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Grass Roots Renewables received a £250k loan from UCIT to fund a wind turbine outside Maghera

The lender for the third sector in Northern Ireland

Ulster Community Investment Trust (UCIT) is a Charity which provides loans exclusively to other third sector organisations such as community groups, charities, sports clubs and social enterprises in Northern Ireland. Since 2001 we’ve committed in excess of £50 million to over 360 organisations in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

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£52 million
Loans approved 2001-2014

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UCIT provided start-up funding to Folktown CIC for a new farmer’s & artisan market in Belfast

About us

Ulster Community Investment Trust (UCIT) is a Charity which provides loans exclusively to other third sector organisations such as community groups, charities, sports clubs and social enterprises in Northern Ireland. Since 2001 we’ve committed in excess of £50 million to over 360 organisations in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

UCIT was established in response to decreasing grant support from government and the difficulties experienced by community organisations in accessing commercial loan facilities. Start-up funding was received from LEDU (Invest NI) and the International Fund for Ireland (IFI) along with a £6.6m loan book from IFI, Department for Social Development and Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD).

In 2007 UCIT received accreditation from the Social Finance Foundation, Dublin, to enable the organisation to access a fund for investment south of the border. To read more, please visit the website of our sister company, Community Finance Ireland.

During 2012 UCIT's fund management company, UCI plc, achieved Financial Conduct Authority accreditation and the organisation was awarded the management of the £5 million NI Small Business Loan Fund by Invest Northern Ireland.

As a registered charity, all profits generated by UCIT are retained and recycled for reinvestment into the third sector.

Projects supported:

Projects Supported
Projects Supported

 

 

370 community
Projects funded

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Filmbase, Dublin availed of a bridging loan from UCIT to facilitate the running of training courses

Loans

Who do we lend to?

We lend exclusively to Community organisations, charities and social enterprises, both large and small, located in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Our borrowers include Faith-based initiatives, Sports Clubs, Training initiatives, Childcare schemes, Housing associations, Community transport schemes, Rural development projects and many more…

Finance is available for: buildings and equipment, working capital, cash shortfalls, bridging finance against delayed grants or other confirmed income and restructuring of debt.

Interest Rates - UCIT Interest rates are competitive and depend on the individual circumstances of each borrower.

Repayment Term - UCIT provides both long-term loans and short-term bridging finance. Loan terms are tailored to suit each borrower.

No penalties - UCIT does not penalise against early repayment of loans

Loan size - UCIT loans typically range from £25,000 - £500,000 +

If you would like a chat about whether a loan is the right option for your organisation, our lending team can provide advice and know how gained from many years of involvement within the sector in Northern Ireland. The lending team can be contacted on Tel: 028 90315003.

As a registered charity, all profits generated by UCIT are retained and recycled for reinvestment into the third sector.

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Building Change Trust Loan Fund

UCIT are delighted to provide a new loan fund for community groups, voluntary organisations, charities and social enterprises. The scheme which is being funded by Building Change Trust and managed by UCIT provides small, unsecured loans ranging from £1,000 to £25,000. The loans can be used for a wide range of purposes, including buildings and repairs, purchase of equipment, making facilities more energy efficient or funding shortfalls in larger grant assisted projects.

The Building Change Trust was established in 2008 by the Big Lottery Fund with a National Lottery grant of £10million as an investment for community capacity building and promotion of the voluntary and community sector in Northern Ireland.

Further information about the scheme is available by contacting UCIT on Tel: 028 9031 5003.

Big Lottery Fund - Building Change Trust

£2 million
Invested in Arts & Heritage projects

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UCIT provided Slack Press with working capital support to help them upscale their social enterprise

Applying for a loan

Our lending team welcome the opportunity to discuss the suitability of loan finance for your project and to answer any questions you might have. The lending team can be contacted on Tel: 028 9031 5003.

The UCIT lending process is simple and straightforward:

If your project appears suitable for loan finance, we will ask you to fill in a short application form.

Once we receive your completed application, a member of our lending team will contact you to arrange a meeting in order to further develop your proposal.

Upon completion, your business proposal will be submitted to UCIT's Lending and Investment Committee for approval.

Click on the link below to download the loan application form.

Complete the form and then print it out, sign, date and return it to UCIT.

Alternatively, call or email us and we will be happy to send you a loan application form and guidelines.

