Social Enterprises play a critical role in creating sustainable communities and supporting the recovery of the UK economy; Social Enterprise UK’s Chief Executive, Peter Holbrook, has previously stressed how important they are in providing jobs and opportunity within our most deprived communities, and delivering high quality public services to tackle inequality.

At their very core, Social Enterprises are focused on generating positive societal outcomes – employing local people, using local and ethical suppliers in their supply chains, working across a network of organisations with shared values, and reinvesting profits to grow their business and increase impact.

Making the switch to an ethical finance provider can be another powerful step to driving positive change. High street institutions are under increasing pressure to demonstrate their contribution to wider society, and specialist providers, such as Unity Trust Bank, are already well-established in promoting an ethical approach across all areas of their business.

The alternative lenders contributing to positive change

Socially-minded banks are driven by a core purpose to deliver positive impact in all they do. At Unity Trust Bank, we offer full transparency with a double-bottom line strategy, meaning our customer deposits are used to support organisations that also create valuable economic, community and environmental change. Unity’s lending practices are measured against the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, supporting key societal issues such as health, education, employment, financial inclusion and economic growth.

These values are also reflected within Unity’s internal practices – we were the world’s first Carbon Literate Bank, in addition to being the first UK bank to receive the Fair Tax Mark and to become an accredited real Living Wage employer.

From decisions around responsible procurement and suppliers, to minimising financial risk to customers, reducing waste, and giving back locally through external skills training and volunteering, Unity’s core purpose is to deliver positive outcomes at every level.

How Unity Trust Bank supports Social Enterprises

As an award-winning independent bank, Unity only lends to organisations that share our values and support local communities. We have a loyal and growing business banking customer base and our ambition is to become the bank of choice for all socially-minded organisations in the UK.

Unity Trust Bank is proud to work with Social Enterprises across a range of sectors and regions. We have a close affiliation with the values held by the sector, and share the belief that our work should, in turn, be beneficial for our communities.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, we were able to support Responsible Finance lenders such as the Business Enterprise Fund (BEF), which received a multi-million pound funding package to provide 150 SMEs in York and across the North East with access to Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans.

Lending for Social Enterprises also includes organisations such as Leeds-based Canopy Housing, which received a seven-figure loan to expand its property portfolio and continue to tackle homelessness and unemployment.

Against a backdrop of Covid-19, Brexit disruption and historically low interest rates, Unity remains financially strong and operationally resilient, growing by over 25 per cent year on year. We will continue to pursue safe, sustainable growth into the future. To find out more, visit www.unity.co.uk

Learn more about ethical finance

Join Unity Trust Bank at 12pm on Thursday 4th March, where Linda Martin and Matt Conroy will host a webinar to discuss the financing options available for Social Enterprises, including ways to access finance from ethical lenders.

With more than 35 years’ experience in retail and commercial banking, Regional Director for the South, Linda, has a focus to support and increase market share in the Social Care and Healthcare sectors.

As a Relationship Manager and Business Developer, Matt has more than 25 years’ banking experience across sectors including Education, Social Housing, Arts & Culture and SMEs.

Sign up to the webininar here

This webinar is only open to Social Enterprise UK members. To find out more about membership and to join click here. Membership is free for all social enterprise with a turnover under £100,000.