DELIVERY OF COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT FINANCE INITIATIVES IN
BRISTOL AND THE WEST OF ENGLAND
A Recent research by Community Finance Solutions assisted in gaining an
understanding of the nature of local financial exclusion, including need, issues
concerning existing provision, preferred services and delivery.
B Financial exclusion exists within concentrated pockets of intense multiple
deprivation, and among excluded groups in Bristol and in the surrounding
unitary authorities. Research has found it mainly involves difficulties in
accessing services offering credit, banking, savings, and financial advice and
C A review of existing provision shows that needs are not currently met in Bristol
and the surrounding area: although there are a number of small initiatives,
provision of personal finance services/products is limited in coverage;
fragmented; and under-resourced. In some areas this may reinforce financial
exclusion as people become vulnerable to money lenders and other exploitative
D There are a range of agencies providing enterprise support, but in some cases
these are overlapping or poorly targeted services. In particular, agencies didn’t
fully understand or meet the needs of micro-entrepreneurs.
E. Personal financial exclusion also impacts on the wider local economy and can
undermine broader regeneration efforts. Personal finance and enterprise
interventions need to be better integrated to ensure micro-entrepreneurs are
targeted, as they are not served by “business” financial services.
F. The research found clear agreement that something needs to be done to better
address financial exclusion - the “do-nothing” and “new CDFI” options were
rejected. A “preferred option” has emerged that essentially involves the
development of a CDFI that builds on existing organisations and proposes
complementary support mechanisms.
G While there are a number of models available for a CDFI, the incremental
development of a CDFI is suggested as the best mechanism to address the
issues highlighted during this project. It would build on existing agencies but
require agreement of a strategic framework and considerable change.
H Discussions of the option have indicated there is a desire for a partnership
approach, which will utilise existing organisations, some of whom operate on a
West of England basis. These include the major private and community based
finance enterprises, and Business West. Others could improve their services
and sustainability by developing a wider market or partnerships.
1. This note summarises the research and consultation that has been carried out as
part of wider Community Finance work that aims to identify feasible and sustainable
mechanisms for the development and delivery of Community Development Finance
solutions in the Bristol area. It draws on the key reports prepared by Community
Finance Solutions of the University of Salford (these reports are available on the
internet: www.socialeconomybristol.org.uk/woecdfi.ihtml), who were commissioned
in 2002 and conducted the research using a collaborative participative approach from
the beginning. The findings summarised in this briefing note therefore have wide
"ownership" among local "social actors" who participated in a series of learning
sessions, presentations and interviews over four "events" in late 2002 and 2003.
Details of the project are included in Appendix 1.
2. The findings of this research form part of a wider West of England Strategic
Partnership (WESP) initiative co-ordinated by the Bristol City Council in partnership
with the Regional Development Agency and the four adjacent local authorities. The
findings also reflect national policy, including changes to legislation affecting credit
unions and changes in the tax regime to support Community Development Finance
Initiatives. The research offers scope to incorporate new and innovative mechanisms
emerging from across the country to address local community finance issues. The
CDFI and its variants are the subject of a national pilot programme and they are
among a number of community finance interventions and initiatives which also
include credit unions, peer lending, soft loan funds, equity funds and reinvestment
trusts. These are summarised in Appendix 2.
3. Community Development Finance Institutions (CDFI)- the Community
Development Finance Association (CDFA) defines CDFIs as "new financial tools for
social, economic and physical renewal in under invested communities. They lend and
invest in deprived areas and underserved markets that cannot access mainstream
finance. They are sustainable, independent organisations that provide financial
services with two aims: to generate social and financial returns. They serve different
types of customers with loans or equity investment, including individuals, micro-,
small and social businesses."
For individuals, in addition to Credit Unions, advice and finance education initiatives
there are options such as Community Reinvestment Trusts, which provide affordable
loans, and advice, as alternatives to moneylenders and loan sharks. For business it
provides access to finance which would normally be closed to them.
As institutions they are able to access substantial public and private funding, which
they can manage in a range of ways to directly meet local needs and/or support and
improve the range of existing services and their accessibility to those who may
experience financial exclusion in some form. CDFIs were first established in the early
1990s and now have their own co-ordinating organisation, the Community
Development Finance Association (CDFA). While research has shown what factors
may influence success of an CDFI there is no prescription and local circumstances
tend to determine what is best for that community.
