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The ethical bank helping UK social projects bounce back from Covid


The pandemic has highlighted a number of societal challenges, from loneliness to inequality in healthcare. More than ever, organizations that improve quality of life need support. We know some whose choice of bank has made a difference

It is a cruel Covid-19 reality that organizations at the forefront of supporting communities, caring for the vulnerable and improving our quality of life, have been among the most affected. Social care providers have faced higher overheads due to necessary security measures, but demand for their services has increased, while many arts and community venues have been forced to close. Many face an uncertain future when they need it most.

“The pandemic has put enormous financial pressure on us,” says Charlie Hoare, director of the Huntington and Langham Estate, a family-run nursing home in Surrey that offers residential, nursing and dementia care. “Nursing homes have started to close around us, which is a great shame. Fortunately, with the support of Triodes it has allowed us to act quickly to be financially proactive. “

Triodos, founded 40 years ago, is one of the world’s leading sustainable banks. A certified B corporation, its 721,000 clients across Europe can rest assured that it is only investing in and lending to organizations and businesses that are making a positive impact, to the tune of £ 7bn in loans so far.

Ethical bank

Organizations that support communities are among those most affected by Covid-19. Image: Cristina Seri

“We strongly believe in helping to create a sustainable and inclusive society,” says Paul Nicoll, Triodos Bank UK’s Social and Cultural Team Leader. “Our relationship managers build long-term relationships with people and organizations that benefit communities, harnessing the power of our depositors’ funds.”

Hoare has found this approach “a breath of fresh air,” after the nursing home switched to banking with Triodos in early 2020. In the past, he says, major banks often criticized the home for its high costs. staff or food, for example. But “the bank was very interested in our ethics from the start and understood our vision of care, which puts people first over profit.”

Triodos has also been “incredibly supportive” during the pandemic, he says. “They have been unfazed by our investments in PPE and innovations in infection prevention, despite the impact on results during a time when revenues were uncertain.”

The bank was very interested in our ethics from the start and understood our vision of care.

To help organizations weather the financial storm brought on by Covid-19, Triodos has offered them principal payment vacations to help with cash flow, as well as provide additional funds to some of their borrowers through the Loan Program. for the Government’s Coronavirus Business Interruption (CBILS). .

Thanks to the bank’s support, Hoare believes the residence has a bright future, including a construction project co-financed by Triodos – an extension of his property for residents suffering from dementia. It will give residents views of the fields of sheep and horses, with the South Downs in the distance.

“I can’t wait to see the impact it will have on people’s emotions and moods,” says Hoare.

The pandemic has underscored the importance of physical and mental well-being, as well as health inequalities, with residents of the poorest areas of the UK being the hardest hit by Covid-19. Newark and Sherwood in Nottinghamshire are among the lowest-ranked districts in England for social mobility for people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The local YMCA hopes to help change this with a new community and activity center funded in part by a Triodos crowdfunding loan and bond. “Triodos have been incredibly supportive and, as a lender, they are very attractive because of their ethical approach,” says Todd Cauthorn, CEO of YMCA Newark and Sherwood.

The center will have sports facilities, a cafeteria and a community building for childcare, adult education, skills training and art classes, improving the health and fitness of the community and creating jobs.

Ethical bank

A representation of the YMCA community center in Newark and Sherwood, funded in part by Triodos

While many in the arts sector have felt underserved by public spending programs during the pandemic, for Triodos, culture is a key investment priority.

“Arts organizations can have such a powerful social impact,” says Nicoll. “They bring communities together, they provide entertainment, they give people the opportunity to be creative, and they enhance well-being.”

Olivia Neilson feels fortunate to see this impact first-hand in her work as a community and development manager at the Riverside Studios arts center in Hammersmith, West London, especially when she sees people of different backgrounds and ages meeting at events.

Financially supported by CBILS funds distributed by Triodos during closed closings, Riverside Studios has helped combat loneliness and lift spirits with screenings of popular Zoom movies followed by Q&A events and digital yoga classes.

Ethical bank

The Riverside Studios art center in London also benefited from a loan from Triodos. Image: Jan Urbanski

At the end of 2019, the studios reopened after a £ 50 million remodel, part of which was financed with a loan from Triodos. The architecture of the new building “really helps create that sense of community,” says Neilson.

Its open-plan atrium can host everything from dance classes and talks with children’s authors, to senior theater workshops and a variety of other community events that are free to local social housing residents. The theater has also been able to host safe Covid events thanks to the large, modern space.

For Nicoll, hearing how Triodos investing makes people happier and healthier is one of the highlights of his job. “That’s the really exciting part. Knowing that we are helping our borrowers make a real difference and witnessing the impact they create is what motivates and inspires us. “

Lead Image: Dean Mitchell / Getty



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