New fund for Portsmouth community projects

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APPLICATIONS are already pouring in for a fund set up by finance companies to make a big difference to the community.

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

Mark Smith of The Car Finance Company in Portsmouth

Mark Smith of The Car Finance Company in Portsmouth

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

Mark is eager to help specific projects that need financial help and will make a real difference to people’s lives.

Among those who are ready to apply are Pompey in the Community and Home-Start Havant.

Both run projects which have a tangible effect on individuals and the community.

Maggie Eveleigh, the co-ordinator of Home-Start Havant, said: ‘What a fantastic opportunity.

‘Home-Start Havant will definitely be applying.

‘These opportunities don’t come round often, we will definitely enter – someone has got to succeed.

‘It’s great to see local businesses wanting to get involved with the community. Home-Start Havant will be entering.’

Home-Start runs projects to help families with children under school age who are struggling to cope.

Adam Lea, from Pompey in the Community, echoed Maggie’s thoughts about the community cash.

The charity focuses on four areas to improve lives – through health, community cohesion, education and sports and coaching.

He said: ‘It’s really great to see local businesses put something back into the community to enhance people’s lives.

‘We always look to work with businesses to help and develop the community.’

Groups and individuals can apply for the cash under the Friends in Finance scheme, which is being spearheaded by Mark, managing director of the North End finance company.

After telling other businesses about his plans Coffin Mew, KPMG and Shoosmiths decided to join in and add thousands more to the cash pot.

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

He is going to leave the judging to his 300 staff – who inspired him to set up the fund in the first place.

Points will be added for viability, responsibility and the impact it will have on people’s lives.

The bigger the impact it will have on the community, the more points it is likely to get.

Mark added: ‘The reaction we’ve had so far has been really positive.

‘I would urge anybody that has a good idea, or a thought on how the money could be used, to apply.

‘My employees are the judge and jury in this. It will be their decision, not mine.

‘We’re all looking forward to seeing a wide range of community projects – really good, specific projects that benefit a number of people.’

How you can apply

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.