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Privacy Notice

Privacy Notice

We have endeavoured to take all precautions necessary under the EU General Data Protection Regulations in order to protect the data which we process.

Who we are

 ‘We’ are Ulster Community Investment Trust Ltd, a Community Benefit Society registered at 13-19 Linenhall Street, Belfast, BT2 8AA, registration number IP0000374.

Visitors to our websites

Our website is for promotional purposes, we do not collect personal information.

Cookies are small text files that a website transfers to a site visitor’s hard disk or browser for added functionality, or for tracking website usage.  We do not use cookies to gather personal information such as a person’s name or email address.  In order to measure the effectiveness of our online presence, we may use cookies to identify repeat visitors to our site and to determine the path visitors take on our site.  Any information gathered by the use of cookies is compiled on an aggregate, anonymous basis.

Use of cookies is an industry standard and many websites use them.  If you do not wish to receive cookies, or want to be notified of when they are placed, you can set your webs browser to do so, if your browser so permits.

Social Media

We use the following social media platforms: Facebook and Twitter. When you contact us through these platforms, including via private message, you should be aware that these platforms may collect your data. Please refer the individual service providers’ Privacy Policies (linked) for more information.

Website security and performance

We use a third-party service to help maintain the security and performance of our website. To deliver this service it processes the IP addresses of visitors to our website.

People who call us

When you call our offices we do not automatically record caller identification details.

People who email us

Any email sent to us, including any attachments, may be monitored and used by us for reasons of security and for monitoring compliance with office policy. Email monitoring or blocking software may also be used. Please be aware that you have a responsibility to ensure that any email you send to us is within the bounds of the law.

Any information you provide to us, including in any footer or attachments, in an email may be used in conjunction with any of our stated business purposes. If you do not intend this to happen, you must make clear to us your expectations.

We do not encrypt emails as a matter of policy.

People who make a complaint to us

We take any complaints we receive very seriously. We encourage people to bring it to our attention if they think that our collection or use of information is unfair, misleading or inappropriate. When we receive a complaint we make up a report containing the details of the complaint, which we sometimes term a ‘non-conformance’. This normally contains the identity of the complainant and any other individuals involved in the complaint. We will only use the personal information we collect to process the complaint and to check on the level of service we provide.

We will keep personal information related to complaints for 7 years.

Job applicants, current and former employees

When individuals apply to work with us, we will only use the information they supply to us to process their application and to monitor recruitment statistics. Where we want to disclose information to a third party, for example where we want to take up a reference or obtain a ‘disclosure’ from the Criminal Records Bureau we will not do so without informing them beforehand unless the disclosure is required by law.

Personal information about unsuccessful candidates will be held for 12 months after the recruitment exercise has been completed; it will then be destroyed or deleted. We may retain anonymised statistical information about applicants to help inform our recruitment activities, but no individuals are identifiable from that data.

Your rights

You have fundamental rights over the data you share with us. These are explained in detail in the Information Commissioners Website, and we are committed to making it as simple as possible for you to exercise them.

  • You may exercise your right to access, erasure or rectification by contacting us to make the request. We encourage you to complete and return a Subject Access Request form, but you may choose to make the request in another format.
  • You have the right to request copies of your data, which we will provide in a suitable format.
  • You have the right not to be subject to an automated decision which may have a significant impact on you.
  • You have the right to object to our processing your data, and if you are unsatisfied with our response complain to the ICO

Our purpose for collecting data

We have to hold the details of the people who contact us in relation to our products and services in order to provide them. However, we only use these details to provide the service the person has requested and for closely-related purposes. Any personal data relating to you will be used and recorded by us in accordance with current data protection legislation and this privacy statement.

For example, we might use information about people who have purchased our products / services to carry out a survey to find out if they are happy with the level of service they received.

If we intend to do anything else with your data we will inform you at the point of consent.

The lawful basis upon which we will collect and store your data is:

  • Explicit Consent – You have agreed that your personal data will be processed.  You have the right to withdraw this consent at any time
  • Contractual necessity – Your personal data will be processed because it is necessary in order to enter into or perform a contract with you
  • Compliance with legal obligations – Your personal data will be processed on the basis that we have a legal obligation to perform such processing

To protect your data we have put in place security precautions which include but are not limited to:

  • Physical and administrative security measures at our offices
  • Firewalls and continuously updated anti-virus programmes
  • Encrypted storage

Our company data is stored in the following locations:

  • On servers in our office in Northern Ireland
  • Across several sites connected by a secure communications system
  • By a secure cloud storage provider with data centres in the European Union.

