How Borrowers Became Investors: Tamara and David’s Story

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Becoming Investors

Tamara and David became FOLK2FOLK Investors in the summer of 2019 to supplement their monthly income from their newly refurbished guest house, Kinbrae House, in Cornwall.

Having moved from Jersey to Falmouth with the dream of opening their own holiday let business, they were originally introduced to FOLK2FOLK as Borrowers by their bank. With the help of a FOLK2FOLK loan, Tamara and David were able to transformed a beautiful Edwardian property into luxury 5-star self-catering apartments.  Now running a successful business, and having paid back their loan, Tamara and David found themselves in a position to make investments. Their first-hand experience of how FOLK2FOLK assess business Borrowers and how its Investors make a very real and important difference to local businesses by lending funds, meant they had confidence in investing via the peer to peer lending platform.

“We are delighted to be able to offer our support to other businesses who need private funding in the same way that we did.”

How Borrowers Became Investors: Tamara and David's Story | FOLK2FOLK

Their Journey with FOLK2FOLK

Three years ago, Tamara, an interior designer, and her husband David, a former swimming pool designer, decided to up sticks and move from their home in Jersey to the seaside town of Falmouth in Cornwall. They fell in love with an Edwardian property, situated a stone’s throw away from beautiful Gyllyngvase Beach, which had become rundown and required a complete upgrade to transform into the luxury holiday destination it is now. Although having skills and experience fit for the job, they needed financial help to achieve their dream.

Tamara and David initially set their sights on using a high street bank to provide them with a mortgage on the property, but unfortunately, as they had not lived in the UK for very long, none of the banks they spoke to would lend to them. After beginning to believe their dream would never become a reality, they were heartened when a high street bank advised them to give FOLK2FOLK a call.

After contacting FOLK2FOLK, a meeting was set up at Kinbrae House to discuss David and Tamara’s business idea and after learning about their plans, FOLK2FOLK were thrilled to be able to help.

Tamara and David were passionate about keeping the work local, ensuring they used local tradesmen and supplies throughout the renovation of Kinbrae House.

“We were over the moon that we were able to save a lovely Edwardian property in Falmouth and to breathe a new life into it. We have used local trades people and suppliers for most of the work that we have carried out.”

Since opening Kinbrae house, Tamara and David are now in a position where they can invest some of their money and when thinking of where to invest, FOLK2FOLK was a natural solution having seen the positive and very real impact investing via FOLK2FOLK can make to people just like them.

When speaking with Tamara on why they chose to invest via FOLK2FOLK, she said:

“Very interesting projects are offered to Investors; you can choose which ones to invest in and the FOLK2FOLK team are very lovely to deal with.”

Do you have a project we could help fund? Or are you interested in supplementing your monthly income by becoming a Investor? Give us a call on 0333 455 1902 or email enquiries@folk2folk.com.

www.kinbraehouse.co.uk 

Capital at risk. No FSCS.

Summer Show Season Comes to an End for Another Year

FOLK2FOLK

We’ve had a busy summer at local and county shows from Cornwall to Yorkshire! And we always like to reflect on what these shows mean to us and the impact they have on our local and rural communities.

Not only do these shows offer a fun day out for the family, they play a huge role in the lives of the local farmers, producers and rural professionals. The Royal Cornwall Show, for example, pulled in over 110,000 visitors to their three-day show this year, and it’s no surprise why these shows are so popular. It gives businesses that extra boost to kick start their busy summer in this glorious tourist hotspot.

With the number of high street shops still in decline, these events are crucial for the livelihood of our communities. The Local Lending Movement is all about keeping our local towns, villages and communities thriving. By lending through FOLK2FOLK our investors are helping local and rural businesses get the financial boost they need to grow, develop or diversify which contributes to the creation and sustainability of successful local and rural economies.

We’d like to thank all our customers and friends for coming to visit us at our various stands this year, it is always lovely to have a catch up!

If you’re interested to know more about joining our community of investors and becoming a part of The Local lending Movement, talk to us today.

Pictured here is our Head of Farming and Rural Engagement, Ian Bell OBE, presenting our British Blue Breed Champion, with judge Richard Bartle, owner Nigel Jenkinson and stockperson Julie Rooke.

