2014 has been a very good year for Co-operative & Community Finance; we’ve released £1.4m to co-operatives, community groups and ethical organisations since January.
Highlights include loans to the UK’s first co-operatively owned music venue, a student housing co-op, two community pubs, two wood recycling projects, a creative workers’ co-op, a video engineering co-op, two renewable energy installers, a wholefoods trader and numerous community shops.
The money has helped these organisations to set up, grow and prosper; creating and securing jobs and making a positive social and environmental impact.
There were 31 loans made in total. The largest was for £180,000 and the smallest £10,000.
The finance was drawn from the family of funds managed by Co-operative & Community Finance, including the Co-operative Loan Fund and the Co-operative Community Shares Fund.
A member of Jazz.Coop, one of the fund’s recent borrowers, said: “The finance we received was invaluable to our project. It helped us successfully complete our share issue and realise a collective dream; our co-op now proudly owns a pub in Newcastle upon Tyne, which reopened in May 2014.”
Co-operative & Community Finance is the oldest community development finance institution (CDFI) in the UK, it has been successfully managing funds and making loans in a specialist market since 1973.
Our investment manager Ian Taylor said: “Other lenders in the social sector are upscaling and focusing on lending larger amounts. This has opened a gap in the market for us because we’ve always been dedicated to supporting the sector at every stage of its development, with loans of all different sizes. Our record year, and the diversity in our recent lending, shows how successful worker co-ops and community groups can be at every level.”
All of the money lent by Co-operative & Community Finance comes from individuals and organisations that support the fund’s mission: to help people take control of their economic lives and create social benefit.