For the purposes of GDPR, we are resident in the United Kingdom, and regulated by the Information Commissioner’s Office. We do not carry out any data processing outside of the EEA; if that changes, we will inform you.

We do not share data with third parties, other than those whose services we use for social media, payroll, etc. Where we transfer any data to a third party we have put in place all necessary controls to ensure the protection of privacy.

Your data, including the records of any transaction you make with us, will be stored in accordance with our retention policy, and depending upon the nature of the record. For example, financial records will be retained for 7 years as this is common practice.

If you have any questions about us or how we handle your data, please contact us at info@ucitltd.com

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A Youth Engagement Support programme for young people with learning needs at Lurgan YMCA. UCIT provided the organisation with funding to assist them to develop sustainable income streams

About us

Ulster Community Investment Trust (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 subsidiary 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

Read more about the impact UCIT funding is having by visiting our Client Map to see how your local charities and community organisations are using UCIT loans to make a bigger impact.

 

In the video below, David Hunter describes how UCIT assisted Clearer Water with the funding necessary to grow the business and provide further opportunities for adults with learning disability/difficulties or other disadvantage.

 

385 community
Projects funded

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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.

Loan Calculator

 

Building Better Futures 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 jointly funded by Building Change Trust, Belfast Charitable Society and 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. Belfast Charitable Society was established in 1752 to tackle disadvantage and poverty and in doing so it built the Poor House and Belfast's first Infirmary, which remains as Clifton House. Today, the Society continues to work to tackle disadvantage and promote philanthropy while sharing its vast heritage with others.

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

     

£2.5 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

£15.4 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.

 

Slane and District Mens Shed

“Slane and District Mens Shed has found dealing with Community Finance Ireland to be a very positive and helpful experience. As part of its development, SDMS required a combination of bridging and funding. This transaction took place with friendliness and efficiency and with a minimum of fuss. We can highly recommend Community Finance Ireland.”

Pat Doyle, Joint Treasurer

 

Roar and Explore

UCIT supported the Ortus Group with the funding to create a soft play area at Dairy Farm Shopping Centre branded "Roar and Explore". The funding has helped to create 14 new jobs.

Greater Shantallow Community Arts

“Greater Shantallow Community Arts originated in 1999 with the purpose of providing alternatives for young people to engage in the arts through programmes incorporating and engaging all sections of the community. We are based in one of the constantly top ranked 10 % of the most deprived communities in Northern Ireland. Last year, we opened our newly refurbished Studio 2 Arts premises and we are building strongly in terms of service users and classes available.
In the interim period we required a bridging loan to offset our capital refurbishment overspends and we approached UCIT for assistance. We were delighted with their support, advice and financial assistance which is helping promote the long term sustainability of our services and for this we are deeply appreciative.” Ollie Green, Artistic Director, Greater Shantallow Community Arts/Studio 2
 

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

£2.2 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

 

Our Subsidiary Company Community Finance Ireland Receives An All Star Accreditation for Customer Excellence

We were delighted to hear that Community Finance Ireland achieved a quality mark signifying they meet the highest standards of service and trust.

They were awarded the coveted All-Ireland Business All-Star accreditation at an event held in Dublin  earlier this month. Pictured is Donal Traynor Associate Director Community Finance Ireland with Kapil Khann Managing Director All Ireland Business Foundation. This is an independently verified standard mark for indigenous businesses, based on rigorous selection criteria.

The accreditation, overseen by the prestigious All-Ireland Business Foundation, whose adjudication panel is chaired by Dr Briga Hynes of the Kemmy Business School at the University of Limerick and Kieran Ring, CEO of the Global Institute of Logistics. Dr Hynes said the accreditation, now held by over 350 firms, is needed by the thousands of small and medium businesses, which operate to their own standards, but have nothing to measure them by. “We evaluate a company’s background, trustworthiness and performance, and we speak to customers, employees and vendors,” she said.