4. Community Finance Initiatives (CFI) are generally small scale initiatives that meet
a more narrow but similar need in the community. They vary considerably from, for
example, a loan guarantee fund in partnership with a mainstream financial institution,
to a financial literacy/education project provided through local colleges, to Credit
Unions, to a loan fund operated by a local agency. As they are often set up within
another institution or as part of a specific regeneration programme they may not need
to be financially viable- but this may also mean they are narrowly targeted and may
be constrained by the need to meet other objectives. In Bristol there are many CFIs
successfully meeting many local needs, but they have not yet been drawn together or
developed in the context of an integrated strategy. A question underlying this note is
whether a CDFI might be a suitable mechanism for delivering these types of financial
service and support in a more integrated way.
5. The scale of general deprivation in parts of Bristol is well-documented and has been
the focus of regeneration initiatives since the mid-1990s. In the surrounding areas
there are pockets of deprivation that have more recently been identified and are now
the subject of local initiatives. Specific measures to address financial exclusion have
only gradually been developed as more information has become available regarding
the scale and nature of personal financial exclusion; often it has been a "hidden" and
6. Baseline information collected for Bristol regeneration areas highlighted both the
issue of debt and the difficulties of obtaining credit and maintaining loan repayments.
The statistics mirror national research (primarily Kempson et al (2000)) that found
that mainstream services and products did not address need, and that financial
exclusion resulted from barriers to accessing financial products and services that
went beyond the difficulty of reaching a bank branch. Key barriers were found to be:
Exclusion through the cost of the service relative to the income
Exclusion by ignorance of where to obtain services
Self-exclusion by people who believe they will be refused financial services or
who may not wish to engage with financial institutions
7. These barriers, along with the closing of local bank branches, means that
moneylenders are able to move into this area of personal finance. Those involved in
debt advice have found that there are many examples of companies taking
advantage of the vulnerability of local residents - one example being a shop in Bristol
charging 777% for a 20 week loan of £150. Research carried out as part of this
project found that Provident offered £500 loan at 497.4% (£23 a week over 23
weeks) or 170.7% (£15 per week over 54 weeks). The lack of regulation of these
organisations is a concern as, in addition to these excessive interest rates, they do
nothing to address the underlying pattern of debt.
8. Another trend is that second mortgage companies are now more common, taking
charges on property and on businesses in the case of sole traders. Credit card debt
is also an issue, particularly as the desire to protect credit rating often results in
payments on credit cards having priority over the payment of basic bills. Debt
advisors are concerned about the inability of existing agencies to meet the need for
debt advice, particularly as this may result in clients turning to professional debt
advisors who charge for their services and push clients towards remortgaging.
9. Previous studies by the University of Bristol and Joseph Rowntree Foundation with
residents in Barton Hill, Bristol (Collard et al, 2001) identified particular personal
finance issues linked to financial exclusion (over and above low incomes resulting
from nature of occupations or caring responsibilities):
Bank accounts: there was widespread mistrust of banks, insurance and credit
companies; wanted bank accounts that were easy to access, and to understand how
to use accounts to avoid bank charges
Personal credit: access to credit was difficult - small loans refused; unsure whether
individuals blacklisted or the area; tendency to use expensive forms of credit;
tendency to borrow for day-to-day living expenses
Credit for micro-entrepreneurs: there were barriers to getting credit for working
capital for micro-entrepreneurs because banks saw them as "businesses", but they
saw themselves as just "working for themselves" and avoided "business" planning
Inability to obtain financial services: that comply with Islamic law
Savings: found it difficult to get started; also difficulty of accessing savings accounts
that welcomed small deposits
Access to insurance: home contents insurance in particular was problematic
Advice: difficulty of getting simple and independent explanations of financial services,
or of getting a source of trusted and independent money management information
10. The mechanisms for delivery of services and products need to be more co-ordinated
and linked into mainstream provision. Residents in Barton Hill suggested the
One stop shop – i.e. single place for delivery of a range of financial services
including money advice, financial literacy training, savings, loans, etc.
A service that allowed linkage into mainstream financial services and which could
be accessed if they moved from the area
Partnerships with existing local providers such as the post office
Sustainability in the sense that it would last and attract other funding
11. A key finding is that barriers to personal finance affect both the household and the
wider economic activity of the area. This stems from the fact that for many in these
communities, such as those working on the margins of the formal economy or
struggling to generate an income through self-employment, finance is not
compartmentalised into personal and business. These ‘micro-entrepreneurs’ do not
differentiate between business and personal income and expenditure and do not feel
banks or business advisors have anything to offer them, although they are interested
in the micro-lending scheme Street- UK (a large micro-credit initiative which has
developed from a lending circle to providing individual loans).
