Grow It Yourself
Half a Million people supported to Grow their Own Food.
With its story growing from its Waterford origins to projects right across the UK, Grow It Yourself (GIY) demonstrates how a not-for-profit social enterprise can be a leader in its field.
Less than 15 years since it started, this team are well on their way to the mission of supporting people to grow their own food at home, work, school and in their community.
In 2019 they managed to support over 500,000 people and 8,000 community food groups in the UK and Ireland.
This scale was created as result of opening their own Grow School; where a farm shop, cookery school, a 65-seat café and training gardens are all housed together.
Our collaboration and loan was a key factor to enabling the Grow School to become a reality.
“Social enterprises like GIY can find it difficult to access loan financing, with traditional lenders often struggling to understand a business model that considers income and impact to be of equal importance.
We had an excellent engagement with the Community Finance Ireland team who took the time to really understand what makes our business tick and had insightful contributions to make at all stages.
I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Community Finance Ireland to other social enterprises and not-for-profits.”
Michael Kelly, CEO & Founder, GIY
Miltown Malbay Development CLG
The Annual Willie Clancy Festival gets a Makeover.
Miltown Malbay is known countrywide for hosting of the annual ‘Willie Clancy Festival’. In excess of 5,000 people visit, 1,000 participant and 165 tutors engage in instrument and dance classes, lectures, workshops, recitals and céilis in the town.
All activities operate from the community centre, located on their main street. This event is estimated to bring €3m to the local economy annually.
The team behind the community centre approached us for a loan as part of a blended fund approach taken by many community-based clients. It helped assist the draw down of a Town and Village Renewal Grant and Clare LEADER Grant.
It also supported the completion of the refurbishment of the existing centre. The project will see the community centre upgraded with IT infrastructure and further ancillary services.
Ensuring the Willie Clancy festival goers continue to gather annually and that the festival and its team can continue to grow and flourish.
“In 2019 Miltown Malbay Development Company realised its dream when we completed our €1.4 million re-development of our community centre on time and on budget. This was the culmination of three years hard work. For this to happen several things had to fall in place. Firstly, we needed the full backing of our local community. Secondly, we needed government grants and Clare Local Development Company were outstanding in the level of LEADER grant support. Thirdly, we were fortunate to receive philanthropic donations. Last but not least, we needed the support of Community Finance Ireland for a loan to make up the final piece of the project funding. We had been assured of this early in the project planning and without it we would not have been able to proceed. The advice and support we received from Community Finance Ireland throughout the project was invaluable to us.”
Miltown Committee Members