In the latest edition of our exclusive blogs with Sir Thomas White Loan Charity trustees, Anne Whitlock provides insight into the charity’s Scholarship Programme Grants, which provide talented students with the opportunity to study at independent schools in a bid to enable them to reach their full potential…
The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity may have been around for hundreds of years, but that doesn’t stop it moving with the times and providing new opportunities to young people across Leicestershire.
So, when Hugh Stevenson – at the time Chair of Trustees at the Charity, saw an article about an organisation that offered grants to independent schools for promising students, he had a ‘light bulb’ moment. Why couldn’t the charity give money to exceptional students within schools in Leicestershire, so that they could study in the sixth form of an independent school within the county; thus giving them the greatest chance of fulfilling their potential?
Fast-forward five years and The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity has now given grants totalling £228,859 to eight pupils; all of whom, without exception, have described the opportunity as “life changing”.
Barrie Stephen, one of Leicestershire’s most renowned business owners, has become the first-ever patron of The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity.
Now based at Friars Mill in Leicester city centre, the charity provided Barrie with one of its interest-free business loans 23 years ago to help him establish his first salon, which became the platform for continued growth, as Barrie Stephen Hair established itself as a household name across the county.
Today the owner of five salons across Leicestershire, in addition to Barrie Stephen Hair’s dual-brand, B-Styled, Barrie Stephen’s success in the business world, in addition to the hair and beauty industry, has been well-documented over the years. The Leicester native is now recognised as one of the leading hair designers in the country and been the recipient of a plethora of business and industry accolades, including Leicestershire Businessman of the Year. The salon group has also been named Best UK Local Salon on two occasions for its work within the community.
The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity is pleased to announce that a total of £93,705 has been approved in interest-free loans to young people within Leicestershire and Rutland, at the end of the charity’s first quarter of 2019.
One of the oldest charities in the county, The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity, named after the wealthy benefactor forming part of the city’s historical Clock Tower, provides people aged over 18 and under-35 with interest-free loans to help start or develop businesses within the county, or to fund postgraduate study anywhere in the world.
Following March’s meeting of the charity’s Board of Trustees, a total of six interest-free business loans, totalling £79,380, were awarded to help fund ventures including a vegan caterer, illustrator and security provider.
In the second instalment of our exclusive blogs with Sir Thomas White Loan Charity trustees, Lucy Womack provides insight into the charity’s quarterly meetings, which determine whether a borrower’s application has been successful, and the inspiration felt come the meeting’s close…
Despite it being quite common, I’m always amazed at how inspired I feel coming away from my involvement with The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity. It’s at this time that I feel so enthusiastic about working with an incredible charity that makes such a huge difference to young people in the county.
Okay, a little context needed; I understand. Last week, I spent an afternoon at one of the quarterly trustee meetings, where all 18 of us sit to discuss a host of matters involving the charity – not just our interest-free business and education loans.
Sir Thomas White Loan Charity Ambassador Lee Tomes has benefited from both forms of interest-free investment available from the charity.
Having initially engaged with the charity to take out an education loan to fund his postgraduate study in London, Lee – having returned to Leicester following his studies – set up Orange Fox Studios.
The video production agency, based in Phoenix Square in Leicester’s city centre, thrived. However, Lee wanted to be able to offer clients an enhanced service and product. As a side note, Lee also wanted to be able to focus on being able to work on projects that enabled him to utilise his creativity and skillset to the fullest. In order to deliver all of that, he required additional investment.
Sir Thomas White Loan Charity Trustee, Bill Jones, provides an insight into the initial success of a borrower of one of the charity’s interest-free business loans, following his recent visit to see how things are getting on…
One of the things that I believe is so special about The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity is that our support and interest in a borrower’s business idea doesn’t stop when they’re approved for a loan. We genuinely care about the project an applicant has set out and we want them to succeed. That’s why, on an annual basis, us trustees visit our borrowers’ businesses to see how things are progressing.
For me, it’s one of the most rewarding things to experience.
Representatives from Leicester’s The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity visited St John’s College in Oxford in recent weeks, to attend the main Sir Thomas White Charity distribution lunch; an event which sees funds distributed to individual charities under the Sir Thomas White banner.
In itself, St John’s College is a fitting venue for the event. Founded in 1855 by Sir Thomas White himself, the college was originally established as a men’s college – but has been coeducational since 1979.
Anybody that has started their own business will understand the importance of forming a strong business plan.
It’s more than a document; it’s a guide that can help you keep on track when the unexpected happens and one that can be altered at different stages, to ensure you take the unexpected into account moving forward.
That’s why producing – or developing – a business plan is a key part of the application process for anybody wishing to take out an interest-free business loan from The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity.
With the loans we provide being so unique – we want to ensure that the investment provided is to a start-up or young business that has a clear direction, or to a prospective business owner that has done the research and planning to back up their concept. But it goes way beyond us.
A business plan enables YOU to evaluate where you are in terms of starting a business. It allows YOU to be able to see where your strengths and weaknesses are. It enables YOU to be able to set realistic goals.
The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity is pleased to reveal that a total of £114,560 has been approved in interest-free loans in December 2018, which will be used to establish or develop four businesses within the county and allow a further eight individuals the opportunity to study for postgraduate qualifications.
Among the business ventures to benefit from the interest-free loans provided by The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity are a personal trainer, a fashion brand designer and a creative business.
Meanwhile, students successfully accessing an education loan from the Charity will now go on to study in the fields of audio production, law, and training to become an associate physician.
Passion, hard work and determination – three attributes that are unquestionably key to succeeding in any chosen field. However, the measure of those attributes is something that can often go unseen by anybody other than the person embarking on their individual journey.
In the case of Sir Thomas White Loan Charity education loan borrower Denisa Gannon, the level of passion, hard work and unrivalled determination required to succeed arguably exceeds that of others.
Originally from the Czech Republic, Denisa has Roma origins, with Roma an ethnic minority in her home country. Despite having been able to benefit from education not usually afforded to Roma children in the Czech Republic, employment opportunities weren’t available to a Roma single parent and led to Denisa moving to the United Kingdom in 2006.