An outdoor learning social enterprise in Cumbria is now helping even more people of all ages and abilities get closer to nature thanks to financial support from a unique loan fund.
Learning Fields CIC, in Appleby, recently received a £30,000 loan from The Social Enterprise Loan Fund (TSELF) which supplemented support from Natural England and Cumbria County Council’s Community Regeneration Fund, to enable the organisation to establish its residential facilities.
Set up in 2007, Learning Fields Community Interest Company (CIC) is based at Nag's Head Farm in Hoff. Spanning ten hectares of grassland and woodland, the centre provides an opportunity for individuals or groups to observe and enjoy the countryside in a safe environment, with facilities including a sensory area, nature ponds, kitchen garden and woodland activities.
Founder Director of Learning Fields, Alex Chalmers, said: “We are delighted to have received such invaluable support from TSELF, which has really helped us to create our visitors’ accommodation.
“The loan has enabled us to build a brand new kitchen and dining area, bunk room for up to 12 people, a bedroom for teachers or carers, a shower, toilets and a classroom which we can also now use for general meetings.
“All the renovations have been carried out to the highest standards and they are all easy to access and easy to use for less able visitors.”
Roy White, North West Regional Director at TSELF, said: “Working closely with local schools and disability charities to both educate and entertain, Learning Fields offers a fantastic service to many people in the area and we are pleased to be able to assist in this way.
“The new accommodation provides superb facilities for visitors of all ages, teachers, carers and families, and enables Learning Fields to welcome even more people to the unique outdoor learning centre, especially those from further afield.”
Together Works, the social enterprise network for Greater Manchester, is promoting social enterprise as a business model to more start-ups and providing increased business support services to social enterprises across the region, thanks to financial support from a unique loan fund.
A recently awarded loan of £50,000 from The Social Enterprise Loan Fund (TSELF) will help Together Works Community Interest Company manage cashflow and operate efficiently, delivering effective services to and with the social enterprise sector.
Paul Halfpenny, one of the Directors of Together Works, said: “Together Works is delighted to be working with the Social Enterprise Loan Fund.
“Having to cashflow all of our activities for the past few months has been difficult. However, now thanks to our loan from TSELF, we have been able to focus on our business aims rather than having to spend a lot of time and energy trying to wrestle our cashflow.”
Together Works promotes social enterprise as a business model across the region and works to develop a strong, independent and cohesive social economy in Greater Manchester that delivers outstanding financial, social and environmental benefits to communities.
Paul added: “We are truly grateful for the superb support we have received from TSELF.
“Our aim is to maximise access for new and established social enterprises to high quality, affordable support services and thanks to the funding from TSELF, we are able to do just that!”
Roy White, North West Regional Director at TSELF, said: “We are delighted to be able to help Together Works in this way. The organisation offers something very important to the Greater Manchester region and we are thrilled to have been able to provide this loan.
Liverpool based Social Enterprise North West Ltd (SENW), which represents social enterprises across the region, is to benefit from a unique loan fund.
The organisation on Dale Street in the centre of Liverpool, which was set up in 2007, has received a loan of £50,000 from The Social Enterprise Loan Fund (TSELF) - a Community Development Finance Institution (CDFI) and registered charity which aims to support social enterprises engaged in social regeneration projects with the provision of loan finance.
SENW works to help raise the profile of social enterprises in the North West, by providing connected, coherent support and networking opportunities for social enterprises across the region. And now, thanks to the recently awarded loan from TSELF, the organisation will be able to honour contracts with the North West Regional Development Agency (NWDA) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and continue its work.
Val Jones, Chief Executive of SENW, said: “It is fantastic to see the social enterprise sector in this region going from strength to strength and the loan from TSELF will enable us to support this development even further.”
Roy White, North West Regional Director, at TSELF said: “There is a vibrant social enterprise sector in the North West which we are committed to helping to grow and I am delighted that we are able to help SENW in this way.“
For more information about Social Enterprise North West Ltd call 0151 237 3986 or visit www.senw.org.uk.
A unique Fulwood-based childcare Social Enterprise which is run for the good of the community will soon be expanding, taking in additional children and employing more staff, thanks to a six figure loan from TSELF.
Smart Kids Childcare has been awarded a loan from TSELF which will enable the organisation to refurbish a newly acquired building at former Sharoe Green Hospital in Fulwood, in order to provide vital childcare facilities for working parents, single parents and those attending higher education who require full or part-time care for their children in the local community.
Smart Kids Childcare, recently marked as outstanding in all areas by Ofsted, was established in 1975 as a pre-school nursery operating as a charitable trust to provide care and education for children between the ages of two and eight, and currently employs six members of staff who are fully qualified and Criminal Records Bureau checked.
The move to the new premises will enable Smart Kids to employ additional staff to look after an increased number of children, as the refurbishment means the organisation will now be able to provide excellent nursery facilities for 105 children.
Lynda Hayes, Director and Practice Manager at Smart Kids, said: “When we moved out of our former home, we were looking for somewhere that we could move to in order to fully expand the business.
