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International Charity Moves its Global Operations to Cardiff

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A charity dedicated to eradicating global poverty and inequality has moved its headquarters to Cardiff.

Originally based in Hereford, United Purpose felt it was too far from decision-makers and found it hard to recruit staff.

After looking at a number of different cities Cardiff came out as the favourite and the charity moved with the help of Cardiff Council and the Welsh Government.

United Purpose has been helping to deliver fundamental life-changing impact for over 40 years. During that time, over 35 million people across 13 countries have benefited from its activities. This activity will continue from its new Cathedral Road base.

At an event last month at the Norweigan Church, Cardiff Bay, delegates heard more about the charity’s work, and discussed reflections on ‘reimagining partnerships in a changing world’ with keynote speakers including Carwyn Jones, First Minister of Wales and Cardiff Council Leader Huw Thomas.

One initiative discussed was CUMO Malawi that makes financial services available to people on low incomes who were previously excluded from credit, savings and insurance.

The ‘fair lending’ ethos has helped people in the more isolated parts of Malawi to start businesses and earn their own income. The organisation was initially set up with a grant from UK Government’s Department for International Development (DFID) but is now self-sustaining, led and governed by Malawians. It’s now the leading rural microfinance organisation in the country with 85 000 clients.

Kathryn Llewellyn, chief executive of United Purpose, said:

“We’re proud of all we’ve achieved helping communities fight poverty across the world over the last forty years. But we also recognise the world is changing fast – and we need to rethink and change the way we do things in response. We can’t just go on relying on the old models of aid.

“That’s why we’re using new forms of finance to deliver anti-poverty programmes

“But we want to do much more to use innovative approaches like these to tackle global challenges. We know that we won’t be able to do it alone and so building creative partnerships will be at the heart of our approach. We’re so excited about the enthusisaism of NGOs, local and national government, universities and businesses in Wales to work with us to make this happen. At a time when there is too much talk about turning inward and putting up the ramparts, we want to be part of this different vision of an outward-facing, globally-engaged Wales making a real difference in the world and for the people of Wales.”

First Minister Carwyn Jones said:

“The relocation of United Purpose’s headquarters to Cardiff is an exciting development for Wales. Alongside the potential job creation, there is also the opportunity for us to work closely to further our international development agenda.

“The principles of United Purpose’s work resonate strongly here in Wales – shared values of development, development that is done with people, not to them, through supporting and mobilising communities to ensure clean water, sustainable livelihoods or a safe childhood for millions.”

Leader of Cardiff Council, Cllr Huw Thomas, said:

“I am delighted that United Purpose have chosen to establish their global headquarters in Cardiff. They have chosen to invest in a city that is on the up.

“We have experienced greater employment growth than any of the UK’s Core Cities, and the number of businesses in Cardiff is expanding faster than the UK average.

“The city is also on the cusp of the next major cycle of investment, with major developments to our transport and business infrastructure in the pipeline. We offer good access to national and international markets, a highly-skilled workforce and a government – both local and national – who want to support companies to grow.

“We already have a number of third-sector organisations based in the city, many serving the Cardiff and Wales market. United Purpose’s presence in the city, with your reputation and ambition, can only support our aim of growing a stronger cluster of third-sector businesses.”