Woolacombe’s new luxury development offers bed to beach in just 4 minutes


A breath-taking sight awaits as you emerge round the bend leading down to the North Devon coastal village of Woolacombe.  Bright, shimmering sea striped with frothy waves and edged by an inviting sandy three mile beach creates a view not easily forgotten and amply justifies Woolacombe’s inclusion in the UK’s top 10 beaches.*

In 2008, after many years of idyllic family summers spent on this unspoilt and naturally beautiful stretch of coast, Robert and Sheila Sawyer discovered a local hotel for sale and were excited by its possibilities. The Narracott Grand Hotel had been an iconic destination for surfers and families in the 1960s and 70s but had been in terminal decline for years. Instantly recognising its potential to create a new destination for a UK holiday, Robert and Sheila joined with five other directors to form Blast Properties Ltd and purchased the hotel.

However, the financial crisis put their ambitions on hold until the economy strengthened in 2016. They also saw opportunity presented by Brexit, anticipating that British buyers would take more staycations and make savvy holiday home investments.

Now complete, the property development is known as Byron and offers 57 open market residential apartments. The level of luxury on offer aims to alter the perception of Woolacombe and challenge some of the more glamorous beach resorts further down the coast.  And, it appears to be succeeding; a recent article in the Telegraph featuring Byron, referred to Woolacombe as “The old-fashioned Devon seaside spot that could soon rival Rock”.

How FOLK2FOLK helped

Byron is one of the largest investments in any North Devon coastal community and an example of one of FOLK2FOLK’s largest single peer to peer loan investments to date.

In 2019, with the majority of the build complete and almost half the apartments sold, the directors of Blast Properties had met the conditions of their original funders and began looking to consolidate their loans and refinance on better terms for the sales phase.  FOLK2FOLK was chosen after Blast Properties approached a number of lenders via their broker.

“The offers that were eventually tabled were in no way comparable to FOLK2FOLK’s offer,” explained Robert, “An additional benefit was a shared sense of purpose to regenerate economic activity in a small community in North Devon.”

“FOLK2FOLK’s process was also quicker and more straightforward.  We really appreciated the direct contact with senior management, making decisions on minor or major points only a phone call away.”
– Robert Sawyer, director Blast Properties Ltd

The business

Ranging from one to four bedrooms, Byron’s apartments have exclusive use of the development’s luxurious facilities which include a wellness spa, gym, indoor pool, sauna, games room and parking. Brundles, a new restaurant on the site is run by Devon-born Graham Brundle, the former personal chef to Richard Branson on the entrepreneur’s Necker Island resort in the British Virgin Islands. Brundles is open to the public but offers exclusive benefits to owners and their holiday rental guests. It’s easy to see why Robert says “owning an apartment at Byron is like having a hotel in your home”.

Robert and Sheila explain that owning a holiday home at Byron provides a great location for holidays with friends and family while also offering owners a lucrative source of additional income.  The apartments have been designed with this in mind and are unrestricted by any holiday occupation clause.  In addition, Byron’s letting service offers a hands-off service that enables owners to enjoy rental profit without the hassle of dealing with an off-site agency.

Robert explains there are also tax benefits for this type of property investment: “What many people don’t realise is that recent tax changes to buy to let taxation are making furnished holiday rental property more profitable than buy to let property.

“Apartments at Byron can be classified as a Furnished Holiday Let (FHL) which brings benefits of capital allowances and other tax benefits compared to Buy to Let. This is because Furnished Holiday Letting is treated as a business, whereas Buy to Let is treated as an investment in property.  Based on the purchase price alone FHL properties at Byron offer tax free profits for up to five years.”
– Robert Sawyer, director Blast Properties Ltd


By developing the former Narracott Grand Hotel which had been in decline for years, Byron has made a significant economic impact to the local area.

“Approximately 46 full time roles have been created at Brundles Bar and Restaurant and five new jobs at Byron for staff to provide services to owners and their guests. We estimate the annual gross value added to the Northern Devon economy is approximately £1.48m per year. “
– Robert Sawyer, director Blast Properties Ltd

In addition, local tradesmen and businesses were used in the build and local suppliers are used by Brundles restaurant, except for very technical consultants who had to be imported from elsewhere in the South West. The attraction of the development has the potential to draw an increased number of diners, visitors and tourists to Woolacombe and its local businesses.

