SWIG Finance are delighted to share with you a heart-warming story of success from one of their Start Up Loan Customers.
Plymouth- based Memory Matters South West CIC approached SWIG Finance for early stage funding back in 2012, and SWIG were delighted to support their journey with a £4,000 Start Up Loan.
Since then the business has evolved rapidly to become an established social enterprise, which now operates across the South West and has national expansion in its sights.
Memory Matters works to empower people to live well with dementia. It provides support and advice through various projects including dementia therapy, support groups and training.
The venture was started by qualified nurses Kate Smith and Laura Walker. Having both experienced the lack of support available, they knew that they could provide a service that would benefit not just those who are suffering from dementia, but also their carers and wider communities.
As their Memory Matters Day Clubs soon increased in popularity, Kate and Laura realized that they would need to employ staff to sustain momentum, for which they needed external funding. A dedicated SWIG Finance start up adviser was able to talk through the numbers and put Kate and Laura’s minds at ease that they were making the right decision.
Within two years of receiving their Start Up Loan, Memory Matters had four Day Club groups up and running and had recruited 5 employees. Fast- forward to today, and it has over 120,000 people who access its services daily – and it now employs 19 people.
Although COVID-19 put a halt on face-to-face activities, the pandemic has played a key role in accelerating Kate and Laura’s digital strategies, as they knew they had to adapt fast to continue meeting customers’ needs. They had already started work on a digital plan to help older clients to get ‘online’; with the onset of social distancing measures this plan was thrust forward, and they are pleased to report that they have now managed to get most of their clients online.
This transformation means that Memory Matters customers are still able to access support services, but the impact is much farther reaching than this; having an online presence means that clients can also keep in touch with their friends and family throughout the lockdown which is an invaluable contribution to their daily lives.
This digital breakthrough has revolutionized their services as they are now working to provide therapy online which will play a huge role in expanding the Memory Matters brand nationally and perhaps even globally.
As well as this, Memory Matters are enabling other charities to run their own online groups by providing them with advice and support. They also run a variety of other services – Moments Café in Plymouth City Centre, training programmes across the UK and face-to-face dementia support in their Memory Matters Hub in Plymouth above the café. All providing a surplus that benefits those living with dementia.
Kate commented “I remember at the time, the £4,000 loan felt like a million pounds to us and the leap felt so big! Looking back now, this was a major milestone for us and we would not be where we are now without the support and funding we received at that time.
“The impact Memory Matters has on those who are living with dementia, their carers and their wider communities is huge. We can measure quality of life, and we know that the people who use our service are living for longer, their dementia deteriorates slower and they can engage with the local communities for longer. As well as this, there is much less impact on statutory services. This is the best outcome we could have asked for”.
John Peters, Manager Director at SWIG Finance commented “Memory Matters South West is a real driving force for change, and we are proud to be part of its journey. It’s a shining example of how a new business based on positive social values can succeed with the right support. Knowing what early steps to take in which order, can be a daunting process that requires a lot of thought, and that is why SWIG Finance is here – to provide support and funding to help businesses reach their goals”.
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