“We also anonymously approach the company as a customer and report back on the experience.The business goes through at least two interviews and is scored on every part of the process against set metrics.”

The All-Ireland Business Foundation is responsible for overseeing the All-Ireland Business Summit and All-Star awards, ongoing All-Star accreditation, Thought Leader awards and promoting peer dialogue among members.

Donal Traynor on receiving the award says:

“We are a people business. We are delighted that this recognition offers us a platform to reach more people and to continue to raise awareness of Community Finance Ireland. Thank you to Enterprise NI and to Clear Water both of whom spoke to the judges and to the foundation for welcoming us to this professional group”

For more information check out Community Finance Ireland's profile on the Business All Star Awards website.

 

Our Subsidiary Company Community Finance Ireland Receives An All Star Accreditation for Customer Excellence

We were delighted to hear that Community Finance Ireland achieved a quality mark signifying they meet the highest standards of service and trust.

They were awarded the coveted All-Ireland Business All-Star accreditation at an event held in Dublin  earlier this month.

Pictured is Donal Traynor Associate Director Community Finance Ireland with Kapil Khann Managing Director All Ireland Business Foundation.

This is an independently verified standard mark for indigenous businesses, based on rigorous selection criteria.

The accreditation, overseen by the prestigious All-Ireland Business Foundation, whose adjudication panel is chaired by Dr Briga Hynes of the Kemmy Business School at the University of Limerick and Kieran Ring, CEO of the Global Institute of Logistics. Dr Hynes said the accreditation, now held by over 350 firms, is needed by the thousands of small and medium businesses, which operate to their own standards, but have nothing to measure them by. “We evaluate a company’s background, trustworthiness and performance, and we speak to customers, employees and vendors,” she said.

“We also anonymously approach the company as a customer and report back on the experience.The business goes through at least two interviews and is scored on every part of the process against set metrics.”

The All-Ireland Business Foundation is responsible for overseeing the All-Ireland Business Summit and All-Star awards, ongoing All-Star accreditation, Thought Leader awards and promoting peer dialogue among members.

Donal Traynor on receiving the award says:

“We are a people business. We are delighted that this recognition offers us a platform to reach more people and to continue to raise awareness of Community Finance Ireland. Thank you to Enterprise NI and to Clear Water both of whom spoke to the judges and to the foundation for welcoming us to this professional group”

For more information check out Community Finance Ireland's profile on the Business All Star Awards website.

 

Funding boost for Arts- based Social Enterprise

A unique social enterprise in Derry is offering art and wellbeing programmes for people with severe physical, sensory and learning disabilities in order to enable them to develop holistically and
to provide them with essential job skills. Each week over 200 people are benefitting from daycare and multisensory programmes at Artspace.
 
Artspace opened in April 2012 and has now received a £30,000 loan from the Building Better Futures Fund. The additional funding has allowed Artspace to redevelop new facilities in Campsie industrial estate.
 
The £1m Building Better Futures fund was launched in 2017 and is a unique collaboration between Ulster Community Investment Trust (UCIT), Belfast Charitable Society, and Building Change Trust. The fund, which provides support in the way of a loan, is aimed at community-based groups seeking to make a positive difference to society across Northern Ireland.
Artspace currently provides employment for 13 staff. Martina Bell is the founder and Managing Director of the business. Following 20 years working in mental health care, Martina took voluntary redundancy in 2011 and established the social enterprise to help support the local community.
 
Martina said: “Our art and wellbeing programmes stimulate and develop participant’s self-esteem. Participants learn to engage with other people and build job skills that could help them secure future employment.  Each person gets a tailored programme and we’ve partnered with the Northern Regional College to offer yoga and IT skill classes.   
 
“We recently moved to a 20,000 sq. ft. premises and the Building Better Futures Fund has allowed us to further develop our facility so that we can cater for a greater number of people. Our goal is to have the largest multisensory room on the island of Ireland. We also want to create an immersive suite and install a gym facility.”
 
Damian McAteer, Vice Chair of UCIT, which manages the fund and is one of the UK’s largest social finance providers, said: “Artspace is a unique social enterprise that is providing an essential service to the local community. At a time when budget cuts to our health service are well-documented, Martina has identified a growing need for additional support to people who are being excluded from day opportunities as a result of their disability.
 
