Finance Team of the Year – NatWest Social & Community Capital
What does the team do?
NatWest Social & Community Capital (S&CC) offers lending to social enterprises and community businesses that are unable to access mainstream finance. A small team with just three permanent staff, in the past five years S&CC has approved more than £10m in loans to more than 80 organisations throughout the UK.
What did it achieve?
During the pandemic economic and social instability made it significantly harder for businesses to service existing loans or take on additional repayable finance. The S&CC team set out to support existing customers to weather the storm through repayment holidays and individualised support, and created a brand new grant to provide emergency funding to new customers.
The S&CC Coronavirus Response Grant was developed in less than four weeks, with £1m in grants offered to social enterprises and trading charities that employ people from disadvantaged or vulnerable groups. Despite the small size of the team and the scale of the task, S&CC was able to persuade trustees that the grant should be designed and managed within the charity. Managing the fund in-house meant that all of the available capital went directly to the grant recipients, and the S&CC team was able to offer additional advice and support to customers.
Why did it win?
S&CC lending has supported over 48,000 people across the UK, creating or maintaining more than 1,000 jobs across 81 groups. The grant received almost 400 applicants and funds were offered to 33 organisations. As well as securing jobs for staff – many of whom are from disadvantaged groups themselves – the grant enabled many services to continue in a time when they were needed most. The Watford Sheltered Workshop, for example, was able to continue to provide paid employment, work experience and training opportunities to adults with disabilities.
What did the judges say?
“The team played a key role in providing timely and vital grant support from the company to charities during an unprecedented crisis – setting a good example to others.”
- Prism the Gift Fund
- The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity