Trust talking Social Finance at Festival of Economics
Social Finance has been one of the Trust’s key themes throughout our history. We believe innovation, and change, in the funding and financing of the Northern Ireland community and voluntary sector are inevitable and desirable.
In Northern Ireland, the focus has traditionally been on grant aid to finance the sector’s activity with some uptake of secured loans mainly for capital projects.
However, this, thanks to organisations such as Arts & Business NI, Charity Bank, UCIT and Cooperative Alternatives is starting to change.
We have worked with Charity bank and other social finance providers to support research into the supply and demand for social finance products, the need for government and others to strategically support change through stimulating development and use of new products such as grant/loan hybrid models and unsecured lending, and too invest in developing organisations investment readiness.
As well as this we have carried out a successful Community Shares pilot in programme with Cooperative Alternatives which we expect to further flourish and develop once our direct funding ceases in March 2016.
They have worked with a wide range of organisations including the highly successful NI Community Energy and Down to Earth – Northern Ireland’s first woodland burial service.
We are also engaged in research projects into the social finance possibilities in the Environment and Arts Sectors in Northern Ireland, working closely with Arts & Business NI and NI Environment Link.
As well as all this, we are preparing to launch an exciting and innovative piece of work alongside UCIT which we hope will help organisations in the NI VCSE Sector be more financially independent and sustainable into the future.
To showcase some of the excellent work being done by the Trust and these organisations, we will be hosting a lunchtime fringe event at NICVA’s Festival of Economics on Friday 12th August 2016.
The event will be an informal affair with lots of opportunities to ask questions and get to know more about our work in Social Finance.
Speaking at the event will be representatives from the Trust, UCIT, Charity Bank, Down to Earth, NI Community Energy and Arts & Business NI.
The event will start at 1pm, and run for approximately one hour.