Community projects in Northern Ireland are being encouraged to take advantage of a new dedicated £350,000 loan scheme.
Community groups, voluntary organisations, charities, sports clubs and social enterprises will be able to access the scheme, which is being funded by Building Change Trust and managed by the Ulster Community Investment Trust (UCIT).
The new fund, which will provide small loans which cannot currently be raised from traditional sources, can be used for a wide range of purposes, including buildings and repairs, equipment purchase, making facilities more energy efficient or funding shortfalls in larger grant assisted projects.
Launching the new scheme, Economy Minister Simon Hamilton MLA, said: “I welcome this initiative which will help grow a more vibrant and sustainable voluntary, community and social enterprise sector. This new fund will provide much needed access to funds for our social enterprises, charities, community and voluntary organisations which make an important and unique contribution creating job opportunities and encouraging entrepreneurial spirit which in turn contributes to the local economy.”
Nigel McKinney, Director of Operations with the Building Change Trust, added: “This new fund is a truly innovative development and a great opportunity for the Northern Ireland voluntary, community and social enterprise sector.”
Harry McDaid, Chief Executive of UCIT, which will manage the fund, said: “Over the last 15 years UCIT has supported 400 community and voluntary organisations with access to finance. This has helped create employment, provide services and stimulate economic activity, often in very disadvantaged areas where help is most needed.”
Further information about the scheme is available by contacting UCIT on 028 9031 5003 or visiting www.ucitltd.com