“After initially struggling to find a suitable location, it was great to find such a fantastic site and the loan from TSELF has been invaluable as it now means we can fully refurbish the new property to a very high standard.
“We are truly grateful for the superb support we have received from TSELF, and we are very much looking forward to completing all the work on the building and continuing to offer outstanding childcare services to even more busy parents.”
Roy White, regional director for TSELF, said: “We are delighted to be able to help Smart Kids in this way. No other childcare provider in the area offers the full range of services and varied flexible sessions – including a baby unit, nursery, before and after school and holiday care – that Smart Kids will now be able to offer.”
This loan also attracted the support of the ERDF, with funding of £50,000.
Smart Kids Childcare, which looks after children from the hours of 7.30am – 6pm, plans to move into its new premises in November.
For further information about Smart Kids Childcare please call 07940 891622.
Charitable Trust, Catalyst Science Discovery Centre in Widnes, will soon be marketing itself more widely and raising its profile both regionally and nationally thanks to financial support from TSELF.
A recently awarded loan from TSELF will help enable Catalyst to deliver its objectives of increasing the breadth of Science Education it offers and broaden opportunities for young people to access Catalyst. In addition, Catalyst hopes to strengthen the team by creating a vacancy for a Marketing and Promotions Manager to ensure the unique Science Discovery Centre is actively promoted both across the North West and throughout the UK.
With four award-winning galleries, Catalyst Science Discovery Centre and museum is devoted to chemistry and how the products of chemistry are used in every day life. To Find out more about Catalyst visit www.catalyst.org.uk.
First Take Video Ltd, an award-winning independent production and training organisation in Liverpool’s arts quarter, will soon be competing at the highest level using state-of-the-art equipment thanks to funding from TSELF.
A recently awarded loan of £37,500 from TSELF will enable the innovative organisation, which specialises in working with and promoting diverse communities, creating ground-breaking films and programmes, to invest in much-needed new equipment.
First Take, which is recognised as one of the key media organisations in Liverpool, will invest in new state-of-the-art equipment, essential for the production company to continue to undertake high level productions, training, talent development work as well as work within new media.
The work of First Take, which is supported by Liverpool Culture Company, contributes greatly to the cultural status of the city, and the organisation has won several awards for its programmes including its work with Barnardo’s Young Carers and North West Disability Arts Forum. To find out more about First Take visit www.first-take.org.
Rossendale Community Radio will soon be broadcasting across the region using state-of-the-art transmission equipment thanks to funding from TSELF.
A recently awarded loan of £20,000 from TSELF will enable the community radio station to invest in much-needed new equipment, in order to broadcast to the Rossendale Valley.
Rossendale Radio, a ‘Community Interest Company’ (CIC) is a full service community radio station which plans to bring a new community voice from Haslingden to Bacup, Crawshawbooth to Ramsbottom, and everywhere in between.
Thanks to a recently awarded grant of £500,000 from the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), TSELF can provide Small Loans for Social Enterprise awards up to £50,000 to help even more organisations like Rossendale Radio in the North West region.
With a broadcasting philosophy to create a unique station sound that will engage the community whilst utilising people with skills that are underused in mainstream radio services, Rossendale Radio offers an important cultural development for the area. To find out more about Rossendale Radio visit www.rossendaleradio.co.uk.
SPACE is a Community Interest Company which offers flexible and supportive work experience opportunities for young people and is also contributing towards the regeneration of Blackpool.
In December 2006, SPACE acquired a lease on an empty building which they developed as affordable rehearsal and recording studios for young musicians. A £10,000 loan from TSELF helped to fund internal building alterations, creating an extra room, as well as additional musical equipment and new windows.
The Managing Director of SPACE is Sean McGinty. He's also the
presenter of the ‘BBC Introducing’ programme on BBC Radio Lancashire which champions new, local music. Sean is passionate about providing creative opportunities for young people and has developed the SPACE facility from scratch with his own money, giving young disadvantaged people part time employment opportunities within the organisation, where they staff evening rehearsal sessions.
“We’re delighted with the loan from TSELF,” says Sean. “Everything SPACE does must be sustainable. There has to be a business opportunity and a social need and Blackpool has both in abundance. When those two things come together social enterprise really can improve aspirations and employment opportunities for young people. The loan will make a huge difference to SPACE, allowing us to develop our facilities, open up the centre for daytime use and generate additional revenue from renting out the rehearsal rooms."
Established in the heart of the City of Liverpool in 1994, The Social Partnership is charity and company limited by guarantee. The aim of the organisation is to provide socially excluded substance abusers, with the training, skills and support to help them to progress into sustained employment or further education and training.
The Social Partnership aims to become financially sustainable and less dependent on grants. In 2002 earned income was 48% of total income, this has increased year on year with 2006 achieving 83%, the target is to increase this to 90%. The business growth (turnover has doubled in four years) has been achieved by the winning of new contracts based on a strategy to build on the existing presence in local areas rather than respond to random requests for their services.
