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Five million pounds raised for GLL to further develop its sport and social legacy

Greenwich Leisure now able to refurbish Olympic sports venues in London.

21-01-2014 | Sustainable bank Triodos has reached the £5 million target it set for its bond issue on behalf of leisure operator and charitable social enterprise GLL (Greenwich Leisure Limited).

The bond will help GLL to further develop its sport and social legacy strategy, which includes two London 2012 Olympic venues on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park - the Copper Box Arena, which launched in July 2013 and the London Aquatic Centre which re-opens to the public in March 2014.  The investment will ensure that the facilities are available both to elite sportsmen and women but also local residents and community groups.  The bond will also contribute to the ongoing restoration and expansion of the historic Charlton Lido and Lifestyle Club, which offers affordable swimming and fitness facilities to Londoners.

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"We are delighted that the bond has been fully subscribed.  The funding will help us to continue our social mission - providing access to quality community leisure and fitness facilities at a price everyone can afford."
GLL Managing Director Mark Sesnan.

The five-year bond will pay 5% gross fixed interest per year.  Investors were split evenly between retail (54%) and institutional investors (46%) with support from the City of London Corporation Social Investment Fund, Rathbone Ethical Bond Fund and the Bank Workers Charity. The minimum investment was £2,000 or £200 for GLL employees.

The bond issue was made possible with support from the Investment and Contract Readiness Fund (ICRF) that offers grants to high growth social enterprises like GLL to bring in corporate finance expertise.

GLL is the UK's largest charitable social enterprise, delivering leisure, libraries, health and community services. Its mission is to improve health and community outcomes by increasing sport and leisure participation, particularly amongst under-represented groups - people who face barriers to sporting facilities.

The organisation's track record speaks for itself.  Operating in some of the UK's most economically deprived areas, 51% of GLL leisure centre members enjoy concessionary prices.  A further 10,000 are registered as disabled, while over half describe themselves as non-white or BAME (Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic). And while women typically exercise less than men, 49% of GLL's members are female.

Commenting on the successful issue, GLL Managing Director Mark Sesnan said: "We are delighted that the bond has been fully subscribed.  The funding will help us to continue our social mission - providing access to quality community leisure and fitness facilities at a price everyone can afford.  While offering investors a decent return and the chance to make a social impact."

Dan Hird, head of Corporate Finance at Triodos Bank added: " We're really pleased with the successful outcome of the bond issue. It is clear that more and more investors are becoming motivated by the prospect of doing something socially useful  with part of their investment portfolio whilst also receiving a reasonable financial return."

Jonathan Jenkins, Chief Executive of the Social Investment Business Group said: "We have seen an unprecedented demand for our investment readiness grants in the past few months indicating that the Fund is becoming vital to the investment journey of high-growth social ventures. Investment readiness is critical to creating a vibrant social investment market in the UK and GLL's success shows that the right support can really deliver results to help social ventures access new forms of finance to grow."

Minister for Civil Society, Nick Hurd said: "It is hugely encouraging to see such a positive deal secured through the Investment and Contract Readiness Fund. In this particular case, for every £1 government gave, GLL was able to raise £39 in private investment. This shows the power of smart grant funding to ambitious social ventures."

"Thanks to this investment, GLL can make world-class sports facilities accessible to local communities. This is exactly why social enterprises should be supported to grow and scale."

Notes to the editor

About GLL

Established in 1993, GLL is the largest UK-based charitable social enterprise delivering leisure, health and community services. It operates over 130 public sport and leisure centres and 26 libraries (including three prison libraries) in partnership with over 30 local councils, public agencies and sporting organisations. Its leisure facilities enjoy more than 38 million visitors a year with over 450,000 members.

Alongside its core leisure and library divisions, it also operates in sport and legacy development, health intervention and education - as well as offering the GLL Sports Foundation, one of the largest independent support programmes for talented young athletes in the UK.

About Triodos Corporate Finance

Triodos is one of the world's leading sustainable banks. Its advisory arm, 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. Over the past three years, Triodos Corporate Finance has raised over £55 million for businesses within the sustainability sector with investments from institutions, charitable foundations, high net worth individuals and retail investors. www.triodos.co.uk

About the Investment and Contract Readiness Fund

The Investment and Contract Readiness Fund is a three-year £10 million fund, being delivered on behalf of the Cabinet Office with support from Deutsche Bank. The Fund aims to ensure that social ventures, with potential for high growth, can access non-grant investment, or bid for and win Government or other public service delivery contracts.

Ambitious social ventures looking to raise at least £500,000 in investment or win a £1m contract can apply for grants up to £150,000. The grants will help social ventures partner with one of the Fund's 37 specialist providers of a range of professional services including law, financial management, corporate finance and public service commissioning to become investment or contract ready. The complete list of approved providers is available at beinvestmentready.org.uk/social-ventures/find.

For further press information
Carole Pendle
Pendle PR
Tel: 07768462601
Email: carole@pendlepr.com


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