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The charity Purple Shoots, which works in South and West Wales, offers small loans to people in difficulty and hopes to spread across the country.

Tiffany Bramley, Asher Flowers, actor Michael Sheen, Karen Davies of Purple Shoots and Jane Mullins

Poverty, unemployment and isolation are the key factors that force people to embrace high cost credit providers.

But a determined woman is doing her part to make sure those who live in Wales don’t find themselves at the mercy of ruthless lenders.

Karen Davies has shown how great loans should be – a model that our Fair Credit for All campaign, which we are running with Hollywood actor and activist Michael Sheen and his End High Cost Credit Alliance, says should be rolled out to the nationwide.

Purple Shoots, a charity active in South and West Wales, is helping people make a difference on their own.

It offers small loans to people who are unable to obtain credit elsewhere or have no choice but to turn to high-cost lenders charging exorbitant interest rates.

Michael Sheen says borrowers backed by Purple Shoots with small loans have had a ‘transformational’ impact on their lives


Wales Press Service)

Loans help people on benefits and on low incomes start or run a small business – a vital lifeline to a better future for people who cannot get loans or help elsewhere.

Karen says she wants to get people out of the benefits trap. It focuses on those whom no one else wants to support or to whom to offer loans.

And that’s exactly what she does.

In five years, Purple Shoots has made 510 loans, worth £ 1.2million, which have helped start over 400 small businesses in Wales and lift over 500 people out of unemployment.

Almost everyone the charity has helped and loaned money to has borrowed through high cost lending companies.

Karen, 58, said: “People don’t believe that the poor – those with bad credit or those who don’t work for various reasons – are capable of running a business.

Pictured left to right are Tiffany Bramley, Asher Flowers, Michael Sheen, Karen Davies of Purple Shoots and Jane Mullins


Wales Press Service)

“But we’re proving the skeptics wrong with hundreds of success stories of people borrowing just a few thousand pounds and creating something good and building a better future.

“It’s good for the local economy and good for everyone’s well-being. It creates work for others and gives people money to spend with other businesses in the local community.

“Some people don’t have the confidence or the self-confidence to put themselves in place, so we also create groups where people can help each other. Some of them create savings groups to improve their financial situation.

“We help them access training and encourage them to test business ideas or community projects. Many of them generate income through crafts, pop-up cafes and community events.

A lot of the people Purple Shoots helps just need a little helping hand. Someone to believe in and get them back on their feet and move towards a more financially secure future.

Michael Sheen said: “It was really great meeting Karen and the borrowers supported by Purple Shoots. The impact these small loans have had on their lives is transformational.

“Many borrowers have gone through difficult times in their personal lives and these loans have given them hope and the resources to help themselves create a better life for themselves and their families.

“The borrowers got their loans from Karen when everyone said no. Quite often it comes down to the fact that borrowers have already been trapped by high cost credit and therefore lenders will not lend to them.

“The impact and the evidence speaks for itself – we should step up Purple Shoots and help more people achieve their dreams.”

We have the right loans and the right support

Asher’s Flowers, 25

Asher, who has a degree in Marketing and Public Relations, worked in London but found it difficult with low pay, long hours and no opportunity to enjoy life beyond work.

He returned home to Wales and helped his mother who ran a chutney-making business.

He liked to make the products and sell them in local markets.

He wanted to grow the business and came up with a plan and a new name – Rogue Preserves.

Despite a lot of negativity he couldn’t do, he did, thanks to a loan from Purple Shoots for a decent vehicle that allowed Asher and his mother to branch out further.

The preserves are made by hand with locally produced ingredients.

Tiffany Bramley, 45

Tiffany runs a successful cleaning company, Tiff’s Cleaning Angels, based in Cardiff.

The tragic death of her baby daughter left Tiffany struggling to cope with grief.

She got a loan from Purple Shoots for a vehicle and equipment, and started her business.

Despite a long struggle to get justice for what happened to her daughter, she stubbornly pursued the business but was unable to develop it beyond securing a small income for herself. .

She recently received a new loan (she paid off the previous one in full) and this allowed her to take the necessary steps to turn the cleaning business into a larger operation.

Jane Mullins, 50

Jane’s family has hit rock bottom after a period of intense stress.

She was ill, her children were in pain, her husband lost his job and the family home was taken over.

She needed to start over.

Previously working as a nurse in the dementia care field, Jane wanted to start a training company to teach people how to care for people with dementia.

But because she was not working or had no funds, no one would support her.

Purple Shoots gave her a loan and she set up DUETcare, Dignity, Understanding and Empathy Training, and it all took off.

She was encouraged to do a PhD and write a book – Finding the Light in Dementia – which was sold in the UK, US, Canada and Australia.

She now teaches part-time at Cardiff University on dementia care and promotes her book, using a portion of the proceeds from her sales to support community dementia projects.

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