP. The escalator includes an Expansion Loan Scheme, Trade Finance Loan Scheme and a Growth Equity Fund, which provides eligible companies with loans and equity funding between £25,000 and £250,000 for activities that will deliver high-growth and employment opportunities.

For more information about the Thames Valley Berkshire Funding Escalator, please visit www.thefsegroup.com/thames-valley-berkshire-funding-escalator or contact Ian Baker ian.baker@thefsegroup.com tel: 01276 608517.

£200,000 TVB Loan for Company Improving Horse Health

A Berkshire company offering products that improve the health and well-being of horses has successfully secured a £200,000 Thames Valley Berkshire (TVB) Expansion Loan to help it grow.

Haygain produces a range of equipment that is being hailed as essential to equine health by vets and horse owners alike. Hay, whilst indispensable to a horse’s diet, is the cause of well-known health problems in horses with 80% of stabled horses suffering airway inflammation. This often leads to respiratory issues resulting in 1 in 6 needing antibiotics. For centuries, soaking has been the traditional method for ‘cleaning’ hay but research now shows this unpleasant, labour intensive method can in fact increase bacteria counts and reduces the nutritional value of the hay.

Haygain CEO, Edzo Wisman, explains how the company has brought this process into the 21st century: “over the past decade Haygain has worked with the Royal Agricultural University (RAU), to pioneer the development of an effective technique for properly cleaning hay. Our patented hay steamers inject steam into the centre of the hay and ours is the only method proven to eliminate all mould, fungal spores and bacteria whilst maintaining nutritional value and palatability.”

The company’s series of steaming units ranges from a small portable model through to a product big enough to service larger stables and livery yards. This is complemented by additional products to support equine health including the Haygain Forager, a slow feeder developed to allow stabled horses to feed at a pace reflecting their natural grazing behaviour, thus addressing the gastro and other issues linked to horses being given distinct daily meals.

The company has already started a phase of rapid growth; as its products are becoming more well-known it has an increasing repertoire of endorsements from influencers in the equine industry as well as from veterinary professionals. The company’s impressive customer list includes a number of high profile names including leading horse trainers and stables, Olympic medal winning riders, HM The Queen, the Household Cavalry Regiment and London’s Metropolitan Police. However, with over 58million horses kept worldwide and an increasing awareness of the benefits of steaming hay, there is a considerable global market that Haygain has yet to tap into.

The £200,000 TVB Loan will be used to help Haygain take advantage of this substantial market opportunity by increasing sales and marketing activity, particularly in the US market where it is starting to gain traction. The loan will also help fund research and development activity to find a more cost effective, universal boiler that can be used across the entire range of steamers.

Ian Baker, Senior Fund Manager at The FSE Group which manages the TVB Expansion Loan Scheme on behalf of Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), comments: “Haygain has successfully developed a product range to suit all classes of horse owner, from individuals to major racing stables. Its exceptional client list and respected independent accreditation mean it is well-placed to exploit the significant growth potential in this niche market. We look forward to working with the company as it moves towards fulfilling its ambitions.”

TVB Expansion Loan Scheme is part of TVB Funding Escalator, an £8.3m initiative funded by Thames Valley Berkshire LEP. The escalator, which also includes a Trade Finance Loan Scheme and a Growth Equity Fund, provides eligible companies with loans and equity funding between £25,000 and £250,000 for activities that will deliver high-growth and employment opportunities.

For more information about the Thames Valley Berkshire Funding Escalator, please visit www.thefsegroup.com/thames-valley-berkshire-funding-escalator or contact Ian Baker ian.baker@thefsegroup.com tel: 01276 608517.

The FSE Group launches new £10million Enterprise M3 Fund

More ambitious businesses from across parts of Hampshire and Surrey will be able to access vital funding to help them grow from today, as the Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership launches a new £10million Funding Escalator.

The Funding Escalator, which will be managed by The FSE Group, will be available to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) for activities that have the potential to deliver economic growth and job creation in the Enterprise M3 area. The new fund consists of three separate products: a medium-term loan facility, an equity investment fund and a short-term trade loan facility.

