Strand Arts Centre is a charitable venture set up to offer cost effective events, outreach programmes, classes and activities to the East Belfast population while ensuring the survival of an Art deco landmark building which houses Belfast oldest cinema.

The Arts Centre has obtained a loan from the Building Better Futures Fund to finance the acquisition and installation of a new digital projector. The investment means Strand Arts Centre will be able to increase their programme of activities and generate further income thereby improving the overall sustainability of this iconic facility in East Belfast.

Community and voluntary organisations, charities and social enterprises can access loans available through the scheme which has been created and funded through a partnership between three leading local charities – Belfast Charitable Society, Building Change Trust and Ulster Community Investment Trust (UCIT).

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. Building Change Trust was established in 2008 by the Big Lottery Fund with an endowment of £10million as an investment for community capacity building and promotion of the voluntary and community sector in Northern Ireland.

The £1 Million fund which is being managed by UCIT provides small unsecured loans of £1,000 – £25,000 which cannot currently be raised from traditional sources. The loans 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.

Mimi Turtle, Chief Executive, Strand Arts Centre said: “We recently accessed a loan from the Building Better Futures Fund in order to make a capital investment in a new digital projector which will enable the Strand Arts Centre to grow both its artistic programme and its income.  The efficient process of securing this finance coupled with the on-going personal and flexible service is what makes UCIT an attractive financial partner for the Strand.” 

 Further information about the Building Better Futures scheme is available by contacting UCIT on 028 9031 5003.