“This new facility will ensure Artspace has the resources necessary to continue its upward growth and we’re delighted to support an organisation that demonstrates such a clear positive social impact.” 
 
Belfast Charitable Society was established in 1752 to tackle disadvantage and poverty, building a Poor House and Belfast’s first Infirmary which remain as Clifton House. Today the Society continues to work to tackle disadvantage throughout Northern Ireland and promote philanthropy while sharing its heritage with others.
 
The third partner in the Fund, Building Change Trust was established by the Big Lottery Fund (now National Lottery Community Fund) to help build community capacity and the promotion of the voluntary and community sector in Northern Ireland.  The Trust, having completed its remit, closed operations in December 2018.  
 
Further information about the fund is available by contacting the UCIT team on 028 9031 5003 

Visit by the European Federation of Ethical and Alternative Banks

The European Federation of Ethical and Alternative Banks and Financiers (FEBEA) held a board meeting for the first time on the island of Ireland. The federation, which represents 28 European social finance institutions with assets totaling €30bn, was invited by the Ulster Community Investment Trust (UCIT Group), its only UK and Irish member.

In addition to learning more about UCIT Group’s business model the FEBEA Board also visited a customer who received UCIT funding to support projects including the Enler Complex in Ballybeen and Bryson Street Surgery.

FEBEA Chairman, Pedro Manuel Sasia Santos, said: 

"Northern Ireland has a vibrant social enterprise sector and UCIT has an exceptionally strong community focus in areas such as sport and faith-based initiatives which many of our members are interested in replicating."

Pictured with Mr Santos are Wlodzimierz Grudzinski, FEBEA’s Vice Chairman and Harry McDaid, UCIT Group’s Chief Executive.

Take a look at the video that highlights this unique visit: https://spark.adobe.com/video/8wBH9HTB7ca6N

 

UCIT is delighted to be supporting this year’s CO3 Leadership Awards

Nominations are being sought for the people who do the most to make Northern Ireland a better place. 
 
Nominations are being sought for the people who do the most to make Northern Ireland a better place. 
 
Launching the annual CO3 leadership awards, which celebrate the achievements of Northern Ireland’s charity bosses, CO3 Chief Executive Nora Smith said: “Charities are by definition in the business of doing good. Collectively they work with the most vulnerable people in our society, transforming lives, providing hope and promoting the public good.” 
 
“This is a chance for people to nominate those leaders who have done the most to make Northern Ireland a better place.” 
 
“We’re looking for leaders who inspire, who innovate, who provide the best leadership, those who have transformed their organisations and the best social entrepreneurs.” 
She added that in a time of austerity and uncertainty the work of charities was now the bedrock for many peoples’ lives. 
 
Phelim Sharvin, Associate Director of Ulster Community Investment Trust (UCIT), said “The CO3 Awards have proven to be a huge success and provide a platform to showcase the strong leadership evident within our sector. UCIT are very proud to be sponsoring the Social Entrepreneurial Leader Award and supporting leadership in the Third Sector. As a leader our-selves, in social finance, we recognise the importance of new thinking to drive the continued success of the sector.”
 
Nominations are now open for the awards. Winners will be announced at a black tie dinner at the La Mon House Hotel on March 26, 2020. Award winners will gain a place on a three-day leadership development programme in Sweden, where they can learn from and share with their Swedish peers. 
 
The ceremony will be preceded by CO3’s annual conference which will be hosted by broadcaster Wendy Austin. This year will be the theme: “Why?” exploring fundamental questions about the nature of charities and the business of doing good. For more information regarding the Conference and Awards contact CO3 at: info@co3.bz
 
 
 
 
 

Save the Date! Social Enterprise NI Annual Conference 2020 in Partnership with UCIT

UCIT is delighted to announce that it is the principal partner for the Social Enterprise NI Annual Conference 2020.

Speaking of the new partnership, Colin Jess, Director, Social Enterprise NI said “We at Social Enterprise NI are delighted to enter a formal agreement with UCIT to be the principle partner of our Annual Conference. In recent years UCIT have supported us in the sponsorship of the very popular ‘Dragon’s Den’ part of our conference and to have them as our principle partner now shows their commitment to our conference and indeed our sector”.

