A couple have turned their long-held aspiration of owning a business into reality after receiving a six-figure loan to secure ownership of a fencing business.
Tony and Helen Foster bought Lawnswood Fencing Ltd in Halesowen after receiving funding from West Midlands lender BCRS Business Loans to assist with the purchase, which has safeguarded the jobs of all 24 employees.
Lawnswood Fencing is a specialist in the manufacture and supply of premium quality fencing and fencing products. The company supplies and fits garden, decorative and security fencing and also stocks a vast range of garden and decorative timber products. As well as supplying domestic customers, the business supplies local gardeners, fencing companies and local authorities, fitting fencing for schools, colleges and hospitals.
The company was established in 1972 by Fred and Roger Cowley, father and son. Tony Foster became a part of the business in 1989 and, 12 years ago, started co-running the company alongside Sarah, Roger's daughter. Tony has been a director and shareholder since 2001, and his wife, Helen, joined the company eight years ago.
Lawnswood Fencing Managing Director Tony Foster commented: “The investment secured from BCRS will enable us to keep Lawnswood Fencing running and most importantly secure the jobs of all our valued colleagues, who have been working closely with us for many years.
“We are passionate about keeping the business running with family values and a friendly, personal touch.
“As well as helping us to purchase the business, the loan will enable us to invest in our colleagues to drive growth and also to bring new talent on board. Our aim is to have around 30 employees in the next three to five years.
“We would like to continue to invest in improving the infrastructure of our business and expand what we manufacture, as well as look at improving our online presence in the longer term.”
Lynn Wyke, Business Development Manager at BCRS Business Loans, said: “It is fantastic to see the huge passion that Tony and Helen have for their business and for doing things the right way for the benefit of their employees, many of whom have long service. The business has a great family feel to it, which I know will be maintained.
“As a cooperative community development finance institution (CDFI), BCRS is committed to supporting people like Tony and Helen in order to further the growth and prosperity of as many businesses as possible across the West Midlands region.
“We believe that no viable business should go unsupported, so we are really pleased to be able to help Tony and Helen achieve their goal of company ownership.”
BCRS Business Loans CEO Stephen Deakin said: “The loan to Lawnswood Fencing is a great example of where CDFIs like BCRS make a positive difference, particularly around helping established business leaders realise their ambitions. We wish Tony and Helen every success for the future and look forward to seeing the impact that they make.”
Tony added: “Working with BCRS to secure the loan was really easy. I was impressed with how straightforward and simple the application process was.
“The fact that BCRS is a relationship-based lender really made a difference, with Business Development Manager Lynn Wyke taking the time to meet us face to face and appreciate what we needed the funding for. We felt that BCRS really understood us.
“We liked the personal touch that you don’t get with banks. They were very professional and friendly, and they got things moving quickly.”
BCRS Business Loans provides funding to businesses across the West Midlands that are struggling to access finance from traditional lenders. Businesses can secure loans from between £10,000 and £150,000 from BCRS Business Loans to support growth and recovery plans.
Since it was founded as a community development financial institution in 2002, BCRS has provided loans worth more than £80 million to businesses across the West Midlands region.
Visit Business loans from £10,000- £150,000 - BCRS Business Loans to discover more or submit an initial application form.