Business name: Shotley Kidzone
Business type: Community Enterprise
Location: Shotley, Suffolk
Sometimes you need a community to get together to get things done. However, there are times when even a strong group with a dedicated committee needs extra help to bring matters to a close.
Shotley Kidzone committee members had spent two years raising funds for a much needed portacabin. It seemed like all odds are against them as twice they thought they’d made it and twice the unexpected happened. First, a grant fell through. Second, a supplier pulled out.
Situation was getting serious, time was running out.
'After several emergency meetings we realised drastic action was needed. The problem was twofold. Grants we had in place could not be released until the total amount needed had been raised. Additionally, our original plan to purchase a secondhand portacabin had fallen through and the only way to secure a portacabin of the rather unusual size we needed was to buy new. This meant more fund raising, quickly!' explained Mel Faux, a committee member of Shotley Kidzone.
They went back to square one and began applying for further grants to make up the £16,000 deficit. As Mel started this arduous task she became aware, through an advertisement in a local magazine, of Foundation East and their enterprise loans. This seemed like something they were looking for to fill in the gap in their budget, so she contacted them directly.
“Foundation East was very helpful. We were dealing with a dedicated business development manager who not only came to see us outside normal hours, but was extremely supportive and helpful, quickly confirming that Foundation East could provide the missing £5,000 allowing the rest of the funds to be released. Without this loan our playgroup could not have survived” – Mel advised.
Enterprise loans are a secure way to fill funding gaps in order to release grants and it would be great if more social enterprises were aware of this kind of finance schemes. The problem is many social enterprises and community groups are struggling to find that last piece of the budget-jigsaw, yet avoid considering loans. Unfortunately, they often believe that trustees will have to put up personal guarantees, or that they do not have the expertise to fill in the application forms.
Foundation East does not require personal guarantees for social enterprise ventures. Once your request proves genuine, one of our experienced business development managers is sent to see you and can provide advice on other sources of finance as well.
Shortly after securing Foundation East’s Enterprise Loan Shotley Kidzone was awarded a retrospective grant made by Shotley Parish Council. This enabled them to repay the loan on a record-breaking time.
This is a shining example that a great vision can be realised when a few energetic, resourceful and driven minds get together. Hopefully, more social enterprises will follow their lead. Find out more about Shotley’s latest endeavours on www.shotley.onesuffolk.net