12. Barriers to personal finance also act as barriers to micro-entrepreneurship and must
be addressed (along with business finance) if an increase in micro-entrepreneurship
is sought as an important contributor to regeneration. Local delivery needs to be
supported at a macro level so that efficiencies of scale can be achieved to develop
effective back office support services and access capital and financial expertise to
provide the required range of services.
WHAT CFIs ALREADY EXIST
13. The research reviewed the supply of existing community finance initiatives in the
subregional area and these are summarised in Appendix 3. Overall there is uneven
and uncoordinated coverage by community finance initiatives in the West of England,
with the main issues emerging from the point of view of supply being:-
Fragmented provision and absence of co-ordinated policies and strategies:
the benefits of individual initiatives would be maximised by working within a
framework that relates to a wider strategy. Bristol Means Business is starting to
address this issue in relation to business support, but within the personal debt
advice service linkages are patchy and voluntary contribution underutilised.
Personal support is under resourced - greater supply and resources are
required to meet demand, particularly in respect of debt and related advice.
Enterprise support suffers from a multiplication of agencies - with some
agencies not meeting target audiences or providing the type of support needed by
potential clients e.g. micro-entrepreneurs. In some cases there may be over-
provision of agencies, particularly for enterprise loan funds that are underutilised
for a range of reasons.
Need for monitoring of referral services within networks and for information
sharing and closer relationships.
Few programmes offering financial literacy courses.
Not-for-profit financial services (e.g. credit unions) - only available to a limited
number of areas and those outside these areas have limited choice for credit.
Credit Union volunteers have difficulty managing expectation and overcoming
problems, such as those related to registration. More paid staff needed.
Likely need to develop alternative forms of loan finance for housing repairs
as grant regime changes.
SCOPE FOR IMPROVEMENT
14. The research also looked at what might be changed to better meet identified need in
terms of products and services, and this can be summarised as:
New services: there is evidence of need for new services/products/delivery
mechanisms that meet local need. For example, the Woodspring Deposit
Guarantee Scheme for tenants, and loan products that meet the needs of the
Islamic community who cannot pay interest on loans. Some consider a CFI needs
to provide access to mainstream financial Providers at local level
Credit Union services: there is widespread support for development of Credit
Unions, but some concern that too much is expected of relatively small and new
institutions. They may not be the most effective way of meeting the needs of
residents with multiple indebtedness, who need help and support, not necessarily
credit. Credit Unions need greater coverage and could broaden their role;
currently supported by BACEN. They wish to develop separately while
undertaking joint promotional activities, i.e. achieve a strong local identity before
merging into a Bristol-wide entity (ambition to merge in 2008). BACEN are also
developing closer links to the Bristol Debt Advice Centre (BDAC) so that money
management advice can be offered; disappointed that bid to involve debt
advice/money management unable to secure Objective 2 funding.
Debt Advice: there is a clear need for more access and linkages to debt advice
and financial literacy courses. A useful step would be to increase exchange of
information through Avon network of advice services (Advice Centre for Avon),
which has 35-40 members (Citizens Advice Bureaux, Refugee Action, etc.), but
also partnerships and pilot projects.
Micro-enterprise support: this is a ‘gap’ in the market as micro-entrepreneurs
are less likely to have a bank account; low income makes it difficult to repay
debts; absence of savings limits working capital and access to loans (no security).
They are best served by CFIs, as CFIs would be close to clients and their not-for-
profit basis means they could also ‘nurture’ clients. There is an absence of
understanding of potential clients for whom personal and business finance are
closely inter-related, and associated lack of appropriate advice and support for
Revised delivery mechanisms: are needed in conjunction with other
improvements to ensure accessibility (inclusion) and sustainability, e.g. one-stop
shop, ensuring link between personal and business finance and offering all
services at a local centre but linked into a service that was available city
15. The research highlighted the inter-relationships between services/products and need
for a financial inclusion strategy to achieve greater integration and effectiveness.
Whatever the precise form of the final mechanism, there were some essential steps
and changes in approach that were agreed as being needed to realise the potential
of existing initiatives to meet the agreed objectives. These are:-
Broaden remit of some organisations
Greater integration - collaboration and possible merging
Leading agencies will need to give up some autonomy
Jointly developing services
More efficient back up resource for Credit Unions
Links with national/mainstream financial organisations to tap their potential
16. The plenary event in March 2003 considered the findings of the previous research
and presentations and reviewed the following options:-
DO NOTHING - The cost of this option for the local economy could be considerable,
as it would undermine support for local shops and local businesses, and adversely
affect local employment and overall economic development objectives.
