Lender’s big lift for personal trainer's Newtown studio

By Jonny Drury | Newtown | News | Published:

A community lender in Newtown has given a big lift to a personal training venture.

Former Welsh powerlifter Gerard Matthews is launching a new personal training studio in Newtown, thanks to backing from Robert Owen Community Banking Fund (ROCBF).

The investment is the first ROCBF had made using the Enterprise Finance Guarantee.

Gerard, who was once in the top three of Wales’ strongest man competition, is launching Inner Strength, a personal training space. The 35-year-old has long held the dream of getting the venture off the ground but, with a limited borrowing record, he found High Street banks’ doors were closed.

But ROCBF, also headquartered in the Powys town, was prepared to look in more depth at his financial background and back him with a four-figure loan.

Mark White, chief executive officer at ROCBF, said: “EFG accreditation enables us to widen the scope of our lending to new businesses which may not have the trading record that many lenders insist on.

“Without a track record many small businesses struggle to borrow from mainstream lenders.

“This was the case with Gerard, but having looked at his overall situation and his business plan, we are happy to support him and help him launch the venture.”

Gerard has big plans for the studio at The Courtyard behind Cracked Wheat Organics off Long Bridge Street in Newtown.


His own powerlifting career peaked when he came third in the 2008 Wales Strongest Man competition, narrowly missing out on a place in the GB event.

On the money, he said: “I initially went in to ask about a business account.

“But with help from Nicola Bowden, ROCBF’s Business Loans Officer, I’m now launching my own business.

“I would not have been able to take out the lease on such an excellent business premises and improve my range of exercise equipment without the financial backing.”

Jonny Drury

By Jonny Drury

Senior reporter covering Oswestry and Mid Wales.


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