Archives Month: March 2017

What a strange world we live in! Last Friday my colleagues and I had a blast, like vast numbers of people across the UK, we were larking about in order to raise money for Red Nose Day.

Seeing footage of sick and starving children across Africa brings out the best in folk, young and old. A day of compassion to help the desperate probably blesses the giver more that the recipient and long may Red Nose Day and Comic Relief pluck the heart strings and wallets of the comparatively wealthy Brits. (If you look at the Armada Pinterest boards you will know that Richard Curtis is one of my hero’s).

Within a few days I was watching a young footballer in a pub talking about his plucked eyebrows and the same day I was at the dentist for a check-up. You may be puzzled by the connection but hang on with me.

Inside this Grand Design dental clinic there were numbers of tunic clad glamorous receptionists, hygienists and dentist, all smiling, friendly and welcoming. Obviously this is a highly successful practice and the secret of their success is to be found in today’s obsession with health and vanity. Teeth whitening and straightening, capping and implants contribute far more to the coffers than extractions and fillings.

Now I’m not criticising men’s desire to spend their wages on hair removal or the latest trimmers or the folk that want healthy mouths and smiles that increase their confidence. Aren’t we fortunate that we can afford these treatments?

However, the void between the western world that has so many choices and the people of the Middle East and Africa who frequently have no way out of poverty is incomprehensible. The £73M raised by Red Nose Day so far won’t solve the World’s problems but it will save lives and God knows the love and compassion of the 4 year old child in Scunthorpe who gave up all his pocket money or the pensioner in Dartford who went without to bless a family in Uganda.

This week we have started the process to remove ourselves from the EU and I, for one, am ecstatic that once again we will be GREAT Britain. After all, it’s the people that make Britain great.

I was really heartened recently to see a family, united and working together to create a new business and helping to create new jobs in Scotland.

Both Gavin and Kirsten, brother and sister, are in their 30s and living together in a property that their parents had helped them buy. Kirsten has spent years working in child care and Gavin is a successful accountant but ambitious and wanting a life away from general practise.

After months of research and family discussions the couple determined to set up a children’s play centre combined with a climbing wall.

With significant resources of their own, Gavin came to Armada and asked if we would support their venture by financing some of the assets needed to set up this operation.

Wisely he had created a limited company and included his parents as directors. Knowing it would be easier to obtain funding support by offering the guarantees of all the directors made the decision to help them almost a foregone conclusion. The business plan made sense, there was plenty of equity in their homes and Gavin is going to continue with his present job until the business is well established.

When Gavin approached us he had thoroughly done his homework. He knew about our significant background of helping new businesses get started, knew that we had a long history of investing in play centres and nurseries and knew that Armada is highly respected by the banking and finance industries.

The only item to discuss was what of the many assets needed to set up their play centre was Armada prepared to finance.

When we pointed out that on top of the obvious play equipment, climbing wall and catering equipment, we will always consider funding flooring, lighting, doors and partitioning and other ‘soft assets’, Gavin had to rework his plans and spreadsheet.

As Gavin said, “I didn’t realise just how far Armada would go in supporting new ventures. No wonder that your reputation brought us to you.”

Although it’s very early days, so far Kirsten and Gavin are delighted by the activity levels and the amount of repeat visitors they are attracting.