ENHANCE CO-ORDINATION AND COLLABORATION ON JOINTLY
DEVELOPED SERVICES - maximise the delivery of existing organisations through
provision of extra resources, product development, co-ordinated databases, joint
development, tapping into the potential of mainstream banks, co-ordination of
personal finance advice agencies, promotion and closer working of loan funds and
improved signposting between agencies. This option could incorporate the creation
of a Bristol-wide live and work credit union before 2008 to provide wider
coverage/better access, or incorporate the ‘Back Office Service Delivery Vehicle’
outlined below to support and complement the existing credit unions.
CREATE A 'BACK OFFICE' SERVICE DELIVERY AGENCY - to comprise a
secondary organisation with paid professional officers that can supplement and
complement local credit unions and reduce the cost of administrative activities
including specialist software. It could also support loan fund organisations and co-
ordinate product development, though issues of accountability have to be overcome.
GROW EXISTING LOAN FUNDS INTO A FULLY FLEDGED CDFI - create a
broad based (Bristol and surrounding areas) CDFI that brings together existing loan
funds and encourages closer partnership with and between credit unions. It would
be able to offer loans that existing organisations find difficult because they are too
small or because of legal constraints or difficulties in offering secure loans or loans
to high-risk clients. It would also be able to link in advice services and bridge the
gap between personal and enterprise finance. This option offers advantages of
scale, ability to fill gaps in service provision, clear lines of accountability and ability
to attract substantial funding such as the Phoenix Fund, as well as take advantage
of other public and private resources. Requires mergers of existing agencies and
establishment of more partnerships. This option forms the core of the recommended
course of action, which has developed from the research and consultations
undertaken by Community Finance Solutions.
CREATE A COMPLETELY NEW CDFI - establish a new CDFI with no account
being taken of existing provision and which can focus on the achievement of a
financial inclusion strategy.
17. The clear message was that the “Do Nothing” option should be rejected as it was
concluded that the situation was too important to ignore even if identifying resources
could be a challenge. Similarly the creation and imposition of a new CDFI was
dismissed, as it was considered this would undermine existing commitment and
18. There was also a view that a sub-regional approach offers an effective and efficient
means to reach a greater proportion of the population within the region- this would
allow economies of scale and be attractive to investors. Furthermore, the proposal
should address the needs of potential customers and other stakeholders as a priority
over concern for the professional or agency boundaries that are relevant mainly to
the funding package.
PREFERRED OPTION UNDER CONSIDERATION
19. A preferred option was developed as the basis of future discussions (further details
are located in CFS document “Report on the first stage in the possible creation of a
sub-regional project for a locally based CDFI for the West of England Strategic
Partnership area” pp42-51, which can be found on
www.socialeconomybristol.org.uk/woecdfi.ihtml). It aims to develop a more strategic
and co-ordinated approach using components of the three other options and moving
forward in stages to incrementally achieve a sub-regional CDFI that makes best use
of existing initiatives. The preferred option broadly comprises:
20. Infrastructure developed on a sub-regional basis
Expand Bristol Means Business Partnership to cover wider area - needs strategic
investment and additional support agencies for micro-enterprise.
Create new partnership: a personal finance equivalent of Bristol Means Business,
over wider area to embrace existing organisations in a more co-ordinated and
strategic approach (will require revenue support).
Create new delivery ‘vehicle’ - the secondary back office service delivery agency
(described under ‘options’ on page 48 of main paper), which will reduce costs and
enhance capacity through shared resources; would help creation of a Bristol-wide
Credit Union and encourage greater involvement of local authority employees in
Create CDFI through incremental integration of existing business and social
enterprise loan funds - to create more capacity and other services and increase
prospect of sustainability.
STEPS TO ACHIEVE THIS OPTION:
Set up a team of relevant stakeholders to develop and oversee strategy.
Promote this work with a "Champion" through management structures of other
Gain support of the relevant local authorities and Regional Development Agencies.
Set up the above infrastructure incrementally and build on existing agencies It sets out
a process that ultimately would achieve an CDFI based on the existing providers, but
ensuring their local knowledge and experience was built on to develop a mechanism
that addressed the needs and suggestions as emerged through the project.