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

FOLK2FOLK

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.”

FOLKONOMICS In Action

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

FOLK2FOLK
Background

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)

Nick’s Story

FOLK2FOLK

Originally I was a farmer, but after Foot and Mouth affected us we had to diversify and FOLK2FOLK have enabled me to do this.

I have borrowed money through FOLK2FOLK since they began and I was one of their first Borrowers. I have used the money to make improvements to my land, buy a digger and renovate a large barn which now houses a business providing accommodation for autistic adults. There are fifty full-time members of staff, ten of whom stay overnight. Social Services love our barn and we are now planning on working with them to do up another barn for adults with higher needs who need a safe environment.

How FOLK2FOLK helped me

I like the fact that FOLK2FOLK, I get quick access to the funds. They know me now so I get a quick decision. I have a good relationship with the staff who are all very professional. They understand what I am trying to do and are very supportive. I would definitely recommend FOLK2FOLK as Borrowers gain access to money quickly and Lenders are happy as they get a great rate of interest.

FOLK2FOLK appoints Claire Thayers as Chapter Development Manager

FOLK2FOLK

FOLK2FOLK appoints Claire Thayers as Chapter Development Manager | FOLK2FOLKFOLK2FOLK, the national, award-winning lending platform for local and rural business announces the appointment of Claire Thayers as its Chapter Development Manager in a newly created role.

She joins FOLK2FOLK at an important growth point for the rural lending business, as it focuses on growing its Local Lending Movement to help hundreds more rural businesses across Britain access the necessary finance for growth, development and diversification. Her role will be to raise FOLK2FOLK’s profile across the South West and Three Counties regions, improving awareness of its offering to both Borrowers looking for secured debt finance and for local professional partners that can refer clients to the business. She will be responsible for integrating FOLK2FOLK within the business communities where agriculture, food and drink production, leisure and tourism are key industries in those regions. She will also be FOLK2FOLK’s representative with local chambers of commerce, borough councils and other external organisations that play an important role in our rural business communities.

Claire Thayers has been a prominent business figure in Cornwall and the Cotswolds for many years, with a proven track record of establishing successful programmes that support rural and local business growth having worked with Cornwall Chamber of Commerce, Visit Cornwall, and the Association of Gloucestershire Business Groups.  Most recently, she worked with Gloucester Rugby and Gloucestershire Cricket, founding the Gloucestershire Forwards bi-monthly breakfasts to create a space where businesses and communities can meet, and start conversations to create long-term partnerships to benefit the county.

Giles Cross (CEO FOLK2FOLK): “We’re delighted that Claire has joined our growing team. Building a strong and vibrant rural economy is vital to our long-term wellbeing and Claire’s knowledge, experience and passion for local sustainable business will only strengthen FOLK2FOLK’s reputation as a trusted enabler of rural businesses, supporting their plans for growth, development and diversification. Her participation in and commitment to The Local Lending Movement will, I have no doubt, help us accelerate awareness of our offering and what we’re trying to achieve.”

Claire Thayers (Chapter Development Manager FOLK2FOLK): ‘’I feel very privileged and excited to be joining the FOLK2FOLK team. The opportunity to directly help local and rural businesses is something I am very much looking forward to getting involved in. I have been a big advocate of FOLK2FOLK since meeting them several years ago whilst living in Cornwall. I feel that they have a compelling offering that is fair to both Borrowers and Lenders, and can really make a difference to our rural economy.

FOLK2FOLK is positioning itself as the “go-to” provider for rural, local and farming businesses seeking secured finance for growth, development and diversification. Formed in 2013, the company exists to help create and sustain financially and socially successful local communities, empowering local businesses by matching them directly with Lenders seeking an inflation beating interest rate through its award-winning Peer-to-Peer lendin­­­­g platform.

FOLK2FOLK is a financial services provider committed to the values of decency, transparency and fair exchange, working to create positive, well priced customer outcomes in timely fashion, offering access to business finance using modern methodology whilst delivering good, old fashioned customer service.

ENDS

Notes:

Formed in 2013, FOLK2FOLK exists to help create and sustain financially and socially successful local communities, empowering local businesses requiring debt finance by matching them directly with investors through its Peer-to-Peer lending platform. FOLK2FOLK enables lenders to participate in supporting local UK businesses to grow and thrive driving ­­positive impacts in local communities, creating job opportunities and contributing to the UK economy.

