Local Treasures, an award winning, socially responsible company based in Petersfield, has received a growth loan from the Enterprise M3 Expansion Loan Scheme. The company matches busy working families with experienced, older tradespeople who can help with odd jobs about the home and workplace.
There are over 23 million people in the UK over the age of 50. This age group currently makes up one third of the countries workforce, however this doesn’t translate into employability. More and more older people are becoming jobless than are finding work. This is despite the fact that two thirds of 50-64-year olds want to continue working. Local Treasures has found a way to enable this experienced and reliable age group to carry on working. By matching busy families, or those who lack a particular skillset, with able and willing over 50’s (Treasures) the company is solving two problems at once; where can people find experienced and trustworthy tradespeople and how can the older generation find work that suits their abilities and fits around other commitments.
Their business model is simple and effective; Local Treasures select a town, recruit skilled people who are over 50, advertise locally for customers, then matches customers to Treasures. This technique has proved so effective that they now work in 7 towns across the South East of England providing skills as diverse as decorating, pet sitting, accounting and companionship. They have over 600 Treasures on their books, many of whom are booked for repeat work.
Founder, Sarah Heyworth, explains how the company naturally came about. “When we moved to a new house, we relocated to an unfamiliar area and had to start from scratch. We didn’t know the local plumber that everyone used or anyone who we could trust to fix our fence. Through trial and error, we eventually figured out who we should be using but we were frustrated that there wasn’t any easier way to go about it. This dilemma gave rise to Local Treasures and we are very fortunate to have many of the original Treasures with us to this day. The funding will allow us to scale-up the business and support the launch of the business into new towns across the South East. Most recently we were thrilled to announce that we are one of 17 social ventures to become a Transform Ageing social venture this November. We successfully responded to an innovation challenge from communities in the south-west and will receive funding and support to deliver lasting social impact in the region.”
Derek Ellis, Fund Manager at The FSE Group which manages the Expansion Loan Scheme on behalf of the Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership comments: “Local Treasures is the one stop shop for all sorts of jobs in and around the homes and businesses of local communities. We were introduced to Sarah and her team at Local Treasures by the EM3 Growth Hub. The company have created a successful business platform, that as we have already seen is scalable in a very short space of time. We look forward to supporting the business during these exciting times and wish them all the success for the future.”
Kathy Slack, Director, Enterprise M3 LEP, comments: “We are delighted to support Local Treasures as it continues to extend its reach within local communities. Addressing the challenges and opportunities of an ageing society is one of the Government’s Grand Challenges and high on the Enterprise M3 LEP agenda too. Not only does this incredible project help our region rise to the pressing challenge of creating jobs in an ageing society, it forges links between people within close proximity who might otherwise never have met. Initiatives like this help foster dynamic communities and move us towards a society of prosperity for everyone who lives and/or works here.”
The Enterprise M3 Funding Escalator II is £10million initiative funded by Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership. The escalator, which includes an expansion loan scheme, a trade finance loan scheme and an equity growth fund, provides eligible companies with loans and equity funding between £50,000 and £300,000 for activities that will deliver high-growth and employment opportunities across the EM3 area.