A £ 2.5 million investment by the Co-operative Bank into the Government's Community Development Finance Institutions (CDFIs) initiative has enabled a community in North Wales to buy a mountain and countless other groups across the country to kick start local businesses.
The bank has taken up the Government's challenge to encourage investment in the UK's areas of highest deprivation by investing £ 2.5 million in four Community Development Finance Institutions (CDFIs), Charity Bank, ICOF (Industrial Common Ownership Fund), Community Loan Fund for the North West and Bolton Business Ventures.
CDFIs are independent financial organisations accredited by government to lend in deprived areas that cannot attract mainstream finance, in order to generate economic activity.
With a £ 1 million Co-operative Bank investment, ICOF (the UK's first CDFI), has helped a community co-operative in three North Wales villages ? Tregarth, Rhiwlas and Mynydd Llandegai ? to buy a mountain to preserve the heather and wild life and develop small business opportunities for local people. The Moelyci Environment Centre will help promote local regeneration through co-operative activities and community education and be a seedbed for independent co-operative businesses.
The emphasis will be on recycling, waste management, organic farming and woodland management.
A further £ 1 million investment in Charity Bank will mean that community groups across the country can benefit under the Government's community investment tax breaks scheme launched last spring.
The Co-op Bank has also invested £ 300,000 into the Community Loan Fund for North West England and a further £ 150,000 into Bolton Business Ventures in a move to support the businesses of community groups in the region. Under the Government's Community Investment Tax Relief (CITR) scheme, Charity Bank, ICOF, CLFNW and Bolton Business Ventures can offer tax relief of five percent to investors for five years. They in turn use the money received from investors to support enterprises that find it difficult to raise the finance they need form traditional sources.
David Dickman, the Co-op Bank's head of Co-operative and Sector Development commented: "This is a sizeable financial investment by the bank. It underlines our continued commitment to community initiatives and business projects which often find it hard to attract mainstream investment and loans."
In this article
- Bolton Business Ventures
- Common ownership
- Community development financial institution
- Community Development Financial Institutions Fund
- Community Loan Fund
- Industrial Common Ownership Fund
- North Wales
- Opportunity finance
- Social economy
- Social Issues
- The Co-operative Bank
- The Co-operative Group
- Venture capital