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This week Ulster Community Investment Trust Ltd t/a Community Finance Ireland held its all island Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Belfast’s Clifton House. As part of the AGM, the team officially launched its Annual Report for 2022.

The report published today highlights the following key takeaways:

  • Ulster Region: £2.8m (€3.2m) of loans into 28 organisations
  • Leinster Region: £3.1m (€3.5m) of loans into 38 organisations
  • Munster Region: £0.9m (€1.0m) of loans into 16 organisations
  • Connacht Region: £0.6m (€0.7m) of loans into 7 organisations
  • £6.5m to 231 communities via much needed grant payments funded by the Department of Communities NI and in collaboration with NICVA
  • £5.8m in loan support to 186 SME clients through the management of the Invest NI sponsored NISBLF Fund II since 2018, in collaboration with Enterprise Northern Ireland.

With a client portfolio, whose core assets are predominately its volunteers, the 89 projects saw their own belief mirrored back to them and secured term or bridging loans which supported them in:

  • Providing access to facilities and services for their local area
  • Expanding their businesses and growing their memberships
  • Improving their sustainability and helping them achieve their long-term goals

In what was another extraordinary year for the history the organisation and for the communities and citizens on the island Donal Traynor Group Chief Executive highlighted the following in his welcome video message:

To learn more about Community Finance Ireland and discover the inspiring stories of the organisations we supported in 2022, please visit here.

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A new piece of research entitled Valuing Our Sector has found that the Third Sector’s value to the local Northern Ireland economy is estimated at a staggering £2.4 billion.

The report carried out by research specialists MV Advocate on behalf of the Chief Executives of the Third Sector (CO3) and supported by Community Finance Ireland, Marsh and Ecclesiastical was made public at the CO3 Annual Leadership Conference on 29th September 2022.

The event allowed the sector to gather collectively for the first time in three years, the first since before the Covid 19 Pandemic. The successful gathering saw those committed to the continued success of the Third Sector engage with difficult subject matter including mitigating financial uncertainty, navigating uncertain funding terrain and how to lobby government in the interests of the sector.

Consensus on the day was that the Third Sector in particular is resilient, that we have collaborated during tough times in the past and in doing so has allowed us to persevere and come out the other end stronger than before.

Despite tough times the new report has shown that 78% of organisations saw an increase in their service demand during and after the Covid Pandemic, showing just how integral the Third Sector is to the wider well-being of Northern Irish society.

As Valerie McConville, CEO of CO3 put it:

“It’s clear that the Third Sector is creating jobs and that this community is indeed a group of change-makers who are health and wellbeing advocates, shock absorbers who support in tough times.”

The conversation about the value of our sector has always been one for us and our team but this new report continues to promote the importance of the Third Sector and the ambition of those working in it.”

Valerie McConville, CEO of CO3

Community Finance Ireland’s Head of Community Finance for Northern Ireland Phelim Sharvin facilitated a panel discussion and workshop around accessing Social Finance at the event. He remarked that:

“As the head of the Northern Ireland business, I am delighted to have been approached to support and fund this new benchmarking survey.”

Phelim Sharvin, Head of Community Finance (NI), Community Finance Ireland

If you would like to learn more about the report and its findings these are available for a small fee on the CO3 Website.