Loan Application

£14 million
Invested in Enterprise projects

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UCIT provided a loan to Foyle Women’s Aid to enable them to undertake crucial refurbishment work

Customer stories

UCIT loan finance has supported job creation, community engagement and economic development in many towns and villages in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Explore our Impact Map to find out more about the projects we have funded.

 

Bangor Football Club

Bangor Football Club received a £250,000 loan from UCIT to assist with the installation of a 3G pitch at its home ground at Clandeboye Park. It is planned that the improved facilities will enable the club to establish a Soccer Academy, allow for greater use by the wider community, and help deliver financial sustainability.

“These new facilities are an important part of securing our long-term financial future and strengthening the connection between the club and its local community. UCIT’s support has been instrumental in making this happen.” Trevor Best, Chairman, Bangor Football Club

Broughshane and District Community Association

"Our involvement in the Pilot Community Asset Transfer Scheme enabled us to develop a strong partnership with Ballymena Borough Council, (now Mid and East Antrim Council), DTNI, DSD, NIHE and Triangle Housing Association to finance and complete a feasibility study and Business plan for the development of the former Broughshane Police Station site. We are delighted that we are currently in the process of purchasing the Station, thanks to the financial support from Mid and East Antrim Council and a loan from Ulster Community Investment Trust." Sandy Wilson, Vice-Chairman, Broughshane and District Community Association

Landmark East

"We are focused on the regeneration of east Belfast. There are a number of derelict and vacant properties on the Newtownards Road that we feel can be transformed to improve the overall look of the area. The new development will help increase footfall in the area which in turn will help traders.

"Financing regeneration projects in the present climate is a real challenge. UCIT have been extremely supportive of our plans to revitalise the area. The redevelopment would not have been possible without their assistance." Maurice Kinkead, CEO, East Belfast Partnership

Resurgam Community Development

"There are people in the area struggling for employment, especially the young. We are giving them an opportunity to learn the skills they will need to find a job. For us it is all about jobs and we have already created over 100 jobs across our six enterprises, contributing £1.7m in salaries to the local economy.

“All profits raised through the business are reinvested back into the company or directly into the community, particularly the health and education sector. UCIT have been extremely supportive of our work and the second loan secured from them is a sign of confidence in our latest project." Adrian Bird, Director, Resurgam Community Development

Workspace Group

Workspace Group, one of Northern Ireland’s leading Local Enterprise Agencies, received a tailored working capital facility from UCIT to fund the expansion of Therm Tech, which it acquired three years ago.

“Therm Tech has reported strong growth in recent years and this loan from UCIT will support our ambitions for further growth, principally through increased exports in the UK and Europe. In addition to this increased level of export activity, we will be able to consolidate existing jobs and continue the employee growth strategy which has been so evident over the last two to three years.” Robin Gawne, Company Accountant, Workspace

£2.3 million
Invested in Social Housing projects

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UCIT provided a loan to Ards Rugby Football Club to support their redevelopment plans

News

 

Building Change Trust Loan enables Brocagh group to benefit from cost savings of installing PV Panels

Brocagh & District Regeneration Group was formed in 1996 with the specific aim of promoting economic and social regeneration of the Brocagh area which is located on the shores of Lough Neagh, outside Cookstown. The Group’s objectives are to encourage, support and develop enterprise in the Brocagh area through the provision of information, support services and workspace units. The organisation also provides and manages a community hall for use by both the local inhabitants and local charitable and community organisations. Those making use of the community facilities include the local GAA club, the bowling club, the historical group, Mother & Toddler group, the cultural tradition group, a local youth club and a farmers group. The centre provides vital opportunities for a variety of activities thereby promoting community cohesion, good mental health, physical health awareness and access to educational opportunities.
 
Brocagh & District Regeneration Group has recently benefited from a new dedicated £350,000 loan scheme which has been launched to help provide funding for community projects across Northern Ireland.  
Community groups, voluntary organisations, charities, sports clubs and social enterprises are being encouraged to access the scheme which is being funded by Building Change Trust, who were established in 2008 by the Big Lottery Fund with an endowment of £10million, and managed by Ulster Community Investment Trust (UCIT). 
 
The new fund provides small unsecured loans of £1,000 - £25,000 which cannot currently be raised from traditional sources. The loans can be used for a wide range of purposes, including buildings and repairs, equipment purchase, making facilities more energy efficient or funding shortfalls in larger grant assisted projects.  
 