Dave Axam Chair at Enterprise M3 says: “There is an evidenced lack of appropriate commercial finance for businesses that wish to scale-up, particularly for new, fast-growing companies with lots of growth potential but little trading history. The FSE Group has vast lending and investing experience in this sector and has successfully delivered SME loans and investments on our behalf since 2014. We are delighted to maintain our relationship via this new initiative and continue our work together.”

Chief Executive of The FSE Group, Dean Mayer, adds: “This is a welcome endorsement of the work FSE is doing across the Enterprise M3 and other LEP areas, to support high growth SMEs and help them reach their full potential. Our approach provides rounded support over and above the money itself, ensuring the best possible outcomes for our portfolio companies and ultimately, the local economies in which we operate. We are excited to be managing this new £10million of funding on behalf of Enterprise M3 LEP and look forward to offering even more high-quality funding solutions to Enterprise M3 businesses.”

About The FSE Group:

The FSE Group provides tailored funding solutions and support for ambitious and innovative small and medium enterprises (SMEs), to help them achieve their maximum potential. This includes the Enterprise M3 Funding Escalator, which is one of a number of Local Enterprise Partnership backed funds that The FSE Group manage. For further information about the range of products and services offered by FSE, visit www.thefsegroup.com

About Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership – www.enterprisem3.org.uk

Enterprise M3 is a business-led Local Enterprise Partnership, one of 38 in England, which is working to secure economic growth at sub-national level. We bring together leaders from the business, public and not-for-profit sectors and provide the vision, knowledge and strategic leadership needed to drive sustainable private sector growth.

Our aim is to create the foundations on which our businesses can flourish. We strive to improve business productivity, increase jobs and maximise the number of businesses operating across Enterprise M3. We have a particular focus on improving trade links working with Invest in Surrey and Invest in Hampshire.

The Enterprise M3 LEP area stretches from the hinterland of London to the New Forest covering mid to north Hampshire, as well as, South and West Surrey. The LEP area brings together business leaders from 14 district authorities across two counties and has four major interconnected urban centres known as ‘Growth’ towns: Woking, Guildford, Farnborough and Basingstoke and five ‘Step-up’ towns: Staines-upon-Thames, Camberley, Aldershot, Whitehill and Bordon and Andover.

The councils involved in the Enterprise M3 LEP are:

Hampshire County Council, Surrey County Council, Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, East Hampshire District Council, Elmbridge Borough Council, Guildford Borough Council, Hart District Council, New Forest District Council, Runnymede Borough Council, Rushmoor Borough Council, Spelthorne Borough Council, Surrey Heath Borough Council, Test Valley Borough Council, Waverley Borough Council, Winchester City Council, Woking Borough Council

Coast to Capital Loan to Boost ‘Mud Pie’ Business

A West Sussex food firm looking to gain a bigger slice of the pastry market with its award-winning pies has secured £125,000 from the Coast to Capital (C2C) Expansion Loan Scheme to scale-up production and expand into the wholesale market.

Midhurst based Mud Foods has been producing top quality pies, made from locally sourced ingredients, for almost a decade. The business has grown steadily during that time with the majority of sales coming from regular attendance at local farmers’ markets across the South East, supplemented with some wholesale trade. Both avenues now offer expansion opportunities, as Mud owner, Christian Barrington, explains:

“At the moment we produce around 5,000-6,000 Mud pies and sausage rolls each week, which allows us to attend a number of regular weekend markets and fulfil some wholesale orders. Sales have grown steadily year on year and we know there is potential to build this further but our current production facilities are at full capacity. With this latest funding we will be able to increase capacity and more actively target the wholesale market.”

The £125,000 will be used to rearrange the existing unit and install additional cooking/freezing equipment, increasing production to around 15,000 pastry items per week. This will also enable the company to diversify its offering by adding sweet pies to the Mud Foods range.

