Finance: Triodos agrees £1m loan to fund cancer centre building work

Triodos Bank has agreed terms on a £1m loan to the Bristol Cancer Help Centre towards its construction of a new national treatment centre.

The money will bring forward by two years the completion of the centre, on the site of a former hospital in the city.

The centre will combine medical treatment with complementary therapies, self-help techniques to reduce stress and advice on healthy eating and lifestyle. Two thousand people with cancer will be able to attend the new centre each year, compared with an average of 800 at its current premises.

Ian Turner, finance director at Bristol Cancer Help Centre, said the charity needed to "put short-term borrowing in place as quickly as possible to enable us to reach as many people with cancer needing our services as soon as possible - but without putting the long-term financial viability of the charity at risk".

The charity has been fundraising in an effort to bring in the money required to build the centre, but it needed the loan to commence construction work. It will continue to fundraise and intends to repay the loan over a period of two years.

Work on the treatment centre is due to be completed by the end of 2006.

There will be 23 purpose-built rooms to deliver complementary therapies such as massage and counselling, compared with just five in the Bristol charity's current location. There will also be a lecture theatre for healthcare professionals and complementary therapists, which will be used for training programmes to generate extra income.

"Among charities, there continues to be some resistance to borrowing money," said Sue Cooper, charity banking specialist at Triodos. "But it offers a real opportunity for some to increase their capacity to make a real difference."

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