Brocagh & District Regeneration Group will use a loan from the Building Change Trust Loan Fund to pay the upfront costs incurred during the supply and installation of a PV Panel system for the roof of their buildings. When the loan is retired the organisation will continue to benefit from receiving tax free annual income and electricity cost savings for the remaining 15 years of the government sponsored ROC (Renewables Obligation Certificate) contract. 

Further information about the scheme is available by contacting UCIT on 028 9031 5003. 

 

Building Change Trust Loan Fund enables Youth Sport Omagh to benefit from cost savings of installing PV Panels

Youth Sport Omagh is a voluntary, cross community organisation providing sporting and physical activity opportunities through its purpose built facility in County Tyrone. In addition to promoting the participation in sport to young people in the area, the organisation actively seeks to reduce barriers, provide wider opportunities and promote inclusiveness within sport among older people and young people with disabilities.

The organisation is one of the first to benefit from a new dedicated £350,000 loan scheme which has been launched to help provide funding for community projects across Northern Ireland.  Community groups, voluntary organisations, charities, sports clubs and social enterprises are being encouraged to access the scheme which is being funded by Building Change Trust and managed by Ulster Community Investment Trust (UCIT). The new fund provides small unsecured loans of £1,000 - £25,000 which cannot currently be raised from traditional sources. The loans can be used for a wide range of purposes, including buildings and repairs, equipment purchase, making facilities more energy efficient or funding shortfalls in larger grant assisted projects.

Youth Sport Omagh will use the loan to pay the upfront costs incurred during the supply and installation of a PV Panel system for the roof of their buildings. When the loan is retired the organisation will continue to benefit from receiving tax free annual income and electricity cost savings for the remaining 15 years of the government sponsored ROC (Renewables Obligation Certificate) contract.

The Building Change Trust was established in 2008 by the Big Lottery Fund with a National Lottery grant of £10million as an investment for community capacity building and promotion of the voluntary and community sector in Northern Ireland.

Further information about the scheme is available by contacting UCIT on 028 9031 5003. 

 

Funding Boost for NI Community Projects

A new dedicated £350,000 loan scheme has been launched to help provide funding for community projects across Northern Ireland.

Community groups, voluntary organisations, charities, sports clubs and social enterprises can access the scheme which has been funded by Building Change Trust and is managed by the Ulster Community Investment Trust (UCIT).

A new dedicated £350,000 loan scheme has been launched to help provide funding for community projects across Northern Ireland.

Community groups, voluntary organisations, charities, sports clubs and social enterprises can access the scheme which has been funded by Building Change Trust and is managed by the Ulster Community Investment Trust (UCIT).

The new fund provides small loans which cannot currently be raised from traditional sources. The loans can be used for a wide range of purposes, including buildings and repairs, equipment purchase, making facilities more energy efficient or funding shortfalls in larger grant assisted projects.

Among those hoping to benefit are Love Hockey Ireland from Portadown which is seeking funding to further develop its community-based indoor hockey rink and sports arena.

Launching the new scheme, Economy Minister Simon Hamilton MLA, said: "I welcome this initiative which will help grow a more vibrant and sustainable Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise sector. This new fund will provide much needed access to funds for our social enterprises, charities, community and voluntary organisations which make an important and unique contribution creating job opportunities and encouraging entrepreneurial spirit which in turn contributes to the local economy."

Nigel McKinney, Director of Operations with the Building Change Trust, said: "This new fund is a truly innovative development and a great opportunity for the Northern Ireland voluntary, community and social enterprise sector.

"This loan fund is part of our work in social finance which will help the sector become more financially sustainable in the future, freeing them up to do what they do best - delivering positive impact for the communities in which they work. "

Groups taking advantage of the unsecured loans, which can range from £1,000 to £25,000, will just need to demonstrate a capacity to repay.  The loans are also designed to be flexible and quickly available following an application.

Harry McDaid, Chief Executive of UCIT, which manage the fund, said: "Over the last 15 years UCIT has supported 400 community and voluntary organisations with access to finance.  This has helped create employment, provide services and stimulate economic activity, often in very disadvantaged areas where help is most needed.

"The funding from Building Change Trust will help us meet much needed demand for smaller loans in the third sector. The loan fund will match the needs of local communities, and be flexible and responsive in its delivery.  We actively encourage groups to get in touch with us and discuss their plans."

One of the groups hoping to benefit from the new initiative is local charity Love Hockey Ireland.

CEO Stephen Lynch, said: "Our charity is focused on using sport as a vehicle for community integration.  Since opening our social enterprise, multi-sport roller skating arena 'The Rink Sports Arena' three years ago, over 30,000 people have been through its doors.  These include local schools, youth, church, ethnic minority and disability groups, and sports clubs.