For more information about borrowing or lending via FOLK2FOLK
Visit: www.folk2folk.com  Call: 0333 455 1902

For information on properties to purchase at Byron, please contact Byron direct on:
Call: 01271 871 643  Email: sales@byronwoolacombe.co.uk
Visit: www.byronwoolacombe.co.uk.

*Top 10 beaches – United Kingdom and Channel Islands, Trip Advisor

A Picture of Success: How expanding their premises increased local employment


Dave and Sarah’s FOLK2FOLK loan enabled them to grow their business and employ 14 local staff. Now with a 20% increase in turnover, they count their lucky stars their accountant introduced them to FOLK2FOLK.

The Problem

Dave and Sarah originally started ‘Stable Art’ in a small workshop in the centre of Bodmin, Cornwall where they supplied a vast range of art supplies and framing services. As their client list rapidly started to grow, they soon realised they needed to expand their current work space to accommodate the increase in orders by providing a larger workshop for their staff.

After a derelict chapel became available only a few miles down the road, Dave and Sarah couldn’t resist the idea of transforming it into their dream business of bespoke framing.

The Solution

“After six months of speaking to a number of high street banks who wouldn’t back our project, due to their view that we’re in the decreasing market of retail and uncertain sector of construction, we were advised by our accountant to give FOLK2FOLK a call, which we did!”

FOLK2FOLK were happy to support Dave and Sarah’s development providing them with access to the finance they needed to grow. Once the application had gone through, the money was in their account two weeks later.

Dave and Sarah initially used their loan to purchase the derelict chapel on the outskirts of Bodmin. They went on to build an extension and renovate it into a shop for their art supplies, a workshop to create bespoke frames, a coffee shop, staff kitchen and two outer log cabins which they use to run a range of workshops with local artists.

Stable Art

“The best thing about FOLK2FOLK was the speed in which they turned things around. We only had to wait two weeks before the money was in the bank and we could start the work. They also offered flexible options for repayment which was great, and we are now in the process of raising a mortgage to begin the process.”


Dave and Sarah opened their doors in September 2018 and since expanding into the chapel their turnover has increased by 20%. They now employ 14 local staff including local artists who take workshops including stone carving, oil painting, watercolours, weaving and Christmas wreath making. They also supply framing and mirrors to local schools, galleries, museums, hotels and councils.

You can visit them at: www.stableart.co.uk

What would you do with a FOLK2FOLK loan? Talk to us!

Pauline & Andy’s Story


Pauline and Andy have a small holding in Herefordshire. Inching closer to retirement, they made the bold decision to try their hand at property development, something neither had done before, to help build up their pension pot.

The Project

Their grand plan was to build four new four-bedroom properties all with high spec eco-credentials including solar panels, charging points for electric cars, underfloor heating, water storage and bio mass septic tanks.  To counteract their lack of experience in property development, they secured a multi award-winning architect to help manage the project and bring their design dreams into fruition.

After receiving planning permission, Pauline and Andy approached their bank of 18 years for a business loan but were astonished when they were turned away: “We had some savings to invest in our project, land as security for a loan, and planning permission for the build but the bank was nervous of development. We couldn’t see a way forward after being turned down by other banks, then one referred us to FOLK2FOLK and our luck changed.”

The Solution

FOLK2FOLK took an holistic and common-sense approach to Pauline and Andy and the project. “FOLK2FOLK’s attitude was different from the start. We felt like they wanted to help and were friendly and helpful throughout the process.”

Pauline and Andy have employed fifteen local tradespeople to work on their current development and build project, and having been bitten by the property bug are already planning future projects.

“We’re so grateful to FOLK2FOLK for giving us the chance to do this. Not only is it great to obtain the finance we need for our project, but it feels brilliant to be able to create jobs for local people and it’s also nice to know we’re helping FOLK2FOLK’s investors grow their retirement pots – just like we’re growing ours.”

(Stock image used)

Toastie Taverns


Lower monthly repayments and a relationship with an organisation that makes the effort to understand her business were two of the main reasons pub company boss Lesley Humphrys opted for a FOLK2FOLK loan last year.

