Deadline nears for company’s finance project

Mark Smith of The Car Finance Company

Mark Smith of The Car Finance Company

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TIME is running out to get applications in to The Car Finance Company’s scheme to give back to the local community.

The Friends In Finance programme has been running since March and offers funding to Portsmouth-based charities and projects that work to benefit the community.

As Monday’s deadline approaches, staff at The Car Finance Company are urging further charities and projects to get their applications in for a chance to win funding.

Marketing manager Michael Hollands said: ‘The Friends In Finance project has been a great success.

‘We’ve had over 100 application requests so far and from such a wide range of organisations and charities.

‘It’s always positive to see how they can use the finance to better the groups and communities close to them.

‘We’d love to be able to provide them all with the finance needed.’

Mark Smith, the founder of The Car Finance Company, has donated £14,000 to a pot of cash specifically for local projects that benefit people in the Portsmouth area.

Once other businesses heard about his goodwill gesture they bumped the pot up to around £20,000.

Mark, 45, of Old Portsmouth, said the projects and charities could involve anything, from building a playground to funding a public event – anything which would help make Portsmouth a better place.

The overall amount will be split into three separate amounts which applicants can bid for.

Once all applications are received, The Car Finance Company will put the information on a company-wide communication system where all staff can vote for the charity or project they think should receive funding.

Points will be added for viability, responsibility and the impact it will have and three finalists will then be chosen for each amount available .

The results will be announced in June, after a panel made up of the firm’s employees considers the finalists’ applications.

How to apply

THE FRIENDS in Finance scheme is offering up to £20,000 to charities and community groups.

Groups and individuals can apply for the cash, which is being led by The Car Finance Company.

The North End firm has put up £14,000 for projects to apply for, with the pot being boosted to about £20,000 with further contributions from local businesses Coffin Mew, KPMG and Shoosmiths.

Charities and community groups wanting to bid for money need to apply for an application pack.

Staff from The Car Finance Company will then decide who gets the cash. To apply for funding for your charity or community group, you will need an application pack.

To get a pack, visit thecarfinancecompany.co.uk/Friends
Alternatively, write to Friends in Finance, The Car Finance Company, 47-51 Kingston Crescent, Portsmouth, PO2 8AA. Please provide a name, e-mail address and postal address.

Application packs must be returned to The Car Finance Company by Monday, April 27, 2015.

Giving something back

THE Car Finance Company (TCFC) was started in 2007 from founder Mark Smith’s spare bedroom in Southsea.

Mark’s goal was to help provide finance to those with poor credit, with a focus on ethical and responsible lending.

The company motto is “We care about your future, not your past” which is seen as more than just a marketing slogan as all decisions are based on whether repayment schedules will be manageable with the customer’s current financial situation.

TCFC’s aim is to develop a long-term relationship with every customers and work alongside them to repair and rebuild their credit rating.

They have so far managed to do this by being as transparent as possible with their affordable loans and the company now has more than 30,000 customers with more than 350 employees, 100 of whom are based at the head office in Portsmouth.

Being an employee-owned enterprise with the majority of employees being local residents, TCFC was always keen to make a difference in the community.

It therefore launched Friends in Finance, which sets out how it is giving back to the Portsmouth community, sharing its success with others, and supporting residents and businesses.

The project is aimed at giving something back to the people and places that have helped The Car Finance Company get to where it is today.

The company hopes this project is a great success this year and will be looking to grow it each year with more businesses joining in and offering a larger fund, ultimately reaching out to more and more people.

The focus on giving back to customers doesn’t end with the Friends in Finance campaign however.

The firm has plans for many more projects to improve their service and is setting up a TCFC Customer Committee where discussions are held with customers on all aspects of the business including customer service, support, and communications.

Customers will cast the final decisions on the outcomes of these issues which will give them the power to improve the service TCFC give them.

TCFC is also involved in sponsoring local business awards, and are enthusiastic about making Portsmouth a business hub for the south coast region in order to create more jobs for residents and strengthen the local economy.

The firm is also helping to raise money for The Rowans Hospice and The Fire Fighters Charity by supporting the efforts of two employees.

The pair will be making the long journey from Lands End to John O’Groats, a distance of 1,096 miles, in 13 days in aid of the two charities and have been supported by the company who provided their gear.

They have taken it upon themselves to complete the gruelling challenge on fixed gear cycles and are looking to raise as much as they can for the two charities.

Their Just Giving page can be found at justgiving.com/fixedfools

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