Jeff Dober, Head of SME Debt Funds at The FSE Group, which manages the C2C Expansion Loan Scheme on behalf of C2C Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), comments:

“Annual UK pie and pastry sales are at almost £1billion and by using only real butter in the pastry, meat from The Goodwood Estate and vegetables from other local farms, Mud Foods has gained a loyal following and carved itself a niche at the premium end of the market. The management team has now identified a significant growth prospect and we are delighted to support them in achieving the increase in production capacity necessary to take advantage of the opportunities that lie ahead.”

The Coast to Capital Expansion Loan Scheme is part of the Coast to Capital Funding Escalator, a £5million initiative funded by Coast to Capital LEP. The escalator, which also includes a growth equity fund, provides eligible companies with loans and equity funding between £50,000 and £500,000 for activities that will deliver high-growth and employment opportunities across the Coast to Capital region.

For more information about the Coast to Capital Funding Escalator please visit http://www.thefsegroup.com/coast-capital-funding-escalator or contact Jeff Dober at jeff.dober@thefsegroup.com

Further RGLS Funding for Digital Services Company

A Cambridge based company providing leading digital services for medium and large companies is looking to continue its expansion with the latest in a series of Regional Growth Loans from Finance East. Intergence is an independent IT business offering tailor made services to optimise and secure the complex IT infrastructures of large, often international, organisations.

The company’s extensive blue-chip client base has exacting demands and Intergence helps them deliver a seamless service to their customers via solutions that are both cost and energy efficient. Finance East has been working with the Intergence team since 2011 to help ensure the business remains in a position where it can take advantage of the opportunities available.

Intergence Chief Executive, Peter Job, explains: “Large contracts and a protracted negotiation process, as well as a continuing need for investment to keep our offering relevant, means our funding needs cannot always be met by traditional lines of credit. In Finance East we have found a funder that looks ahead with us and provides support at times crucial to our overall development as a business. Whether funding marketing activity to aid expansion, recruitment costs to support delivery of a new contract, or development of a new product to keep us at the forefront of our field, Finance East has been there to finance our expansion.”

The latest loan of £80,000 from the Regional Growth Loan Scheme (RGLS) is the fifth received by Intergence and will be used to recruit new employees to meet the requirements of two major new contract wins. This is following the successful development and trial of the new ‘Stratiam’ software which converts data from all a business’s networks into a set of visual graphics that can be viewed on one screen. The product enables the user to quickly identify any issues and take necessary action to avoid potential problems, especially useful where a central IT department needs a clear view of an entire IT infrastructure across multi-sites and multi-networks.

Stuart Ager, Finance East Senior Fund Manager, comments: “Intergence is just the sort of business the RGLS is here to support; one with a compelling product, strong track record and ambitions for growth. The management team has continued to stay ahead of market changes and keep providing a service that is attractive to its customer base, as demonstrated by its high tender success rate. We look forward to continuing to support Peter and the team through the next phase of development.”

The RGLS is managed by Finance East, part of The FSE Group, on behalf of Local Enterprise Partnerships in the East of England and British Business Bank. The RGLS is available to established, incorporated businesses based within the East of England that have a minimum annual turnover of £100k, show strong growth potential and have a medium to long-term funding requirement to deliver that growth.

For more information about the Regional Growth Loan Scheme contact Stuart Ager on 07825 699407 or email stuart.ager@thefsegroup.com.

TVB Funding Escalator Loan for Natural Sports Nutrition Range

A company bringing an innovative product to the sports health and nutrition market is the latest business to benefit from a Thames Valley Berkshire Funding Escalator loan, which provides government backed funding to help local businesses grow.

Reading based Macacha Health have created an all-natural, plant-based protein powder that is both organic and vegan. With the sports nutrition market dominated by products focusing on muscle gain and having a largely male appeal, Macacha founder, Inés Hermida, was keen to offer something different. Having spent several years in charge of nutritional supplements at the UK division of the world’s biggest health food retailer, Inés had witnessed the distinct lack of a high quality protein product that could tick all the right boxes, as she explains:

“The majority of protein powders contain artificial, genetically modified and chemically processed ingredients. When I set up Macacha, my vision was to create a more inclusive product that would appeal equally to women as well as men, supporting a high-energy lifestyle without a primary focus on muscle mass – all whilst being the cleanest and most natural on the market. I am pleased to say that, working with a leading natural supplements nutritionist to achieve the right blend of proteins and health boosting botanicals, we have succeeded in this aim.”