Humphrys runs the Toastie Taverns chain of 24 public houses in the North-west of England and she has successfully refinanced a £705,000 loan on 13 of her properties with FOLK2FOLK after taking advice from her broker in August 2017.

“We had been with RateSetter for about 12 months, but we were facing extremely hefty monthly payments as we were repaying both capital and interest,” Humphrys explains. “This left us with no money to reinvest into the business.”

The FOLK2FOLK loan is interest-only, which means that Toastie Taverns has managed to free up a considerable amount of spare cash. “This leaves me free to invest back into my estate,” Humphrys says. “The pubs we have acquired are tired: I would say 50% of the houses need refurbishment.”

One of the reasons Humphrys has turned to peer-to-peer lending platforms for funding is that bank finance has all but dried up. “If you take the pub industry in general, it doesn’t have a very good reputation and pubs have been closing at a steady rate ever since the smoking ban I suppose. Because it is seen as a declining market, nobody really wants to lend.

“I have tried looking for bank finance, but all the red tape around it is extremely difficult to deal with, even if someone is willing to lend.”

One of the key advantages of working with FOLK2FOLK was being able to have meetings in person, she adds. “It is vitally important that the lending platform understands what we are doing: and in this way FOLK2FOLK was happy with our business plan, numbers and performance.

“We know that you can’t just serve a pint of lager and expect that to be it. The customer is looking for quality, consistency and they want to come in and a have a good time in your establishment.”

Humphrys says her broker had arranged a handful of deals with FOLK2FOLK prior to recommending the platform to Toastie Taverns. “He said they would come out and meet me face-to-face and that was exactly what I wanted. I wanted to create a partnership rather than just have money lent to me by someone who goes off and doesn’t see me again.

“Once upon a time, you used to have that with the banks: you’d go to lunch and you’d talk about the business and its needs. But since the financial crisis, that approach has disappeared. To me, though, it looks like the P2P lenders are going back to the old banking relationships.”

Humphrys also appreciates FOLK2FOLK’s ethos of helping individual lenders put money back into their local communities. “We run community boozers, so we have that sort of ideology anyway,” she explains. “The great thing for us is that FOLK2FOLK Lenders have lent us the money over three years and that is set in stone. That means we can get on and grow our business, and make sure our turnover is growing.

“One of the biggest challenges in the industry is that pubs need to evolve because the customer base is changing. But having that three-year timeframe gives us the certainty to be able to meet the challenges we are currently facing.”

Learn more about FOLK2FOLK’s secured loans and how they can help your business grow, develop, diversify or refinance.

Richard’s Story


“Sharp & Tappin is a precision engineering company and has been going for 11 years. The business has two parts: one is onboard cameras for ships and the other is composite blade saws for the aerospace industry. The business was set up by one of my sons and one of his friends’ fathers and I joined it. The business was expanding and we desperately needed more space. We were renting units but we didn’t want to rent more space as this was dead money, instead, we wanted to buy some land and build on it.

In 2007, we bought development land, Natwest were going to lend us the money but they changed their mind. We went to Parnells Solicitors who put us in contact with a local farmer which enabled us to take out a private mortgage. We negotiated the interest rate and he even came to see the business. The deal was that if either party wanted their money back there was a three-month clause. In the end, we moved the mortgage to Lloyds and paid off the farmer but it certainly helped us in the first instance.

We then needed further funds to actually build the units on the acquired development land. We desperately needed more space as we were expanding at a colossal rate. We went back to Lloyds bank and although I couldn’t fault the local people there, it just took too long and we needed to get on with it.

How FOLK2FOLK helped us

Meanwhile, the owners of Parnalls had set up Folk2Folk. This time we didn’t have to negotiate with a private lender it was all agreed up front, we didn’t meet the lender and within 10 days the money was in our bank. I can’t recommend Folk2Folk more highly.

We employ about fourteen locals and one who works from home. We now have two units, one is for all the engineering and the other is now rented out on a long lease.  Sharp & Tappin is a family business, I am working with two of my sons and my partner Pete has his son and wife working with us too.

Folk2Folk allowed us to build our own premises, the whole process couldn’t have been more straightforward. Without Folk2Folk we couldn’t have expanded the business.  By enabling us to build the units we’ve been able to develop the business and continue to grow it.

