Derry’s Destined Enterprises has been showcased at an event celebrating a community fund which has committed over £500,000 to groups in the North in just over six months.
Destined Enterprises, which empowers people with learning disabilities, applied to the Building Better Futures Fund to buy new equipment for its social enterprise taxi service.
Speaking at the event at Belfast’s Clifton House, Dermot O’Hara, Destined Enterprises Director, said: “This loan has enabled us to provide much needed disabled-friendly transport in the city. In going to the Fund we had to think about our business model and how and when we can pay it back.
“We take the whole idea of ‘enterprise’ very seriously and we also use this to help our members learn more about managing their finances as well as those of the organisation.”
The Building Better Futures Fund is a partnership between Belfast Charitable Society, Building Change Trust and Ulster Community Investment Trust. The £1m fund provides unsecured loans of up to £25,000 to voluntary groups, charities and social enterprises.
Also speaking at the event was Cliff Prior, CEO of Big Society Capital, the body responsible for investing over £300m from dormant bank accounts in England in support of good causes there. Up to £20m might be made available locally from Northern Ireland dormant bank accounts. The Department of Finance, however, has indicated that the use of these funds remains a decision for the Executive.
Nigel McKinney, Director of Operations at the Building Change Trust, said: “The use of dormant account funds in England and Wales demonstrates what is possible. The impasse over the use of Northern Ireland dormant accounts denies access to a significant and potentially transformative source of funding for local charities and social enterprises. It’s now time for a decision to be progressed.”