With the protein powders now available in more than 85 retail stores, including listings in all of the premium UK health food chains, Macacha is set to expand significantly over the next three years. The £50,000 TVB loan will be used to scale the marketing operation and support roll-out into further UK stores during 2018. This year will also see the addition of four new products to the Macacha offering. Whilst focusing initially on a UK wide expansion and increasing the product range, Inés and the team are also positioning Macacha to take advantage of the $15 billion global sports nutrition market, 75% of which is made up by UK and US consumers.

Ian Baker, Senior Fund Manager at The FSE Group, which manages the loan scheme on behalf of Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) comments: “By establishing the product range in premium health food stores, Macacha is targeting a different kind of customer to the big players in protein supplements. Inés has used her wealth of experience in this sector to create a distinct brand to reflect this difference – one its target market can identify with. We are excited to be supporting the company to achieve its ambitious growth plans.”

The Thames Valley Berkshire Funding Escalator is a £8.3m initiative funded by the Thames Valley Berkshire LEP. The escalator includes an Expansion Loan Scheme, Trade Finance Loan Scheme and a Growth Fund, which provides eligible companies with loans and equity funding between £25,000 and £250,000 for activities that will deliver high-growth and employment opportunities.

For more information about the Thames Valley Berkshire Funding Escalator, please visit www.thefsegroup.com/thames-valley-berkshire-funding-escalator or contact Ian Baker ian.baker@thefsegroup.com tel: 01276 608517.

Dolphin Alarms Driving Pool Safety with Innovative Alarm System

A Berkshire based business looking to tackle pool safety is the latest company to benefit from the Thames Valley Berkshire Funding Escalator.

Dolphin Alarms, which has been developing the current model of its hi-tech alarm for the last two years and secured £30,000 in March 2017 to enable final configuration of the product. With a successful development product, Dolphin Alarms are launching a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter to raise production funding to bring their advanced Dolphin Aquasonic swimming pool alarm to market.

The unique system uses sonar technology to sound an alarm if a child (or other non-swimmer) wearing the Dolphin wrist or waist band, enters the water. Not only will the alarm sound at the poolside, but it will also transmit via wireless technology to a receiver placed elsewhere within its 80 metre range. The product is the only pool alarm to use sonar technology; other alarms on the market use wave detection or wireless technology which each has its own restrictions and disadvantages. This results in the Dolphin alarm being the safest pool alarm in the world.

John Barstead, Dolphin founder and CEO, says: “we have been working with a team at Newcastle University to develop a leading class product, offering comprehensive features and functionality that is unavailable elsewhere on the market. In the USA, our primary market, death by drowning is the highest cause of unintentional death for children aged 1-4 and remains the second highest cause up to 14 years old. For every death there are many more who suffer non-fatal injuries, often resulting in permanent brain injury. We hope that by providing a more effective product that addresses the flaws in those already available, we can help to reduce these figures and make pools safer.”

With 75% of children’s drownings occurring at a private residence, Dolphin will focus on the private pool and spa market whilst exploring opportunities in the hotel, resort and holiday villa sectors. Pool installation is a growing market with the USA seeing 5% growth, representing over half a million pools, in 2016. Other geographical territories with high numbers of private pools include Australia, South Africa and Europe, all of which will be targeted by Dolphin.

Cheryl Weeks, Fund Manager at The FSE Group, comments: “Dolphin has invested heavily in research and development, resulting in a first-rate alarm system that has been endorsed by the Royal Life Saving Society and the Amateur Swimming Association. This loan will help the team take the next step towards commercialisation and position the company for further external investment. We look forward to supporting them at this crucial stage in their growth.”