Phelim Sharvin, Associate Director, UCIT added, “UCIT are delighted to commit to a longer term partnership agreement with Social Enterprise NI, which builds on the Awards Sponsorship and the successful UCIT 'Dragons Den' event. As the primary Social Finance provider in the province, we feel this is a great opportunity to further develop our relationship with Social Enterprise NI and create a stronger representation of our vibrant and thriving sector”.

The conference will take place on Thursday 27th February 2020 in Crumlin Road Gaol, Belfast. For further information contact amanda@socialenterpriseni.org #SENICONF20

 

 

Building Better Futures Fund Supports An Tobar Community Wellness Centre

An innovative social enterprise in Silverbridge, south Armagh, is using horticulture to improve the wellbeing of the local community.
Every week up to 400 people, including schoolchildren, adults with learning difficulties and dementia patients, are benefitting from programmes at An Tobar Community Wellness Centre and Social Farm.
Opened just last year, the centre has now received a £30,000 loan from the Building Better Futures Fund to improve access and disabled facilities, expand its services and support the planting of 13,000 trees in a new community woodland.
 
The £1m Building Better Futures fund was launched in 2017 and is a unique collaboration between Belfast Charitable Society, Ulster Community Investment Trust (UCIT) and Building Change Trust. The fund, which provides support in the way of a loan, is aimed at community-based groups seeking to make a positive difference to society across Northern Ireland.
 
The founders of An Tobar have been running a garden centre in Silverbridge since the 1980s, but after thirty years in business they realized they could use their horticultural skills to benefit the local community. With six full time staff and ten volunteers, An Tobar is now providing educational gardening programmes in 11 local schools, social farming services for Southern Health & Social Care Trust, therapeutic horticulture for elderly people and work placements for adults with learning difficulties.  They also provide a range of nature based programmes for groups including Sure Start South Armagh, Carers Trust, Newry & Mourne Alzheimer’s Society and the WALD Centre, Cullyhanna. 
 
Kathleen Agnew / Finnegan, who founded An Tobar with her sister Margaret, said:
“After several decades of working in a commercial background we reached a stage in our lives where we wanted to do something that would benefit the local community. We always knew that working outdoors with nature had great therapeutic potential, but we have been genuinely amazed at how it has helped people reintegrate with the community and regain their confidence. The demand for services keeps growing and growing; we are really busy, but we’re loving every minute.
“Initially we sought funding from High Street banks, but they just didn’t have the flexibility to accommodate our business model. The Building Better Futures Fund embraced the concept from the outset.  We’re now in a position to significantly enhance our facilities and plan for our next phase of growth.”
 
Jonathan Evans, one of An Tobar’s Social Farming participants said:
‘’I love coming here every week. It is my favorite place to go.  I love working with the animals on the farm and doing gardening work.’’  
 
Paula Reynolds, CEO of Belfast Charitable Society, one of the charities behind the Fund, added:
“We are delighted that the Fund can help such initiatives. An Tobar uses local natural beauty and resources to engage and help so many people improve their health and mindfulness. In doing so it plays a significant role in the local community at a time when there is a greater emphasis on finding practical responses to improving individual and community health and wellbeing. We wish them every success in the future.”
 
Social Farming is a relatively new concept to Northern Ireland which uses agriculture to promote therapy, rehabilitation, social inclusion, education and social services.  At present An Tobar’s social farm gives adults an opportunity to feed cattle, cut timber, grow vegetables and flowers, and take part in other day-to-day farming tasks. The funding from Building Better Futures will help provide pigs, hens and chicken coops to further add to the experience.
 
An Tobar is one of many beneficiaries that have received a share of the £1m Building Better Futures initiative which provides funding for a wide range of purposes including buildings and repairs, equipment purchase, energy efficiency and addressing shortfalls in larger grant assisted projects. The fund is managed by the Ulster Community Investment Trust (UCIT), which operates a number of funds that have supported over 600 charities and community organisations with loan commitments totaling £90m since 2001. The third partner in the Fund, Building Change Trust was established in 2008 as part of a 10-year, £10m strategy to help develop Northern Ireland's voluntary and community sector by 2018.  The Trust was established thanks to the investment from the Big Lottery (now National Lottery Community Fund).  The Building Change Trust, having completed its remit, closed operations in December 2018.
Further information regarding the Fund is available by contacting UCIT on 028 9031 5003.

