As well as help our clients, we also like to help with community-related projects and raise cash for charity where possible. We currently help out with two charities - The Sella Community Project and Mentoring Plus.
The Sella Community Project was initially set-up to help women in a remote northern region of Sierra Leone borrow money to help develop businesses. A colleague of ours, Richard Meads, set-up a micro credit scheme in response to a call for help from the community that was struggling to climb out of its post-civil war rut. The scheme is run by respected local leaders, including the Chief and the pastor. A fund has been created from which small loans are awarded and then repaid so that money is available for others to borrow. Over 90 women have so far borrowed and repaid loans in full.
The Project is now extending its reach and is in the process of building a new school, developing adult literacy classes and helping to set-up and manage a community animal breeding programme.
Why is it needed? The region is very poor, too far from the capital Freetown to receive consistent charity aid and regular government support. It has also been a target for loan sharks from the capital, eager to exploit an illiterate community by charging extortionate repayment rates.
We are helping with the web site and with fundraising initiatives.
Mentoring Plus is a youth crime prevention project working with vulnerable young people, living in Bath and North East Somerset, who are at risk of offending.The project provides a mentoring and education support programme structured over one year. The programme includes initial induction, training, a residential weekend as well as activities, events and excellent on-going support and supervision.
As with most charitable organisations, financial pressures can dictate the extent to which a charity can reach out further and extend its work. We are helping Mentoring Plus with some media activity and advice on how to reach the local and national business community.