The City’s oldest charity, Belfast Charitable Society is joining forces with Ulster Community Investment Trust (UCIT) and Building Change Trust to create a £1m fund for the Community, Voluntary and Social Enterprise sector.

Belfast Charitable Society was established in 1752 to tackle disadvantage and poverty and in doing so it built the Poor House and Belfast’s first Infirmary, which remains as Clifton House. Today, the Society continues to work to tackle disadvantage and promote philanthropy while sharing its vast heritage with others.

Paula Reynolds, Chief Executive, Belfast Charitable Society said: “We are very excited to partner with these key organisations to deliver philanthropy in a different but relevant way.  By investing in this fund the Society can reach through to the grassroots of the Community, Voluntary and Social Enterprise sectors and significantly to those who are tackling disadvantage on the ground”.

The £1 Million Building Better Futures Fund, which will be managed by UCIT, one of the UK’s largest providers of social finance, will provide small unsecured loans which cannot currently be raised from traditional sources.

The scheme is being jointly funded by Belfast Charitable Society, Building Change Trust and UCIT. In 2016 Building Change Trust invested £350,000 and entered an arrangement with UCIT thereby laying the foundations for this new partnership between the 3 organisations. The Trust was established by the Big Lottery Fund with a National Lottery grant of £10 million as an investment for community capacity building and promotion of the voluntary and community sector in Northern Ireland.

Community groups, voluntary organisations, charities, sports clubs and social enterprises are being encouraged to access the loans which 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.

An official launch of the Building Better Futures Fund will be happening in the near future.

Further information about the Fund is available by contacting the Chief Executive of the Belfast Charitable Society, Paula Reynolds on 028 9099 7022.