UCIT has unveiled its Impact Report for 2018

To view some of the remarkable projects that we supported last year, download our report HERE

To view some of the remarkable projects that we supported last year, download our report HERE

Skin Care Clinic boosts capacity with funding from NI Small Business Loan Fund

A Belfast-based skin clinic that works with some of America’s largest cosmetic brands has increased capacity and revenues by 27% with the purchase of a new medical grade laser.
Two new jobs have also been created following a £25,000 loan from the Northern Ireland Small Business Loan Fund (NISBLF).
 
The Fund is managed by Ulster Community Finance (UCF) on behalf of Invest Northern Ireland and delivered in partnership with Enterprise Northern Ireland. UCF is a subsidiary of the social finance organisation Ulster Community Investment Trust (UCIT).
 
Beyond Skin Clinic was set up in 2016 and currently provides employment for seven people. The clinic offers a range of treatments including hair removal, laser skin rejuvenation, microneedling and non-surgical cosmetic enhancements. The business also works with several leading cosmeceutical brands such as Dermaquest, Obagi, Skinceuticals and Epionce.
 
Jennie Wallace, Managing Director of Beyond Skin Clinic, said: “The funding from the Small Business Loan Fund has allowed us to purchase an additional Cynosure medical grade laser, and invest in staff training. As a result we’ve expanded our treatment range, increased capacity and reduced waiting time for appointments. 
 
“The clinic has a wide range of clients but we’re finding more young people coming in to be educated on how to maintain healthy skin. People don’t want long recovery times after treatments and we find a lot of our clients are able to pop into us on their lunch break and go straight back to work.” 
 
She added: “By understanding the needs of an increasingly diverse city we have been able to stay at the forefront of aesthetic innovation and enjoy steady, sustainable growth.”
 
Harry McDaid, CEO of UCIT, said: “Beyond Skin Clinic is a good example of a small business with great potential. The importance of maintaining healthy skin has been well documented and we’re delighted to be able to provide necessary funding to a business that has much to offer in the local area.”  
 
The NI Small Business Loan Fund provides loans up to £100,000 to small businesses, sole traders and partnerships keen to develop their business. Start-up businesses can obtain initial loans up to £15,000. The Fund is part of Invest Northern Ireland’s Access to Finance Portfolio. 
 

UCIT launches dedicated £2 Million Fund for Churches and Faith groups

A new £2m fund has been launched by the Ulster Community Investment Trust (UCIT) to assist church groups and faith-based organisations across Northern Ireland.

St. James’ Church of Ireland in Moy has invested £657,000 to redevelop the Parish’s church hall and is the first recipient of the new Fund.  UCIT provided a loan of £250,000 towards the final costs.  
 
Alan Moneypenny, Chairman of UCIT, said: 
 
“St James’ Parish Hall is situated in the heart of Moy village and attracts up to 250 people a week.  The church is an essential lifeline for many in the community and offers many outreach projects such as a youth club, toddler groups and sporting activities. 
 
“UCIT are delighted to assist the Parish with the tasteful renovation of the 19th century building, improving access, catering facilities and installing a new heating system.”
 
He added: “UCIT can provide churches and faith- based organisations with tailored, flexible finance which takes into account the needs of the sector.  As a registered charity all profits generated by UCIT are retained and recycled for the benefit of its clients. There has already been strong interest in our new Faith Fund and this demonstrates the need for additional funding in the sector.”
 
John White, Glebe Warden and Project Manager, said: 
 
“Our church hall has been in critical need of repair for a long time. The loan from UCIT has enabled the Parish to create a modern fully accessible facility.  This new hall will help us maintain and build on the valuable work carried out within the area.
 
“The launch of the new Fund is welcome news for the sector and we were impressed by UCIT’s responsiveness, flexibility and competitive rates”
 
The new Faith Fund will provide loans of £5,000+ for purposes such as, refurbishments, extensions, purchase of equipment and restructuring existing debt. 
 