FOLK2FOLK Lenders have funded loans in excess of £190m to UK business since 2013. FOLK2FOLK Lenders receive 6.5% interest p.a. on their FOLK2FOLK loans.

FOLK2FOLK uses technology not as an opportunity to dilute or remove human relationships, but to enhance them and bring them together. It remains one of the only companies of its kind to maintain and favour the existence of a local branch network. FOLK2FOLK should therefore not be described as a B2B or B2C business, but as H2H (Human2Human). FOLK2FOLK is FinTech with a face!

FOLK2FOLK now has a local presence in Cheshire, Cornwall, Cumbria, Devon, Dorset, East Anglia, Somerset, Thames Valley, Three Counties, Worcestershire & Yorkshire. Further growth is planned in 2018 and information will be made available in due course.

FOLK2FOLK is an award-winning Peer-to-Peer lending platform, having been awarded “Altfi Best Lending Platform for Small Business 2015” and “AltFi Up and Coming Business Platform of the Year 2016”. In November 2017, FOLK2FOLK was awarded “Small Business of the Year 2017” at the Western Morning News business awards.

FOLK2FOLK became authorised and regulated by the FCA in 2016 and became a member of the P2PFA in 2017.

Minimum investment in a FOLK2FOLK loan is £20,000. There is no maximum limit for investment. All loans secured against UK property or land. Peer-to-Peer lending is not a bank/deposit savings product and investors’ capital is at risk. Peer-to-Peer lending is not covered by the FSCS.

The Big Beautiful Beach House

FOLK2FOLK

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.

Coombeshead Farm opens with help from FOLK2FOLK

FOLK2FOLK

Cornwall is renowned for its culinary talents to turn amazing local produce into exquisite plates of food in fantastic settings. As a result, there is an abundance of award winning restaurants and hotels in the county with one more making a number of headlines for its rustic approach to food. This exciting new guesthouse is Coombeshead Farm, the brainchild of renowned chefs April Bloomfield and Tom Adams.

Chef Tom Adams first began looking at traditional banks to help him fund the project to buy the premises for his guesthouse in Cornwall, but was met with little enthusiasm and was turned away from a number of banks.

Tom who had successfully run London smoke house Pitt Cue Co. decided to up-sticks and move to Cornwall, launching the project alongside his business partner, New York-based chef April Bloomfield. Unable to get the funds from a mainstream bank, they were informed about a local peer-to-peer lending service just a few miles down the road. After meeting Folk2Folk the business was back on after receiving the funding required, thanks to the business loans service. By looking beyond the banks and having a good reputation, business plan and valuable property Tom and April were able to get the funding via a business loan from Folk2Folk.

The funds helped to buy the 200-year-old £1.5m property,  Coombeshead Farm, a Cornish farmhouse and former landowner’s seat. The plan has come together by first turning it into a guesthouse, with Tom cooking dinner using local Cornish produce for guests with the aim to eventually expand into a full restaurant. You can go for dinner at present if you are not staying as a guest.

Both April and Tom are acclaimed chefs, but neither had ever undertaken a project such as Coombeshead Farm with one of their biggest challenges being how to finance the project.

“It was all new territory,” says Tom. “We tried to go down the textbook route, but it wasn’t viable, mainly because of the commercial element. It wasn’t just that we were looking for a house to live in; we needed to have a viable business too. And for a lot of banks, that wasn’t a risk that they were prepared to take.”

After eight months of searching, Tom and April took out an interest only loan from Folk2Folk for 3 years secured against the property, giving them time to build their business with an affordable fixed monthly repayment.

Speaking to Tom, he said he was very impressed by attitude of Folk2Folk compared to the banks as Folk2Folk took a more business forward thinking approach. “They have a genuine interest in supporting something that will benefit the area and its economy. That’s not something a national big bank would have an interest in,” he says.

Coombeshead farm has now been open since July 2016 and has already received several positive accolades and reviews. Tom and April are just one example of how local lending through Folk2Folk and its investors are helping business owners fund and achieve their business dream.