Develop personal lending activity concurrently with expanding the business loan
Pilot a 'one-stop-shop’ approach to savings, current accounts, basic credit facilities,
debt consolidation, independent financial advice and insurance based on identified
local need - through a CDFI in conjunction with a mainstream bank and local
partners; extend this to other areas in due course.
Once a sub-regional CDFI is established, it needs to develop new products (e.g. for
tenants and for the Muslim community) and low cost loans and equity release
products (for homeowners on low incomes and the elderly).
Provision of financial literacy courses.
Community a Heart New Deal for Communities programme, Lloyds TSB and Bristol
Enterprise Development Fund (BEDF) act as core implementation partners working
with local authorities to resource a project development team over 2 years
Engage others in developing and piloting the personal finance services and housing
lending products as listed above, particularly ABCF and CEED, BEST and BACEN
(and Bristol Care and Repair)
Cascade these activities to other recognised regeneration areas (e.g. where
regeneration funding is available). (Note: Home Loan Scheme will be extended more
quickly under other initiatives)
Strategic decisions are needed as to funding and resource contributions; the
indicative funding implications have been set out in the original CFS report (ref)
APPENDIX 1: Financial inclusion project and details of the Scoping Research
1. Community Finance Solutions (CFS) at the University of Salford were appointed by
Bristol City Council in 2002 to carry out research to identify feasible and sustainable
mechanisms for the development and delivery of Community Development Finance
solutions within the sub regional boundary of the four Unitary authorities of Bristol, Bath
and North East Somerset, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire. This project
was part funded by the South West England Regional Development Agency, under it’s
INTER programme. It was overseen by an advisory group of local authority
representatives, key community based finance advice agencies, credit unions and
2. The West of England Strategic Partnership provided an overall umbrella for this work,
bringing together the local authorities, to co-ordinate and review work, and provide a
home for the launch seminar
3. Reports from the scoping research consultancy have now been published on the
Internet: www.socialeconomybristol.org.uk. Other outputs include a review of national
research on financial exclusion and the development of CDFIs and a resource pack on
Community Finance Initiatives. During the process the project team held 3 invited
seminars consisting of presentations by leading practitioners from around the country
as well as analysis of key issues that need to be considered when dealing with
financial inclusion. A plenary event was held where learning and options developed
during the programme were presented and discussed. More than 40 community based
finance initiatives as well as statutory agencies and finance houses attended these
events from the West of England region.
APPENDIX 2: National Policy Context and CDF Initiatives Elsewhere
[For detail please see the Community Finance Solutions Resource Pack, available on the
internet at: www.socialeconomybristol.org.uk under West of England CDFI, Plenary Event
31 March 2003)
Glasgow, Birmingham and Liverpool led the implementation of CFIs and Credit Unions in
the UK in the early 1990s, but the development of CDFIs was given a national boost by the
creation of the Local Investment Fund in 1994. When Labour gained power in 1997
priorities shifted towards tackling social exclusion and included policy development on
CDFIs in relation to personal finance and enterprise. In particular Credit Unions were
given greater freedom and an increased role, though their development since then has
More generally, the policy shift supporting CDFIs recognised their role as a bridge between
deprived communities and mainstream economies, as well as a mechanism to improve
sustainability of regeneration initiatives through increased loan financing as compared to
grant funding. CFIs have been encouraged by the creation of the Phoenix Fund (1999)
which offers capital support, development funding and loan guarantees.
There has been a strong growth in CDFIs although there are still some issues to be
resolved. More research has helped identify ways of addressing these issues and also
identified factors that appear to be crucial to “success” such as the scale, coverage,
linkage with community, independence and sustainability of the CDFI. These issues were
discussed during the project.
Nationally, the Treasury has introduced a new tax regime to specifically support
Community Development Finance Initiatives. The Bank of England and clearing banks are
developing new financial instruments and seeking local partners to meet the challenges of
financial inclusion. There is now a trade body, the Community Development Finance
Association with government and private sector support, developing standards and
effective practices in this relatively new market.
Types of Community Finance Initiatives/interventions used elsewhere to address
these kinds of need
Basic Bank Account: bank account without a cheque book
Savings and Loan Scheme (also known as a Loan Guarantee Fund): is usually a
partnership between a building society and Housing Association whereby the HA
place money on deposit with a building society so that HA tenants can save into
this account and benefit from higher interest rates.
Credit Union: a co-operative savings and loans institution where members with a
common bond save in the form of shares, which are then re-lent to members. By
law it is required to lend only to individuals; it can not lend to limited companies
and other corporate forms.