UCIT has supported in excess of 400 community organisations, charities and social enterprises with loan commitments totalling over £80 million. These include other Churches and Faith-based organisations such as the Elim Trust Corporation which received funding to assist with affordable housing and childcare projects in Newtownabbey and Carryduff. 
 
In many instances the community projects would not have been possible without the flexible, but professional approach adopted by the Trust in its lending.  
 

Building Better Futures Loan Fund enables Healthy Kidz to invest in growth

Healthy Kidz CIC is an innovative fitness initiative aiming to give physical literacy the same level of importance as academic literacy on the School curriculum.
Initially spearheaded by Tannaghmore Primary School, Lurgan, the project was aimed at promoting pupils to take part in regular physical activity. Interest in the project has grown rapidly since its foundation with 86 schools throughout Northern Ireland and 10,000 pupils already participating weekly.  
 
To meet this growing demand the organisation has accessed support from the Building Better Futures Fund to provide working capital to assist with initial running costs, allowing the organisation to invest in growth and increase revenue generation.
 
Community and voluntary organisations, charities and social enterprises can access loans through the Building Better Futures scheme which has been created and funded through a partnership between three leading local charities - Building Change Trust, Belfast Charitable Society and Ulster Community Investment Trust (UCIT). 
 
Building Change Trust was established in 2008 by the Big Lottery Fund with an endowment of £10million as an investment for community capacity building and promotion of the voluntary and community sector in Northern Ireland. Belfast Charitable Society was established in 1752 to tackle disadvantage and poverty and in doing so it built the Poor House and Belfast’s first Infirmary, which remains as Clifton House. 
 
The £1 Million fund which is being managed by UCIT provides small unsecured loans of £1,000 - £25,000 which cannot currently be raised from traditional sources. 
 
Kevin Creery of Healthy Kidz explained that the programme has become so successful they now employ nine full time coaches as well as 16 part time coaches. The aim is to get local firms on board and more investment as the company expands across Ireland. The initiative comes at a time in Northern Ireland when our young people's interest and engagement in physical activity is the lowest in the UK and the worst in history while levels of obesity and diabetes continue to rise. 
 
Children have various strands of fitness goals including access to an App which allows them to follow their progress.
 
Building Better Futures 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. Further information about the scheme is available by contacting Ulster Community Investment Trust (UCIT) on 028 9031 5003.
 
£6.9 million
Invested in Sports Clubs

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UCIT Directors

Alan Moneypenny Chair
Chair of Finance and Audit committee, Riverside Theatre
Damian McAteer Vice-Chair
Director of Waterside Development Trust
Erskine Holmes OBE
Elected member of NI Council Co-operative Group
Jim Malone
Director/Founder Member of Ardee Community Development Company
Michael McGarrigle
Secretary of Council for the West
Douglas McIldoon
Secretary of NI Co-operative Forum
Seamus O’Prey
Chief Executive of ORTUS Group
Ian McAvoy
Chair, Playboard
Martin Stroud
Board Member of Ulster Waterways
Anthony Barbour
Board Member, NI Co-operative Forum
Audrey Murray MBE
Business Development Manager, LEDCOM
William Patterson
Chairman, Farset International
Gary McQuoid
Director at Extern Ireland, NOW Group, Francina Foundation and GJJA Associates Limited.

Community Finance (Ireland) Directors

Alan Moneypenny Chair
Chair of Finance and Audit committee, Riverside Theatre
Michael McGarrigle Vice Chair
Secretary of Council for the West
Kevin Helferty
Director of Buncrana Credit Union Ltd
Jim Malone
Director/Founder Member of Ardee Community Development Company
William Patterson
Director of Farset Development Ltd.
Seamus O’Prey
Chief Executive of ORTUS Group
Andrew Ward
Joint CEO Inishowen Development Partnership

Community Finance (Ireland) Staff

Donal Traynor Associate Director
Lita Notte Group Marketing Manager
Terri Martin Office Administrator
Barry Symes Client Relationship Executive
Rose Hally Client Relationship Executive
Fiona Hughes Client Relationship Executive


Download and view our latest reports

Social Impact & Financial Highlights Report 2018

Social Impact & Financial Highlights Report 2017

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