My partner and I view the second unit as our pension pot. I would certainly recommend Folk2Folk as they are professional, easy to deal with and more importantly the money is accessible very quickly.”

How P2P finance can help the UK’s farming industry


Farmers are set to be some of the hardest hit workers as Britain negotiates its way out of the EU. But local lending through a peer-to-peer platform can provide a valuable form of finance so that farmers can access funds to grow, diversify or refinance  amid the uncertainty of Brexit.

A recent study of 172 farms by the Prince’s Farm Resilience Programme, found just 16 per cent made a profit from their farming activities over the period assessed. Recent analysis found that instead many farms are now relying on alternative income streams to turn a profit, such as tourism, renewable energy and selling their products directly to consumers.[i]

But diversification and moving into alternative areas of business requires capital. And, with the average farm in the study making a loss of more than £20,000 from its farming activities, it may be capital that farmers require to invest in their business to prevent a loss.

Peer-to-peer finance could be a lifeline to the UK farming industry. It allows landowners to raise much-needed funds to help diversify their business. Meanwhile, local lenders can enjoy the produce and services their money has contributed towards creating.

The farming industry has already had to tackle a number of significant challenges in recent years. Supermarket giants have squeezed profit margins and demanded ever-increasing output levels.

It is estimated that the number of dairy farmers has more than halved over the past decade, unable to keep up with cost cuts. A survey by the National Farmers’ Union[ii] earlier this year found confidence among farmers on the outlook over the next three years had plunged, with many concerned about rising costs and an increase in trade tariffs which could eat into profits. A recent report by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) estimated that the average farm could see its income halved after Brexit.[iii]

EU subsidies have provided a much-needed boon to many farms, providing a £2.5 billion funding lifeline[iv]. Leaving the EU will likely leave a major gap in many farms’ balance sheets and local lending could provide the plug many farmers may require.

Many small businesses are turning away from the high street lenders when they are looking for funding or finding banks unwilling to lend to them. At the same time, many investors are looking for a more social and sustainable way to earn interest on their cash. It is estimated that in 2015 some 12 per cent of lending to small and medium sized businesses came through peer-to-peer platforms and the proportion is only growing.[v][LD1]

The appeal is easy to see: investing money in local businesses means not only do lenders have the chance to earn an inflation beating rate of interest but they can also see exactly how their cash is being used on their local communities.

Folk2Folk champions local lending because we believe in creating financially and socially sustainable communities by matching local businesses with local lenders. With  headquarters in Cornwall and hubs across the UK in rural communities, we’re well aware of the importance and impact farmers have on their local communities, and all of the challenges and opportunities they face during the Brexit transition.

To learn more about how finance solutions from FOLK2FOLK could help with your business and farm, be sure to visit www.folk2folk.com/loans

[i] http://www.princescountrysidefund.org.uk/who-we-are/latest-news/post/91-one-in-five-family-farms-unable-to-survive-on-farming-alone

Transforming Paschoe House into a boutique hotel and local employer


After receiving some fantastic reviews such as in The Telegraph and other local publications, FOLK2FOLK went along to see the results of the transformation of Paschoe House. Once a former derelict manor house, it’s owner’s daughter Tabitha Amador-Christie discusses how the house has evolved into a modern boutique hotel and fine dining restaurant. With help from FOLK2FOLK and our lenders, the money raised has helped make Tabitha’s dream and business idea a reality. One that now employs over 20 people and has put Paschoe House up there as one of the UK’s hottest hotels on the rise.

At aged 18, Tabitha already had her vision for a business. It was to transform her home, Paschoe House in Devon, into a boutique hotel. Armed with a business plan created herself, Tabitha pitched the idea to her father over tacos at Wahaca in Westfield Shopping Centre in London.

Unsurprisingly, Tabitha’s father said no at the time but fast-forward 10 years and after further pressures from an ambitious and determined Tabitha, her dad gave way to her plans to create a boutique hotel in the heart of Devon.

“I just couldn’t let the idea go. All through my time at university and working in London, I kept coming back to the house at weekends and knew it had the potential to be a luxury hotel. In 2014 we went through a life changing experience as a family and after a further 7-8 months of discussing the idea with my Dad, he then give me the blessing to put a proper business case together with architectural plans and finance propositions.”

