Andrew (Drew) Walcott is the owner and managing director of a successful business based in Newport called SDR Progression. This is a physical therapy center working mainly with children and adults with cerebral palsy. Children with cerebral palsy can have SDR surgery which when followed by intensive and specialist physical therapy and exercise can greatly improve their mobility. This is a particular specialism which Drew offers in his centre.
Drew was a professional sportsman who retired in 2001 and then pursued a successful second career in financial services. With the crash in 2009, that work collapsed and although he managed to get a number of temporary jobs, his finances spiralled down and, possibly as a consequence, his marriage failed which left him in even worse financial circumstances. He had trained as a personal trainer and so he found work in schools before working for SDR Fitness, a Cardiff based company, also started by Purple Shoots, working with children who had had SDR surgery. Drew enjoyed this work and realized there was room in the market in the UK for more than one company offering this so he decided to set up on his own. His financial situation then became a barrier to doing this – he could not get finance from anywhere to enable him to start up his business because of his poor credit score.
Purple Shoots supported him with enough funding to get the business off the ground. That was 3 years ago. Now with a full order book, a move to new larger premises and wanting to take on staff, Drew came back to Purple Shoots for a follow on loan. With a now clear credit score and all old debt sorted, he could perhaps have got the funds elsewhere, but he chose to stick with the people who believed in him from the beginning.
Drew’s story shows how short-sighted it is to write someone off because they are in financial difficulties – and it shows the effectiveness of the microfinance Purple Shoots provides. It has enabled Drew to get himself out of debt and to build a successful business which is changing the lives of the people he works with.
Andrew said: “Purpleshoots have been a huge help and support in getting SDR Progression started. Karen was very approachable and showed belief in me and the business i was trying to create. To know that she and Purple shoots still continue to believe in what I do is amazing. This is the reason why I went back to them in order to support the organisation but more importantly because they have been there since the beginning. Thanks to Purple Shoots and Karen.”