Crowdfunding partnership supports creation of Plymouth's first library of things

MESH, a community interest company which is setting up Plymouth’s first Library of Things, has received £3,710 of matched funding from Santander’s innovative Changemaker Fund. The library will enable people in Plymouth to borrow tools and equipment in a similar way to borrowing books from a traditional library.

The Changemaker Fund was launched at the end of 2016 as part of a pioneering collaboration between Santander and rewards-based crowdfunding platform Crowdfunder. The programme is designed to help social enterprises, small charities and community groups deliver projects that improve communities and help disadvantaged people to have confidence in the future.

MESH, which stands for Make, Explore, Socialise and Hack, is launching Borrow Don’t Buy, Plymouth’s first Library of Things, with the aim of reducing waste, helping people save money and sharing knowledge and experience. A Library of Things is a place where members can borrow items such as tools, gardening items and camping equipment for a short period of time for a minimal fee. The additional funding provided by Santander will help launch the project and allow the organisation to acquire items for the Borrow Don’t Buy catalogue.

MESH uses the knowledge and skills of local people to provide its members with the opportunity to learn new skills and improve on existing ones. Alongside the Library of Things, MESH runs a regular Repair Café where members can bring their broken items and learn how to fix them. The organisation, is also an incubator for projects that help develop the Plymouth community and economy. In partnership with sister organisation Digital Plymouth, MESH helps nurture the city’s thriving digital community.

Sue Douthwaite, Managing Director of Santander Business Banking, commented: “Nurturing local communities is at the heart of what Santander does, so we are delighted to be able to help MESH fund its Borrow Don’t Buy Library of Things. It’s wonderful to see the organisation work towards teaching local people new skills and helping them save money. We look forward to seeing how the project develops with the additional resources.”

Rob Wick, Director at MESH, commented: “We work to make sure that everyone has access to the things they need without spending too much money. This grant will help us make our Library of Things a reality and support the Plymouth community. We are grateful to Santander for helping us make Borrow Don’t Buy a reality.”

The £200,000 Changemaker Fund,, is part of Santander’s flagship community programme, The Discovery Project, which aims to inspire people to have confidence in the future through projects that build skills, grow knowledge and support innovation.

By working together with Crowdfunder, Santander aims to enable entrepreneurs and community groups to tackle social challenges and create positive local impact. Eligible projects seeking funding of up to £20,0001 and focussed on skills, knowledge, innovation and wellbeing that get the crowd’s backing will receive 50 per cent of their funding requirement from Santander to ensure the enterprise reaches its target.

As well as access to the £200,000 matched funding from Santander, projects will benefit from crowdfunding team specialists with education, enterprise and coaching support to unlock further funds and create lasting impacts in communities across the UK.

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Notes to Editors 
Under exceptional circumstances, enterprises could be eligible for projects up to £40,000 with 50 per cent of their funding requirement from Santander.

Santander UK is a financial services provider in the UK that offers a wide range of personal and commercial financial products and services. It has brought real competition to the UK, through its innovative products for retail customers and relationship banking model for UK SMEs. At 30 June 2017, the bank serves around 14 million active customers with c19,500 employees and operates through 826 branches (which includes 61 university branches) and 65 regional Corporate Business Centres. Santander UK is subject to the full supervision of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) in the UK. Santander UK plc customers are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) in the UK.

Banco Santander (SAN SM, STD US, BNC LN) is a leading retail and commercial bank, founded in 1857 and headquartered in Spain. It has a meaningful market share in 10 core countries in Europe and the Americas, and is among the world’s top banks by market capitalization. At the end of June 2017, Banco Santander had EUR 1.65 trillion in managed funds, 131 million customers, 13,800 branches and 200,000 employees. Banco Santander made attributable profit of EUR 3.6 billion in the first half of 2017, an increase of 24% compared to the same period last year.

MESH stands for Make - Explore - Socialise - Hack. It is a 'Communiversity' that uses the knowledge and skills of local people to provide others with the opportunity to improve and learn new skills. MESH is also an incubator of projects that aim to help develop Plymouth to its full potential. It works in partnership with Digital Plymouth to help recognise and celebrate the thriving digital community based in Plymouth and the South West. Its latest project is called Borrow Don’t Buy, Plymouth’s first Library of Things.

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