Unity Trust Bank supports a thousand people with new eco-complex in Scotland
Published by Sarah Gilbert for Unity Trust Bank in Care and Support and also in Communities, Environment, Health
Unity Trust Bank, the specialist bank for the social economy, has backed a Scottish social firm ensuring employment for hundreds and support for at least a thousand. Forth Sector was able to invest in a 25,000 sq ft state-of-the-art enterprise and employment centre in Edinburgh thanks to a £475,000 loan and £100,000 overdraft from Unity Trust Bank.
Forth Sector provides training, support and employment to people with mental health conditions, physical or learning disabilities, to increase employability. This new facility will be the home for three of Forth Sector’s businesses - a commercial laundry, a soap making business and a commercial embroidery company. The businesses, along with training and support facilities, are housed in an ‘eco’ complex in Edinburgh known as Duddingston Yards. At least 60% of staff in the businesses are disadvantaged because of health issues or disabilities. The recent loan and overdraft will help the organisation increase its workforce by about 50% and double the amount of people it supports overall.
Gordon Allan, Relationship Manager in Scotland for Unity Trust Bank, said: "Social firms do a crucial job in working with people who have a disability and others who are furthest from the labour market. We are extremely pleased that Unity Trust Bank could be involved in bringing the new complex to life."
Mike Finlayson, CEO of Forth Sector said he was impressed with Unity’s interest in social enterprise and in the organisation. He said: "They were different because they wanted a proper, supportive, relationship and took a real interest in what we were doing. And, their rates were competitive.”
“We give hundreds of people training and support each year and this facility will mean we can do even more. By providing people with work experience, training and support in real commercial businesses their chances of securing a job are increased significantly. In the process, their self-confidence grows, they achieve greater social inclusion; their health, wellbeing and finances improve and their families and carers benefit.”
The firm, founded 1981, ensures its success by providing excellent service to its customers. Sally le Bert-Francis, owner of the Edinburgh Holiday Accommodation company, has used Forth Sector's St Jude's Laundry for a number of years and has recently started using Forth Sector's Scottish Soapworks company which creates handmade cosmetics. She came to the social firm when her existing laundry service was putting its costs up while quality went down. She said: "We looked at a few companies, but when St Jude's came to meet us we were impressed. We deal with 33 properties and they provide a very good service for us, and their social mission is an added bonus."
Gordon Allan said: “Forth Sector is an excellent example of a company thinking beyond profits and giving sustainable support to the community. Along with the many permanent jobs, 150 training placements are to be created in year one. This reflects Unity Trust Bank’s own passion to create opportunities for young people and more generally to ensure we support organisations delivering social impact in their communities.”
Notes to editors
Unity Trust Bank
Unity Trust Bank is a specialist bank for civil society, social enterprises, CICs, councils, and trade unions. It supports customers with socially responsible banking services. And because it is a social enterprise in its own right, the bank understands the sectors its customers work in.
For more information, visit: www.unity.co.uk
Forth Sector provides a bridge to employment for people with mental health conditions, physical or learning disabilities.
For more information, visit forthsector.org.uk
For further information, please contact Unity Trust Bank PR consultants:
Anna Hollis: firstname.lastname@example.org / 020 8533 8893 / 07779 603 538
Hannah Cambridge: email@example.com / 020 8533 8893