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Building better lives

Ex-offenders give new life to Bristol homes

26-06-2012 | 40 empty, run-down homes in Bristol are to  be given a new lease of life via a new social enterprise scheme providing up to 200 jobs for the long-term unemployed and ex-offenders.

Ethical investment specialist Triodos Bank today announced it has arranged a further £1 million of funding in the form of a five year 3% Social Impact Bond for Bristol Together CIC, following a successful “proof of concept” phase. Together with the £600,000 raised in September 2011, the follow-on funding will allow social enterprise Bristol Together to acquire up to forty empty, sub-standard properties in the Bristol area which will then be repaired, and refurbished by a local team of ex-offenders and long-term unemployed over a five year period.

Once refurbished, the formerly empty and run-down homes will be sold on and the proceeds reinvested in the scheme, allowing further properties to be bought and redeveloped.

The Bristol Together programme is unique in the way it is funded, with Bristol Together becoming accredited as a CDFI (Community Development Financing Initiative), a relatively new concept. All the funds were raised through a Social Impact Bond paying 3%, with 75% coming from institutional investors including charitable foundations such as Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, Lankelly Chase and Barrow Cadbury Trust. The remainder of the funding was from individual private investors, who also qualify for the added benefit of Community Investment Tax Relief.

Dan Hird, head of Triodos Corporate Finance commented: “We are delighted to have extended our advisory mandate with Bristol Together. The strong social impact and innovative asset-backed funding structure in this deal proved attractive to institutional and private investors looking for a blended social and financial return and we were encouraged that the offer was over-subscribed."

Bristol Together founder and CEO, Paul Harrod, added: “I was searching for a way to address a clear social need – creating jobs for ex-offenders with multiple disadvantages, particularly in the current economic climate. Currently, around 28 people compete for every entry level job in the UK market. For most ex-offenders, a combination of a criminal record and lack of employment experience means the odds of finding meaningful employment are insurmountable. Our new scheme provides the double benefit of being dedicated entirely to getting them back into the workplace and equipping them with new skills, while successfully redeveloping out-of-action, run-down properties in desperate need of renovation.” 

Triodos and Bristol Together CIC are planning to replicate this model in other major cities across the UK where the need for jobs is just as great as it is in Bristol.

Notes to editors:

For more information please contact the Triodos Communications team:

Faye Holst, T 0117 9809 584 or M 0755 778 5167
William Ferguson, T 0117 980 9770 or M 07899 965 640
Lisa Stanley, T 0117 9809721 or M 07983 002 013

About Triodos Bank

Triodos Corporate Finance works exclusively with sustainable businesses and has a long track record of advising businesses on raising capital through private placements and retail offers. The growth achievable from capital raisings helps businesses achieve the perfect balance between financial and ethical business objectives. Triodos has an enviable database of ethical investors keen to invest in the growing sustainability sector.

Over the past 12 months, Triodos Corporate Finance has raised over £25 million for businesses within the sustainability sector with investments from institutions, charitable foundations, private high net worth individuals and retail investors. Through our Europe-wide reputation and credibility in the sustainability sector, Triodos has access to a wide range of potential clients.

Triodos Bank only finances enterprises which create social, environmental or cultural added-value.

Key sectors include organic food and farming, renewable energy, social housing and fair trade. Transparency is a core value: customers are informed about the bank's lending.
A range of personal savings accounts is offered, and full banking services are available for businesses and charities.

Triodos Bank is an independent bank founded in the Netherlands in 1980. Its principles and independence are protected through a special shareholding trust. The UK office opened in 1995 and is based in Bristol.

 

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