"The facility is a great community resource and by gaining access to this loan scheme we are now focused on developing the Rink to offer even more services to all in our local communities. Gaining loan funding for small charities and social enterprises is a challenge these days.  This new scheme is perfect for groups such as ours and it means we can now invest in a new business development officer to help us to continue to grow our services to the community".

The Building Change Trust was established in 2008 by the Big Lottery Fund with a National Lottery grant of £10million as an investment for community capacity building and promotion of the voluntary and community sector in Northern Ireland.

Over 400 Organisations Benefit from UCIT Community Loan Fund

Celebrating its 15th anniversary, UCIT has announced that it has assisted over 400 organisations with loan commitments totalling £60 million. UCIT provides affordable, flexible, loan support to community-based organisations, charities and social enterprises throughout Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. As a registered charity, all profits generated by UCIT are retained and recycled for the benefit of its clients.

Celebrating its 15th anniversary, UCIT has announced that it has assisted over 400 organisations with loan commitments totalling £60 million. UCIT provides affordable, flexible, loan support to community-based organisations, charities and social enterprises throughout Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. As a registered charity, all profits generated by UCIT are retained and recycled for the benefit of its clients.

Since 2001, UCIT has provided support to a broad range of third sector organisations including sports clubs, community associations, charities, green energy, enterprise agencies, faith-based organisations, social housing schemes and the arts.

Last year UCIT assisted 27 projects totalling £3.4m with Community Finance Ireland (UCIT’s subsidiary in the Republic of Ireland) committing €3.9m to 29 projects.

Harry McDaid, Chief Executive of UCIT, said: “Over the last 15 years, UCIT has alleviated funding gaps by providing hundreds of community organisations and social enterprises with access to finance.  This has helped create employment, attracted investment and stimulate economic activity, often in very disadvantaged areas where help was most needed.

“We have provided loans as low as £10k and as high as £1m, helping organisations to increase their impact or sustain their activities. In many cases, absent the support of UCIT, our clients would have struggled to raise the funding necessary to progress their growth ambitions.

“We look forward to further extending our impact in the year ahead and in the process, attract further capital to meet the needs of the community, voluntary and social economy sectors at a time when continuing austerity, slower payment cycles, a difficult economic environment, tighter availability of grant support, increasing costs and ever narrowing margins are combining to challenge sustainability in a growing number of cases.”

One organisation to benefit from UCIT support over the past six years is Blythswood Ireland Ltd.  The charity has received four loans aggregating £683,000.  These have been used to purchase warehousing and to open shops across NI, most recently Ballymoney.  Blythswood Ireland Ltd. currently has 17 full-time employees, four part-time employees and a sizeable volunteer base.

Harry Latimer, Chief Operating Officer at Blythswood Ireland Ltd. commented: “Since 2010 the support we have received from UCIT has been incredible. The loans have eased the pressure on the charity financially and allowed us to focus on providing help to those that need it most here in Northern Ireland and in our overseas projects.

“We currently have seven retail outlets across the eastern region of Northern Ireland.  The latest round of funding from UCIT allowed us to purchase a shop unit in Ballymoney together with an adjoining vacant unit and adjacent ground with planning permission.  In order for us to help more people in need, we need the generosity of people and the support of organisations such as UCIT.”

Lynn Carvill, Chief Executive of WOMEN'STEC is pictured with Harry McDaid, Chief Executive of UCIT and Ray Hutchinson, Managing Director at Gilbert-Ash

WOMEN'S TEC builds on success with loan

Women will be trained in construction and ICT skills to help find employment thanks to a Belfast-based charity. WOMEN'STEC has received a loan from the Ulster Community Investment Trust (UCIT) to help deliver this training.

Women will be trained in construction and ICT skills to help find employment thanks to a Belfast-based charity. WOMEN'STEC has received a loan from the Ulster Community Investment Trust (UCIT) to help deliver this training.

UCIT provides affordable loans to community and social enterprise businesses throughout Northern Ireland and in the Republic of Ireland. As a registered charity, all profits generated are retained and recycled for the benefit of its clients.

WOMEN'S TEC began 21 years ago and is the largest provider of training for women in non-traditional skills in Ireland. The charity enables women to return to employment in non-traditional sectors, promoting a diverse workforce and reducing the skills shortage in the construction and ICT industries. Currently they employ five staff and engage with numerous self-employed tutors.

