Fredericks has always enjoyed a relationship with a number of volunteers keen to help us in our work; and we see this help as vital if we are to give our clients the best possible chance of succeeding in their business. Traditionally many of these helpers have become mentors and performed an invaluable role in providing wisdom and support to people who are taking their first steps in establishing their enterprises. Over the last year or so, we have been receiving an increasing number of offers of help from experienced people with a corporate background. We have sought to better define the volunteer support roles to make best use of those approaching us. If you are interested in helping, please contact us for more details and to arrange a meeting with Fredericks.

Mentors: Mentors act as encouragers, listeners and advisers to clients who have taken out a loan with us. Few clients have skills in all the disciplines required to set up a business, eg marketing, bookkeeping, time management etc, and many need help with these areas from people with matching skills and experience. Mentoring effectively is a skill in itself, and we will help with your training and equipping. You can mentor by phone and email, but a geographic advantage is helpful for when you need to meet. We will also work with you to provide the closest mentor/client match to suit both parties.

Panel: Our lending decisions are made by a volunteer panel with experience in banking, accounting and entrepreneurial sectors. We meet monthly, and you will be given paperwork to assess these loan applications in advance. Your commitment would be to come to the panel for a full day, or half day, probably no more than once a quarter. (Most volunteers will be asked to attend a panel meeting as a member, or observer to gain an understanding of the way that we operates.)

Project Management: Fredericks is responding to the growing need to support the small business sector during the recession, and we are scaling up our operations to meet that need. At any one time, we have a number of different projects on the go which can test the resources of a small charity. We are looking for experienced project managers who would be interested in working with us as we grow, on a project-by-project basis or as part of a long-term relationship with Fredericks.

Hub Development: As part of our strategic growth plan, we are developing a number of ‘hub’ lending operations which are embedded within the communities they serve. This is a pioneering work and an exciting development in community finance. Each hub will have Fredericks systems and governance in place, while the local advisory board will provide the knowledge, fundraising and guidance for their community. If you are interested in being involved in a local hub, or serving on an advisory board of an existing hub, please let us know.

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Please join us on Facebook, we are hoping it will help us share more widely what we do and who we help, as well as the fun we have doing our work.

If you are interested in volunteering to help us, please email volunteers@fredericksfoundation.net

If you are interested in becoming a partner, please email partners@fredericksfoundation.net