SMV appoints new leader for 2021-22

The Society of Merchant Venturers (SMV) has appointed a new leader for the year ahead. David Freed, a member of SMV since 2008, was born in Wales and educated in Bristol, before moving to Nottingham where he studied Law at university. As a solicitor, David specialised in commercial property, later transitioning into the property development sector himself.

David now applies his expertise to support a number of social enterprise initiatives such as The Park in Knowle – a community, educational and social enterprise hub currently undergoing a significant redevelopment; and where he is the Chair of Trustees.

In charge of SMV’s activities for the coming 12 months, David is looking closely at how the organisation’s extensive charitable work can help communities across Greater Bristol to recover from the devastating impact of the pandemic.

“Working with others,” said David, “we will remain focused on making a positive difference to the schools, care homes, organisations and charities that we help to support.

“Across the region, individual circumstances that were already difficult have been made infinitely worse by Covid: many people are in dire need as jobs have been lost and businesses have collapsed; every young person has experienced an interrupted education; and the vulnerable and frail have become more isolated and alone.”

“There’s no quick fix and no single organisation can address these significant challenges alone, but when people and organisations work together, I believe that we can make a difference.

“For example, schools are teaming up with businesses more effectively than ever before to secure quality work placements, mentoring and apprenticeships for students that will provide a fulfilling career pathway when they leave education. SMV’s members are well placed to help create opportunities for young people through their own businesses and networks. This is an initiative that we are actively expanding.

“Young people currently in education are our future leaders and we must all play our part in helping to prepare them for the huge responsibilities that will rest on their shoulders in the years to come.

“We’re also looking closely at our charitable giving activity, an area that SMV has been involved with for hundreds of years. The charity sector as a whole is moving more towards ‘a hand up’ approach, rather than just ‘a handout’ and we’re working with increasingly more support-based organisations to signpost access to practical help and expert advice. This longer-term, purposeful strategy brings multiple organisations together, providing support from the ground up which helps charities and community groups to become self-sustaining over the longer term.

“No doubt new challenges will arise in the year ahead and we’re determined to keep an unrelenting focus on the work we do to help communities across the region to thrive, with the invaluable support of so many others.”