Tabitha was able to pull together all the building plans, CADS and business plans by asking friends to help out. By doing this before the project even started, Tabitha was able to save thousands in professional fees. All-in-all it took around 10 months to get the plans together as well as planning permissions for the listed building to be made into a hotel.

“I remember we got the final planning permissions from the council in June 2016, the next stage was getting the finance in place to start the building work as quickly as possible. The challenge for me was where we would raise the funds needed to do the work.”

Tabitha naturally went to her family’s existing bank for a loan. It immediately said no to the idea as it was not lending to the leisure and tourism industry. The initial feedback was that the business was too projection led. Tabitha also tried Barclays which wanted a deposit of 20% based on the loan amount which she didn’t have.

It was her solicitor Andrew Greene who recommended Tabitha to speak to FOLK2FOLK to see if we could help fund the renovations and new building work.

“In mid-September 2016  I went into FOLK2FOLK’s Launceston branch armed with my plans and deeds and had a fantastic meeting discussing the business. I was then informed the next day that the loan had been approved by FOLK2FOLK, which really helped bring a sense of calm and reassurance. Within 1-2 weeks the funds were in my account and that same week the builders were on site getting to work.”

“I had heard of FOLK2FOLK but wish I had gone to them sooner, as I could have saved myself around three months of wasted time and discussions with banks. It was great to get certainty after so much rejection.”

“What struck me was the ethos of FOLK2FOLK, it was positive in saying yes and I think it’s a fair form of finance as I know my money is coming from real people, which means I am extremely grateful to my lenders for believing in me. I know my repayments are going to them which makes me more determined to make the hotel a success.”

Paschoe House is a great example of Folkonomics and the local lending movement in action. Tabitha is passionate about keeping everything local from produce to staff.

During the 11-month renovation and building project, she employed only local contractors to carry out the work. On average, she says there were around 40 people on site at any one time. This included plumbers, builders, carpenters, painters, electricians and plasterers. The hotel is a testament to her project managing skills and design vision, as she was on site 24/7 to oversee the various contractors and interiors which she did herself.

The hotel has also become an attractive local place to work too, as Tabitha has hired an experienced and talented Devon based chef plus additional local talent to fill the 23 roles at the hotel with 6 permanent members of the team and the rest on part-time and flexible hours. Tabitha emphasised that as this is a family home turned hotel and she wants to make her team feel part of that family too.

“It was always my plan to make Paschoe into a luxury destination venue for people looking to explore Devon but also for locals to enjoy too; be that for lunch & dinner, evening drinks or afternoon tea. I always had the goal of the business to be a local employer, to create jobs for local people to learn, train and grow their careers. We have CVs coming in daily which is great as we can then look at ensuring we have the best people for the roles we have available.”

“We are also a fully set up for weddings and corporate events, and have a couple of big weddings and events under our belts. This was a good test for me and the team to see how we fare under the pressure. I’m very happy to say that the team did excellent, we learned a lot from it as I’m always looking to make improvements to the hotel and the way we do things.”

“The next the stage is to increase our bookings and private hires but also to become a 5-star hotel. I think that will really help make us stand out as a go-to hotel in the South West.”

Following our chat in the main living room with hotel dog Truffles looking on, Tabitha gave FOLK2FOLK a guided tour of the bedrooms, kitchen, bar, dining room and outside. What struck us was the sheer size and scale of the project and level of design and detail that has gone into Paschoe House. Tabitha has created a luxurious hotel, that is at the same time calm, cosy and contemporary without being over-the-top in its design.

We look forward to seeing how the hotel progresses and expect to see more great reviews in the future.  Paschoe House is a shining example of why FOLK2FOLK’s local lending movement is important and how Folkonomics can benefits local communities.

We wish Tabitha and her team all the best.

Dartington Dairy


What does it take to produce an award-winning ice cream?

A lot of dedication, taste-testing, early mornings plus a decent herd of goats and cows.

At the Dartington Estate in Devon, farming couple Jon and Lynne Perkin took on the tenancy at Old Parsonage Farm in March 2015 and set about transforming the farm into a commercial dairy via their herd of goatlings and the management of the Sharpham Jersey herd of cows later that year.

In 2016 the Dartington Dairy was launched in 2016, working with a local specialist to make ice cream from their first batch of goats’ milk.

