Trust Thamesmead launched a Fair Finance service, the first south of the river, at our office on Wednesday 8 August.
One of the Trust's main strategic aims over the next three years is to develop a financial inclusion service for the most financially-disadvantaged in Thamesmead and will offer Fair Finance's services from their office based at 19a Joyce Dawson Way, Thamesmead Town Centre every Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday.
With two advisors on hand to give advice and help on rent arrears, debt counselling, sensible repayment arrangements, bills, debts and loans and offering finance to people who have difficulty accessing it, the Trust and Fair Finance will work with community groups and its partners to achieve the best outcome for the residents of Thamesmead.
Social enterprise company, Fair Finance started 12 years ago, after founder and Managing Director Faisel Rahman met with a group of ladies living in Stepney who had signed-up with doorstep lenders, charging them a 400-600% interest rate on their loans. He said: “They were honest people who would repay the loan but found it hard to do so with such a huge interest rate - it spurred me on.”, pointing out that although until now Fair Finance did not have an office south of the river, they work with hundreds of clients from both Bexley and Greenwich who commute to their office in Limehouse.
Trust Thamesmead's Chief Executive, Mick Hayes, said: “The new Fair Finance service will make a significant impact on the lives of some of the most financially-excluded people in Thamesmead.
“By providing the debt advice and financial capability workshop we will, over three years, help residents make an estimated £1m saving on interest payments. Local residents, in particular those who are already financially excluded, will be supported to get on their feet and become debt free. The financial capability workshops will support some of the poorest residents to access banking services and equitable sources of credit.
“By the end of March 2015 we will aim to have supported 1600 residents, 850 residents will have received local debt advice from Fair Finance and 120 residents will have been helped to open bank accounts. Other strands of this work include support for the local Credit Union and our continued campaign to see a bank established in Abbey Wood/Thamesmead.”
Fair Finance founder and MD Faisel Rahman said: "Fair Finance is a social business designed to help people find affordable finance and better manage their finances. We are really excited and looking forward to working in partnership with Trust Thamesmead to bring our services to the local residents.
“Our aim is to bring affordable banking and advice to the residents of Thamesmead and also find out what is going on within the area.
“We have a good relationship with a number of well-known banks who see our customers as low risk. Our hope is that we will help residents to take ownership of their financial situation and give them the opportunity to access bank accounts and mortgages in the future.”
Erith & Thamesmead MP, Teresa Pearce said: “Debt blights so many people's lives. I often get people coming to my surgeries talking about their debt problems, saying they can't afford basic things like school uniforms and shoes. Having access to fair advice is a part of the fight against debt. I am hopeful that Fair Finance will help people manage their money and get the advice they need to take control of their finances and it is thanks to Trust Thamesmead that this has been made a reality within Thamesmead.”
Local residents who need access to finance, help opening a bank account or financial advice should contact Fair Finance for an interview, T: 020 7702 8032, call the Trust: 020 8320 4470 or E: email@example.com