The Social Finance Foundation (SFF), which provides wholesale finance to social lending organisations, has welcomed the announcement today by Pobal of €5m allocation of monies from Dormant Accounts to assist development of social initiatives to tackle disadvantage, including social enterprise.

SFF CEO, Brendan Whelan, said: “This announcement, combined with the specially targeted loan finance available to social enterprises from Clann Credo – the Social Investment Fund and UCIT, will greatly assist the development of future local community initiatives in areas such as local job creation, services and heritage.”

“In particular groups that may experience difficulty accessing loan finance from mainstream sources can avail of specially tailored loans that assess social impact and benefit as well as commercial sustainability,” he said.

Community initiatives wishing to explore social finance options further should contact www.clanncredo.ie  and  www.ucitltd.com

  • SFF is a wholesale lender of social finance, providing finance to Social Lending Organisations so that they in turn can lend to borrowers seeking funding primarily for the purpose of community development and social enterprise.  The Social Lending Organisations which SFF provides funding to are currently Clann Credo and UCIT Ireland.  SFF also has a subsidiary company, Microfinance Ireland, which lends to micro-enterprises, including start-ups and existing businesses.

The following two organisations have received social finance loans from UCIT:

Ulster Community Investment Trust

Craughwell Athletics Club, Co. Galway is the largest Juvenile Athletics Club in Ireland. Having outgrown their original space, Social Finance from UCIT (Ireland) facilitated the purchase of a site and associated work costs. These works made the site usable for track and field events, but also allowed the club to admit extra members.

The investment is paying off. After the recent Indoor Championships, the club were ranked 6th in the country. The club’s performance is all the more impressive given that the members come from a relatively small area of rural County Galway compared to many urban clubs. (Photo attached with media release).

South Eastern Mountain Rescue is a 24 hr/365 Day Search and Rescue service, across the Comeragh, Galtee, Knockmealdown and Blackstairs mountain ranges, the largest area covered by Mountain Rescue Teams in Ireland.  There are approximately 50 volunteer team members from all walks of life.

With the aid of Social Finance from UCIT (Ireland), the group constructed a Central Base Vehicle Storage Unit in Clonmel. The base provides covered parking for their vehicles and a secure location for specialised team equipment, whilst also positively enhancing arrival times at incident scenes. The building is also used as a location for training events.

The following two community initiatives have received social finance loans from Clann Credo – the Social Investment Fund:

Clann Credo – Generating inclusive prosperity

Fumbally Exchange was established in Dublin, in 2010, as an “enterprise ecosystem” where people could access shared supports and resources and avail of space in which to test new ideas.

Very quickly FEX outgrew its original space and sought financial support in the form of a bridging loan from social finance provider, Clann Credo, in order to relocate to a more suitable premises and enhance the services and supports offered to participants. FEX has now established itself as a byword for edgy, urban creativity within a thriving enterprise that delivers maximum social impact.

U-Casadh focuses on providing an opportunity for former prisoners to attain and develop a wide range of skills, to a high level.  The organisation was co-founded and is now headed by Stephen Plunkett, a former prison warder.  The training offered includes: horticulture, woodwork, metal work, plumbing and electrics.

The ability of the participants to earn a decent living through social enterprise is critical to success over the long term.  To develop the social enterprise element of its programme required an extension and upgrade of existing facilities.   Clann Credo provided loan finance in the form of bridging and term loans to assist this project.