Excited by the opportunities that they felt were available at Old Parsonage Farm, through diversifying away from more traditional farming practices, they developed the idea of starting a goat dairy, selling the milk and other products locally and directly to the customer. For Jon and Lynne it is also important that the farm provides public access and education around farming, enabling people to understand the farm environment and the provenance of their food. Currently, this is through farm open days and the different ‘Milking’ and ‘Farmer for the Day’ experiences on offer.

After a lot of frustration in trying to secure finance through government funding initiatives and speaking to their bank, Jon and Lynne spent close to £10k in professional assistance in gathering documents and information to be told that the goalposts of their loan had moved. After speaking to a family friend, Jon was introduced to FOLK2FOLK as a possible solution to provide the £75k as a business loan to help with the business.

“I wish I had come to FOLK2FOLK at the very beginning as we would’ve saved a lot of money and time. I couldn’t believe how simple the loan process was. It was a breath of fresh air working with a company that uses common sense and listens to you as a business. We got a decision in under two days and the money was in our account three weeks later. I had given up on the high-street banks completely. It was a totally easier, better and happier experience dealing with FOLK2FOLK.”

Jon and Lynne used the funds to develop the dairy by purchasing essential processing equipment and investing in the brand to make it more marketable to potential buyers and consumers.

Dartsington Dairy’s product range varies from ice cream to milk and kefir yogurt. Their unique and secret way of making ice cream has landed them with a Great Taste Gold Star Award for their chocolate ice cream. Having tasted it ourselves we can see why! The other flavours are also delicious.

The produce is currently sold across 40 local retail outlets in the south west, but Jon and Lynne have ambitions to sell across the UK and through larger supermarkets over the next 2 years as the business matures and gains more awareness.

Jon takes a trial approach to new business partnerships and challenges shops to help change perceptions about goat’s milk products. So far, he has not had to refund any of his 40 retail customers as they all continue to increase their orders.

“We are investing in the business for the long-term. Our team of six, is super dedicated but we are always keen to get talented and hard-working staff to help grow the dairy and get as many people trying and buying our products. It’s reassuring to know that our lenders believed in us and we want to ensure that we use their money wisely to build a profitable business.”

The future of the dairy is certainly looking mint and with more flavours and products in the pipeline, we can expect even more exciting developments to come from this hard working team in Dartington.

The Big Beautiful Beach House


Who doesn’t love a British seaside holiday?

Almost everyone has a fondness of going to the coast, be that as a child or making new adventures with your family in the future. The staycation trend seems to be here to stay as us Brits have fallen back in love with holidaying closer to home.

This is great news for seaside and holiday-let business owners like Martin. He is one of many FOLK2FOLK borrowers that has taken advantage of the growth in the domestic tourist industry and demand in holiday lets in Cornwall. Recently, we have seen a boom in lending to entrepreneurs like Martin to help people convert, refurbish or build properties for holiday accommodation purposes as the demand from UK tourists and abroad increases.

It’s a great example of how holiday accommodation businesses are using new finance services like FOLK2FOLK to grow. The grade II listed 12 bedroom property has been in Martin’s family since 1850 and is set amidst acres of tranquil gardens, just above the beach, with the ability to sleep up to 21 people. From the outset of starting the business Martin was confident it would be a popular property to rent and stay at.

After the house was used as a film set, Martin and his family decided it was time to turn it into a dedicated holiday-let and events venue for weddings.
“Featuring in the film really helped create a lot of press and publicity for the house as we secured several bookings as a result. A large proportion of our business now comes from repeat customers, some of whom came to stay because of the movie. Our guests fall in love with the house immediately as the location, views of the sea and access to the beach below are outstanding. We are grateful that people want to come back each year.”

The property also has a number of smaller cottages as well as a car park that feeds the town’s beach. Martin was keen to monetise and develop this into an additional income stream. By creating more bedrooms across the property, Martin was keen to let individual rooms as well as cottages, maximising his assets to let. This allows multiple guests to stay at the same time but having equal privacy. Martin appreciates not everyone wants to rent a 12 bedroom house but families may require 2 rooms or a smaller private cottage for their stay. This means the house can then run as large B&B as multiple guests can stay at any one time.

