Loans for Kent social enterprises with KSELF

Published by Susan Robinson on 12 July 2019

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Charities continue to struggle finding funding both for delivery of service and development. With Public Sector funding constricting, foundations and grant making charities are seeing greater demand.

As charities have had to become more innovative, so have the funders, and one such example is the growth of the “Social Investment Business”. This is a mixture of grants and loans to support both charities and local community groups. In Kent we have the Kent Community Foundation, this is one of forty-six accredited local Community Foundations across the United Kingdom, who award grants to support charities and other local community groups.

In addition to awarding grants, since 2012 Kent Community Foundation has been offering a social lending programme. This is called, Kent Social Enterprise Loan Fund, (KSELF), which is a blended loan and grant fund, which aims to bridge the increasing funding gap for Kent’s new and existing social enterprises, by offering an unsecured facility between £10k and £100k.

Applications are welcome from organisations who can demonstrate that they operate as social enterprises with:

  • Clear social aims and community benefit noted in governing document
  • Trading activities which form a significant part of income
  • Assets and/or profits used and retained for the benefit of the community
  • Specific power to borrow

A wide variety of organisational structures can apply, including charities, community interest companies, companies limited by guarantee, industrial and provident societies.

The appeal to many of the successful applicants is that the financial package includes an element of grant. This is up to 30% of the loan amount, depending on the social impact of the project. Once the finance is repaid, Kent Community Foundation will recycle the loan for reinvestment back into the community.

In addition to offering funding, Kent Community Foundation also provides assistance and business support throughout the whole process, from a dedicated Investment Funds Manager.

If you have expansion plans, require additional working capital, or need support to fund a new project, visit the Kent Community Foundation website or call James Horne, Investment Funds Manager, Kent Community Foundation on 01303 815153 to discuss if KSELF might be an option for you.

Charities need to be open to new ways for financing. Not all sources are appropriate, and it must be remembered that loans have to be repaid. In some circumstances this can help through a difficult time or move an organisation onto the next level. All options need to be on the table.

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