This expansion whilst extremely encouraging has caused them some cash flow problems, when trying to service the business growth from a position of low reserves. It is further exacerbated by payment delays from the public bodies whom the majority of their contracts are with. TSELF was able to bridge that gap with a £60,000 loan facility repayable over a 36-month period.
Currently The Social Partnership has 858 clients on its books and employs 39 full time and 26 part time staff.
Mike Whiting the Finance Director for The Social Partnership had the following to say “I cannot recommend The Social Enterprise Loan Fund and their Regional Director, Roy White, highly enough. We have negotiated two loans through them and in both cases the process required the minimum paperwork, whilst at the same time asking very searching questions.
"The loans have enabled us to expand our business with minimal bureaucracy, and have been invaluable in helping us to work successfully with many more beneficiaries. I greatly value our regular review meetings which help to ensure that our management information and systems remain equipped to answer any questions that may arise.”
Croxteth Enterprise Training and Employment Centre Ltd (CENTEC)
Croxteth Enterprise Training and Employment Centre Ltd (CENTEC) acquired a 1.9 acre industrial site from the North West Development Agency eighteen months ago and with our financial support has been able to undertake a programme of work over three phases to refurbish the entire site of empty run down buildings. The completed works will offer a variety of managed works spaces including: offices, showrooms and industrial units for local commercial and community enterprises. Already the centre has attracted over thirty businesses to trade from the site - with another 30 spaces to be completed.
In addition to rental side of the business, CENTEC is also contracted by the local authority to provide business advice to social enterprises and small businesses in Merseyside. It also runs payroll services and is a CRB agent administrating personnel checks for many educational and charitable organisations.
Pat Brand CENTEC’s Chief Executive speaking of TSELF’s support says “Without their help we could not have left the starting blocks. Social enterprises across the north west need to explore the viability of loan finance to grow their organisations particularly with the forthcoming reduced availability of public funding significantly from Europe.”
With much of the site let, CENTEC has been able to raise funds from commercial bank to repay us and fund further improvements. We were sorry to lose them as a client but proud to have helped them in their development phase.
103.6 FM Tameside Radio obtained a licence from OFCOM in October 2005 to run a radio station in Tameside which provides a unique sound that engages the community whilst utilising people with skills that are generally underused in mainstream radio services.
TCR came to TSELF in May 2006 to seek a loan of £25,000 to complement a mix of grant funding they were hoping to acquire from three different sources. We were able to accommodate their request although it took nearly two years for them to secure the public investment required. Most of the loan was spent on equipment for the new station with the remainder helping to fund working capital.
TCR aims to provide a community resource and engage hard to reach groups in education, sports clubs, youth clubs and community centres by supporting;
economic and social regeneration of the community.
socially excluded groups to utilise community radio as a mechanism into mainstream service provision.
and informing the residents in Tameside about the area, the community activity and service provision within the borough.
greater participation in community activities across the borough of Tameside.
They went on air in September 2007 broadcasting on 103.6FM
Their journey since start up has been a roller coaster of activity. Their impact on the community has been tremendous: 8,000 listeners every month, 4,000 visitors to their website. Significant increases in attendees at key community events across the public and voluntary sector due to TCR broadcasting them across the airwaves.
Community outputs achieved so far have been:
190 local people have volunteered to work on the radio station, 60 are currently active. The volunteers undertake broadcasting, promotions and administration. The broadcasters cover the full range of radio audio from hosting shows, research, local news and sport.
Over 100 community groups have involved themselves with the project.
Considerable programme content focused on the positive aspects of the community.
TSELF was able to approve a loan facility two years ago, to bridge ERDF retention monies. The KIMC is an integrated training and community resource in Liverpool 8, situated in the area where the Toxteth riots took place a number of years ago. A well-established local community group, Liverpool Black Sisters (LBS), originally conceived the project. They obtained the original grant from the Millennium Commission in 2000 to kick-start this project. The building is a state of the art new build, a beacon in the area, it has five operational zones that are linked in providing resources and services to the people of this community and beyond.
The building also includes a two-room counselling suite and seven offices for rent, providing additional revenue to support the operation of the building/business.
TSELF in partnership with other public funders has played a crucial part in ensuring KIMC had the financial flexibility to be able to focus its attention and effort in developing the different facets of this enterprise, to ensure long term sustainability.
ABC Together was established by its four directors all of whom have experience of caring for a relative with mental health problems and recognising the scant facilities available to help their situation.
Their aim is to create varied work and therapeutic opportunities for people who are excluded from society and boost their chances of recovery. The company promotes the rehabilitation of people with mental health problems. Encouragement is given to people who have overcome mental disorders and are trying to re-enter the job market.
They set up a manufacturing/recycling business that provides horse bedding and compost from recycled waste cardboard to an area that has the highest density of horse ownership in the country.
They obtained grant funding from three sources but needed a loan of £15,000 for equipment purchase and working capital.