Interior at Big Beautiful Beach House

“It’s about offering choice and flexibility to our guests. It’s important they feel comfortable when making the booking and ultimately want to rebook for next year. We appreciate that everyone’s holiday time is valuable.”

At the time of setting up the business Martin had some finance associated with the property which he was keen to refinance at the same time using some of the loan to expand and develop the property.  Investing in the pay and display car park was also a priority. Martin found that his commercial borrower was unable to help in his plans as they needed to see more income before lending him the additional money required.

After visiting his bank at Lloyds, they referred Martin to FOLK2FOLK to help finance his plans. Martin met with FOLK2FOLK earlier this year taking out a two-year fixed interest-only loan. This helped refinance and use the additional funds to refurbish the cottages and set up the car parking meters.

“The loan from FOLK2FOLK and its lenders has enabled me to speed up the refurbishments. This means I can build my business faster and increase my income to maximise the months left in 2017, putting us in a strong position for 2018 and beyond.”

Beach at Big Beautiful Beach House

“Having the car park meters in place is a relief as it means I know that there is a regular income coming direct from that asset as it is now a self-sufficient part of my business.”

“Dealing with FOLK2FOLK was very straightforward, simple and refreshing to deal with as I had certainty within a day of applying. The funds came a couple of weeks later and it was reassuring to know that decisions were made based on common sense and a large degree of trust instead of dealing with difficulties I tended to get from the bank.”

Martin is now fully booked for the rest of the year with 46 weeks out of 52 in 2018. The long-term goal is to have 20 working bedrooms at any one time with rates from £100 a night as well as the self-run beach car park providing very good revenues for the business.

Saving Wrangaton Golf Course


You wouldn’t normally associate farming and golf, but they do share a key attribute…land management.

In 2015, Wrangaton Golf Club, a members’ run course at the time, fell into administration and came up for sale. A local farming family immediately saw an opportunity to transform the course into something different – a more inclusive environment with greater flexibility for participation – having previously built a 9 hole course 15 years before. The plan was to improve the club house and make the course a more open and friendly operation. The course would charge membership fees and continue their ethos of open “pay & play” so that everyone could enjoy the course whenever they wanted.

With the course and land up for sale, Richard and Jane went about trying to secure the finance required through the bank they had dealt with for the last 30 years or so and, to their surprise, they were refused even though they had more assets than required to secure a good rate on a loan.

“The banks weren’t keen on the purchase. They didn’t want to lend to us as it was classed as “leisure”, a sector they had pulled out of,” said Richard. “I went to a few other banks which all said no, but at least the last one referred us to Folk2Folk.”

Richard and Jane borrowed £350,000 in 2015 and repaid the loan in July 2017.

The application with Folk2Folk was very straight-forward. It went through in roughly three weeks with funds in our account. This helped us crack on with improving the course and creating a better club for both existing and new members.”

Richard and Jane used around £250,000 for the purchase with the other £100k spent on course equipment, building and renovations, the upgrading of utilities and creating some working capital. This allowed them to turn Wrangaton into a unique course set across open moors, providing a challenging golfing experience to players of all abilities, utilising all of their land management expertise, from tending the greens and the fairways to reshaping the course to fit with the natural surroundings.

“It’s been a fantastic 18 months. Our three sons have all worked extremely hard; hard work which has seen the business return to a positive balance and we have gained an extra 80 members since 2015.”

“As a business we would have had no hope without FOLK2FOLK and its Lenders backing our plans.”

“Our plan is to continue to grow our membership for this unique moorland golf course, and we are actively looking to purchase another golf club. That way our membership can run across multiple sites, so our members can choose where and when to play depending on what suits them on that day.”

Richard and Jane have been so impressed with the way the FOLK2FOLK has helped them, that they’re now looking to invest as Lenders to help other businesses flourish and execute their plans. “It’s great that money is going to people like us who want to get on and do something good. We’re grateful that local people believed in our business and are proud that we have achieved what we said we would through a lot of hard work.”

“We want to help other businesses achieve the success we’ve had and luckily, through FOLK2FOLK, we can do just that!”

For more information about our secured business loans and how we can help your business grow, diversify or refinance please visit https://www.folk2folk.com/borrow/get-a-business-loan/

For more information about Wrangaton Golf Club – visit – https://www.wrangatongolfclub.co.uk/