Lynn Carvill, Chief Executive of WOMEN'S TEC explained: "The charity was set up to support women in areas of high deprivation, giving them the skills and confidence to get back into employment in decent paid jobs.

"Our last programme ended in March and has yielded fantastic results. More than 400 women obtained qualifications, 80 went on to further education, 43 went into employment, 42 went into voluntary work and 13 became self-employed.

"The loan from UCIT not only allowed us to finish our current programme but helped develop our new one. We will be working with Clanmil Housing residents and have engaged with construction companies such as Gilbert-Ash to help deliver a whole new level of training to women."

She continued: "There are exciting times ahead for WOMEN'S TEC, creating and developing partnerships with the private sector. Our goal is to keep reaching into communities and helping women develop the skills to find employment. We currently work across Belfast but want to eventually work beyond that."

Speaking of UCIT's backing for the project, she said: "UCIT have been extremely supportive of our work. Our case worker Sinead was very professional and helped us through a difficult time. I can't speak highly enough of UCIT and the amazing support they've gave us."

Harry McDaid, Chief Executive of UCIT commented: "With funding for training courses and apprenticeships in decline, WOMEN'S TEC is offering an alternative way for women to find employment. Northern Ireland is facing a significant shortage of skilled workers particularly in the construction and ICT sectors. UCIT itself is a learning organisation and we see it as our responsibility to allow others the opportunity to gain new skills and in the process enhance their employability. We are proud to support WOMEN'S TEC to enable them to upskill women and thus give them better opportunities to find employment in non-traditional sectors."

Ray Hutchinson, Managing Director of Gilbert-Ash commented: "We are pleased to be able to partner with WOMEN'S TEC on their latest programme. The training and opportunities they are providing to local women are invaluable and partnering with them was a natural fit. We look forward to developing our partnership further and helping local women find employment in the construction sector."

Since its foundation, UCIT has committed in excess of £50m to over 300 charities, community / voluntary organisations and social enterprises.

£3.8 million
Invested in Sports Clubs

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UCIT Directors

Dermot McGale Chair
Retired Regional Director of First Trust Bank
Seamus McAleavey Vice-Chair
Chief Executive of NICVA
Dr Arthur Mitchell MBE
Company Secretary Founder Trustee / Director of Mourne Heritage Trust
Thelma Armstrong MBE
Sub Board member of Choice Housing Association
Erskine Holmes OBE
Elected member of NI Council Co-operative Group
Jim Malone
Director/Founder Member of Ardee Community Development Company
Alan Moneypenny
Former Vice-Chair of Sport NI
Damian McAteer
Director of Waterside Development Trust
Michael McGarrigle
Secretary of Council for the West
Douglas McIldoon
Secretary of NI Co-operative Forum
Seamus O’Prey
Chief Executive of ORTUS Group
 

Community Finance (Ireland) Directors

Dermot McGale Chair
Retired Regional Director of First Trust Bank
Henry Brennan
Business Consultant and Certified Accountant
Paddy Harte
Lecturing and Economic and Social Development Advisor
Kevin Helferty
Director of Buncrana Credit Union Ltd
Jim Malone
Director/Founder Member of Ardee Community Development Company
Dr Arthur Mitchell MBE
Founder Trustee/ Director of Mourne Heritage Trust
Alan Moneypenny
Former Vice-Chair of Sport N.I
Michael McGarrigle
Secretary of Council for the West
Seamus O’Prey
Chief Executive of ORTUS Group
Andrew Ward
Joint CEO Inishowen Development Partnership

Community Finance (Ireland) Staff

Donal Traynor Associate Director
Marie Carpenter Office Administrator
Robert Quinn Client Relationship Executive
Rose Hally Client Relationship Executive


Download and view our latest reports

Social Impact & Financial Highlights Report 2015

Social Impact & Financial Highlights Report 2014

UCIT is a member of the UK Community Development Finance Association (CDFA). As a member of the CDFA, UCIT must comply to the CDFA Code of Practice.

A copy of our Code of Practice compliance can be found by clicking below

Code of Practice


Membership of Ulster Community Investment Trust (UCIT) offers you the opportunity to be part of an exciting and progressive financial institution that is committed to breaking new ground in developing financial solutions for the social economy sector.

As an Industrial and Provident Society, UCIT offers membership by way of share acquisition with a minimum subscription of £250 Sterling (or the Euro equivalent).

A copy of our membership form can be found by clicking below

Membership Form