I'm very proud of my involvement in developing loan finance for our sector as Chair of the Social Investment Business. From 7 years ago, when I took up the reigns as chair of the charity, adventure capital fund ( ACF ), now SIB, I have seen how loans can grow our sector and encourage dynamic and innovative enterprise.
Today a new loan scheme opens.
We are looking for six of the best, most promising examples of sustainable, community regeneration projects in England to be pioneer investees of the new era of the Community Builders Fund run by SIB.
After running the scheme Community builders since 2009 the ACF was endowed with the Fund by the Department for Communities and Local Government in March this year and is now re-opening to applications - looking for up to six exemplary projects to support from this initial funding round. The window for applications opens at noon today and runs till Friday 9 December.
The offer is predominantly loan funding - loans of between £250,000 and £750,000 will be made to the most promising examples of sustainable, community regeneration projects.
This concentration on loans is crucial to the long-term viability of Community Builders and the Fund's ability to continue to support the community sector for years to come by recycling and reinvesting repayments.
Organisations wishing to apply need to be based in England, have operated for at least 12 months and to be looking to build their long-term financial independence. Successful applicants will be able to demonstrate they are having a significant positive impact in their communities as providers of multiple services and facilities. (The full list of criteria and an online eligibility checker will be available on the Communitybuilders website www.communitybuildersfund.org.uk)
To date Community Builders has supported some dynamic community organisations - St Andrews Church in Fulham Fields, the Barton Hill Settlement in Bristol and South Holland Radio in Spalding, Lincolnshire to name just a few.
So if you are involved in, or know of, a community organisation that's looking to expand , or take on an ambitious asset transfer project, or needs a final co-funder to complete a significant funding package for their big plans then apply.
It is advisable first to be as clear as possible about how the members want the enterprise to operate both immediately and in the longer term.
Bank Lending Criteria
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