Charity Hands of Hope has received investment from Kent Community Foundation to increase the capacity of their commercial operations ‘Hope Farm Organics’ helping them move towards long-term sustainability.
Earlier this year Hands of Hope applied to Kent Community Foundation for support from the Kent Social Enterprise Loan Fund (KSELF) to extend their successful fresh produce delivery subscription scheme. Their application for £78,000 was successful and the funding, comprised of a £60,000 repayable loan and an £18,000 non-repayable grant, was made available in October 2022.
Originally launched in July 2021, the Hope Farm Organics Box Scheme is a successful home delivery service, distributing fresh, organic, in-season produce. Profits from the service go back to the charity in support of their aims to tackle food poverty, rural isolation and loneliness, as well as improving physical, mental and environmental health outcomes for communities throughout Rother, Hastings and West Kent.
In 2022 the box subscription scheme had reached its capability and the charity needed help to extend their service. Their plans to increase capacity needed additional finance and they approached Kent Community Foundation under KSELF their blended loan and grant scheme to help increase their growing space from 2.5 to 5 acres, build a thirty-metre glasshouse to extend the growing season, improve refrigeration and parking facilities, undertake minor improvements to double the number of volunteers on site and recruit a full-time commercial manager.
James Doran, Chair and Founder of Hands of Hope, said, “Hope Farm Organics has been a huge success but we quickly reached full capacity and we needed investment to grow. Those who subscribe to Hope Farm Organics not only support our programmes and activities but enable us to continue providing free weekly produce to local food banks. As we face a cost-of-living crisis its vitally important that these services are available for those who need it the most. Applying to Kent Community Foundation for a Kent Social Enterprise Loan was the best route for us and we are delighted to secure a total of £78,000 investment, £18,000 has been awarded to us as a grant and we have five years to repay the loan.”
James Horne, Grants and Social Loans Manager, Kent Community Foundation, said, “The Kent Social Enterprise Loan Fund, has been bridging the funding gap for Kent’s new and existing social enterprises, for ten years by offering unsecured loans of between £10,000 and £100,000. The loan has a flat interest rate of 5% with a split between capital and interest payments remaining fixed throughout the term with the bonus for charitable organisations that the financial package includes an element of up to 30% of the loan amount as a grant.”
To find out more about the Kent Social Enterprise Loan Fund visit www.kentcf.org.uk/loans/social-enterprises or call James Horne, Grants and Social Loans Manager on 01303 814 500.
About Hands of Hope
Set up in 2016, Hands of Hope is developing a neglected walled kitchen garden and twenty-two adjoining acres off AONB land off Moor Hill in Hawkhurst.
The charity aims to
- Provide educational and social activities that use growing and cooking, combined with traditional practices to improve physical and mental and environmental health for communities across Rother, Hastings and West Kent
- Deliver projects aimed at tacking food poverty as well as rural and social isolation
- Provide training opportunities in organic horticulture and heritage rural skills
- Use the natural environment to support life improving accessible programmes by connecting communities to nature and each other
About the Kent Social Enterprise Loan Fund
Kent Social Enterprise Loan Fund, (KSELF) aims to bridge the increasing funding gap for Kent’s new and existing social enterprises, by offering unsecured loans of between £10k and £100k.
KSELF is a blended loan and grant fund, offering unsecured loans to assist new and existing social enterprises. The loan has a fee of 4% of the loan amount, a flat interest rate of 5% with a split between capital and interest payments remaining fixed throughout the term.
The financial package will include an element of up to 30% of the loan amount as a grant. In addition to the funding provided through the Scheme, investment readiness and business support will be provided by Kent Community Foundation’s dedicated Grants and Social Loans Manager throughout the whole process.
The scheme, delivered by Kent Community Foundation, was originally established with funding from Kent County Council in 2012.
About Kent Community Foundation
Grant-maker Kent Community Foundation has been finding, funding, and supporting some of the smallest voluntary organisations in the county for twenty years. In this time, it has distributed over £50 million to support thousands of small charities and deserving causes where a modest sum of money can make a significant impact.
They are part of a UK wide accredited network of forty-seven Community Foundations who are committed to improving the lives of local people and communities, particularly the most vulnerable, isolated, and disadvantaged by matching those who want to help, with those who need the help.
Responsible for more than ninety philanthropic funds, Kent Community Foundation is unrivalled in its knowledge of local causes and assists individuals, families, and businesses, who want to help, to establish and administer their own charitable funds.