Charity Bank heads north

Charity Bank this week signed a £10m deal with a regional development agency to fund a second branch of the bank in the north of England.

The investment, which was made by the agency Yorkshire Forward, will go towards opening a Leeds office to support third sector organisations in the Yorkshire and Humberside area.

Additional funding will be available for the development of 'investment readiness' in organisations that want to make the transition from grant dependency to loans. A number of community enterprises in the region have suffered from cuts to European Union funding.

The scheme has been cleared by Whitehall's Central Project Review Group, and Charity Bank hopes to have the Leeds operation up and running by the autumn. Recruitment for three new staff to work in the office will start in the next few weeks.

"For us it's a very exciting event because it allows us to take a more pro-active approach in a new region," said Malcolm Hayday, chief executive of Charity Bank. "We have wanted to do a big regional development for some time, but in Yorkshire Forward we have found an ideal partner with similar aspirations to ours."

Thea Stein, executive director of economic inclusion at Yorkshire Forward, said: "This is a ground-breaking project for us and will ensure that there are financial instruments in place to help third sector organisations away from grant dependency and into sustainable self-sufficiency."

Stein said Yorkshire Forward would help RDAs in other regions to develop their own resources for third sector groups and make a similar system of funding available across the country.

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