As a charity, we have four key objectives
We help relieve poverty by offering access to affordable credit to low income households, to purchase goods for the home.
We provide Social Impact reporting to measure outcomes and to share that learning with stakeholders, to influence the wider credit market.
Campaigning for, and reporting on, better credit solutions that meet the borrowing need of lower income families.
Helping educate policy makers, the social sector and regulators of the issues facing our customers and the real costs of borrowing.
What our supporters say
“I have met many people who have been forced into a spiral of debt and despair through high-cost lending so I was thrilled to be asked to be patron of Fair for You. At last, low income families have a straightforward and fair lending solution for much-needed household goods.”
“For far too long, far too many people on low incomes have had little alternative but to use high cost and predatory lenders to obtain basic household items. That is all about to change. Fair for You puts the consumer interest at the very heart of its business: offering quality items, affordable interest rates, and the flexibility in repayment terms that low income households need. It rejects the exploitative practice of bundling in high cost insurance with agreements and instead provides extended warranties on items at cost price.
Fair for You also takes care of its customers and treats them with the respect they have long deserved, and long been denied. It provides support for people to manage their money, claim the benefits to which they are entitled, and build up savings. It directs people with debt problems to sources of help and advice. But what is really great about Fair for You is its ambition. This is not just another small scale, localised, initiative. It is the first real national challenge to the high cost sector, and I am proud to support it.”
“During the course of my work, I have met literally thousands of low-income individuals and families all over the UK and have seen first hand the destructive impact predatory lending organisations can have on our communities.
That’s why I fully support Fair for You’s mission to drive real change in the way low-income households access ethical credit for the purchase of essential home items. Fair for You genuinely cares about the financial wellbeing of consumers and addresses their needs holistically – from the provision of high quality goods and affordable repayment plans, to essential money- management support, ongoing help and expert advice – all of which results in peace of mind for households who are often facing challenging circumstances.”
Covid-19: A Message from our Chair
As I look back over my long career, nothing makes me prouder than helping to change the lives of thousands of families across the UK through my work for Fair for You, which I helped set up with Angela Clements in 2015.
Over the last couple of years I’ve been delighted to see it blossom. Both that pride, and my conviction that financially vulnerable families must have access to affordable credit, have been bolstered in recent weeks by two things.
The first is the ever-present nightmare of coronavirus. The economic impact of this dreadful virus has plunged even some relatively comfortable families into dire straits.
We have to search hard for the silver lining of the coronavirus cloud, but I do hope that our common experience brings a heightened awareness among the general public, politicians, media and others of the problems faced by so many people in financial difficulties. In turn, I hope that translates into more support for Fair for You and our peers.
I’ve been asked whether Fair for You customers are managing to keep up with payments during this crisis. Many have asked to reduce payments or pause temporarily as they have a change in income. That is very much business as usual for Fair for You, we don’t charge late fees or a fee to change the payment profile. Our response has been to increase our team on the front line taking calls, texts, emails, messages and webchats from customers who are anxious and need reassurance that we are there to support them through tougher times.
Many are benefit dependent, being lower income families with a caring obligation either children or c 40% of our customers have disability in the household.
In reality our customers payments may be less impacted than some lenders, as so many of our customers were existing on lower income to start with, and have less to lose than perhaps some of those facing redundancy.
Meanwhile, I’ve seen our more ruthless competitors struggle, which I feel vindicates our ethical, responsible, customer-centred approach. Any business that sets itself up along our lines is likely to be more resilient in tough times, I feel.
The second thing was more personal – smaller, in a sense, but very meaningful to me. And to Lisa, too.
Lisa is a Fair for You customer, who I first met just over three years ago. We got chatting at a reception I was chairing for Fair for You in parliament, and she told me that she had used us to buy a tumble dryer. This had transformed her household’s life, given that she’d been drying the clothes of her then four-year old, accident-prone, son using a hairdryer. She was an amazing, eloquent woman able to do a wonderful thing – explain in her own words the impact of Fair for You far better than I, Angela or our staff ever could.
(That meeting was the same day of the Westminster Bridge terror attack – Lisa, myself and others were on lockdown in the Parliamentary chapel for several hours afterwards. I’ve written a blog about that day, not that I was going to forget it in a hurry.)
I had the chance to speak to Lisa again last month – almost exactly three years on from that meeting. She’s since bought several other items from us, including a bed for her son. Now seven, he’s been sleeping through the night on his own (rather than in her bed), and is much happier and healthier thanks to getting that rest. That’s made the whole family happier!
Fair for You’s support has helped Lisa have the confidence to start her own business designing mugs, hoodies, t-shirts and the like. Unfortunately, this had to be put on the back burner when schools closed, but in its place Lisa has helped set up a mutual aid group in her local area, helping deliver food, medicines and other provisions to those who need it.
I know that there are thousands more Lisas out there – people whose life either has been transformed by both the affordable credit and sense of security that Fair for You gives, or who are yet to use our services, but who we promise to do our best to support, when they need.
Tom Levitt is chair of Fair for You, the registered charity which owns Fair for You Enterprise CIC. He is a former teacher and was the Labour MP for High Peak in Derbyshire 1997-2010.