The Thames Valley Berkshire Funding Escalator is a £8.3m initiative funded by the Thames Valley Berkshire LEP. The escalator includes an Expansion Loan Scheme, Trade Finance Loan Scheme and a Growth Equity Fund, which provides eligible companies with loans and equity funding between £25,000 and £250,000 for activities that will deliver high-growth and employment opportunities.

For more information about the TVB Funding Escalator please visit http://www.thefsegroup.com/thames-valley-berkshire-funding-escalator/ or contact Cheryl Weeks at cheryl.weeks@thefsegroup.com tel: 07866 835143.

Day Centre for Young Adults with Disabilities Launched with Finance East Support

A business dedicated to improving the lives and experiences of young adults with disabilities has launched a new day centre and respite facility with the help of a Regional Growth Loan from Finance East. The Marigold Centre in Southend has been set up by local company, Access Anyone, to meet the demand for a centre that satisfies the needs of this customer group.

Access Anyone was set up in 2002 to provide transport for disabled young people when co-founder, Jim Milligan, recognised that the taxi firms he was working for did not adequately provide for this market. With its focus on delivering specialist services from trained drivers the business has grown to now employ 125 drivers and transport assistants, operating 61 specialist transport minibuses and four ambulances. Whilst running the transport business it became apparent to Jim and other members of the team that once young people with disabilities left school, they were not being effectively catered for by the existing facilities.

Jim explains: “We found ourselves transporting young adults to facilities that were clearly more suited to an older demographic and felt there was an obvious gap in the market for a day centre that could offer activities particularly suited to the 18-25 age group within an environment that would appeal to this younger generation. In 2013 we opened our Access Anyone@Woodside day centre in Leigh-on-Sea, which was designed specifically with this age group in mind.”

The specialist centre, which offers arts, crafts and life skills within an internet café style environment alongside an interactive garden, has been a huge success and is regularly fully booked with a significant waiting list. Furthermore, of the 450 disabled children being transported by the company  to and from school each day, there are around 35 reaching leaving age every year, many of whom wish to move on to the Access Anyone centre.

In order to meet this growing demand the company secured The Marigold Centre site in the conservation area of Westcliffe-on-Sea from Southend Council earlier in the year and has now completed its refit ready to take in the young adults who, along with their parents and carers, have been eagerly awaiting its launch. As well as providing the same popular facilities currently available at Woodside, the Marigold Centre – which has four times the capacity of Woodside – will also offer respite care facilities to allow overnight and short stay breaks.

Upon initial introduction from NatWest, the refurbishment and fit out of the Marigold Centre has been funded in part by £200,000 from the Regional Growth Loan Scheme (RGLS), managed by Finance East, along with funding from NatWest bank to support the remainder of the costs. Francis Kenealy, Finance East Fund Manager comments: “The Access Anyone management team has identified a clear market need and developed an integrated solution to meet this.  By offering a joined up approach with transport, day centres and overnight respite they are providing a unique market offering in the local area. We are pleased to support them in the launch of this sought after centre and look forward to working with them to grow their offering further.”

Jemma Openshaw, NatWest Healthcare Relationship Manager, Essex, adds: “Jim Milligan has shown true passion and determination in order to make his vision of supporting young adults with disabilities a reality. It has been a privilege to work with Jim to help support the refit of The Marigold Centre and I am delighted with the feedback that Jim has given me with respect to the introduction to Francis from Finance East. I look forward to continuous collaboration with Finance East and NatWest.”

The Regional Growth Loan Scheme (RGLS) is managed by Finance East, part of The FSE Group, on behalf of Local Enterprise Partnerships in the East of England and British Business Bank. The RGLS is available to established, incorporated businesses based within the East of England that have a minimum annual turnover of £100k, show strong growth potential and have a medium to long-term funding requirement to deliver that growth.

For more information about the Regional Growth Loan Scheme contact Francis Kenealy on 07825 699435 or email francis.kenealy@thefsegroup.com.