Peer Lending (also termed 'micro-finance lending'):This operates by bringing a
group of people together to form a lending circle, who then individually make
applications for loans.
Soft loan fund: A fund that provides loans to small businesses at an interest rate
below market levels usually at or around base rate and usually operating with the
original fixed amount of cash.
Equity fund (or 'Venture Capital'): investment in businesses whose
performance over time is expected to produce a higher return for the stakeholder.
Enterprise Community Development Finance Institution (CDFI) (national):
provides charitable start up funds for people in specified demographic / thematic
categories, mainly for small business.
Enterprise Community Development Finance Institution (local): locally
controlled; seeks to obtain public and private funding to help businesses that
experience difficulty in accessing financial services, particularly loans.
Community reinvestment trust: an independent organisation that provides
loans at or around market rate to private individuals, small and community-based
businesses in a clearly defined geographical area.
Community asset reinvestment trust: a new form of CRT model for rural areas;
it holds and makes best use of community assets such as village halls and sub
post offices to provide new funding in such areas.
APPENDIX 3: Summary Table of ‘Supply’ Initiatives in the Bristol Area
[Note: See CFS document ”Report on the first stage in the possible creation of a sub-regional
project for a locally based CDFI for the West of England Strategic Partnership area” pp 20–41,
which can be found on www.socialeconomybristol.org.uk/woecdfi.ihtml].
Agencies Current Services Gaps in Services What is required to
involved fill these gaps?
Personal Finance and Credit Agencies
Credit Unions 5 existing Bristol CUs have about Until merge many areas are Greater support for
(Bristol has 2 1500 members (Bath CU has without access to a credit volunteers; funding for
Employment; 3 100 members); SRB /NRF funds union; money management full-time staff & other
Live & Work; 2 some staffing; offer affordable advice; slow development as support; funding to
proposed; 1 in alternative sources of credit; uneven staffing provide associated
Bath; others developing as local entities but money management
developing) possibility of Bristol CUs merging advice; greater
in 2008 (currently do joint involvement of Bristol
marketing) City Council CU .
Woodspring Provide ‘paper’ deposits to Debt management courses;
Deposit facilitate rentals (particularly) rent guarantee schemes ;
Guarantee those with no bank account, loans for micro-
Scheme (North under-25s & homeless); 300 entrepreneurs
Somerset) tenants currently participate;
Personal Finance Advisory agencies
Bristol Debt Debt advice; training for credit Training in money Greater partnership
Advice Centre union workers; 2002 client management to front-line working between advice
(BDAC) survey shows benefits. staff; financial literacy & services; taking forward
(8 employees) Casework up 37.6% on previous preventative work; meeting pilot projects
year. latent demand that can not
be served at present
Law Centre / Legal advice regarding social Few resources (most staff Improve networking and
Private Practices welfare issues part time within another co-operation between
/Legal Services centre); difficult to cover all agencies; provide
specialisms greater resources
CAB legal role
CABs, South Debt advice; advice on income Limited resource and can Improve networking and
Bristol Advice maximisation/benefits not meet demand; difficult to co-ordination/co-
Centre, North (CAB aim to be one-stop-shop; cover all specialisms operation between
Bristol Advice also promote financial literacy; agencies; facilitate
Centre, BCC working with Basic Skills Agency (Case for greater access to specialist
Welfare Rights & proactive in local schools) intervention made) advice; provide greater
Significant Sources of Enterprise Advice and Credit
Bristol Means Co-ordination of agencies to Generally micro- Need to build links
Business develop coherent approach to entrepreneur issues are only between finance
increasing and improving levels partially addressed in Bristol providers and support
(partners: Avon of enterprise support to deprived area; Business Link West agencies and across to
CDA, BRAVE, communities in Bristol; some hope to take forward a social personal finance
BACEN, BCC, partners provide business skill inclusion strategy; some advisors; efforts to
training/other support to micro- agencies don't meet the achieve greater
West, CEED, CSV entrepreneurs and those starting needs of those who are acceptance of loan risks
Avon Training, in self-employment unable to develop a in the sector.
East Bristol business plan; need to link
Enterprise, Filton Loan agencies have low take up with personal financial
Econet, Knowle of loan funding available (see exclusion, which affects
West Dev. Trust, below). enterprise development
and Skills Council,
Bristol Funded by Phoenix Fund and Considered to have complex Need to review
Economic now serve sub-region and can application process; not
Development offer mentoring support. Loans to sustainable without more
fund (BEDF) new & existing small businesses lending.
and social enterprise unable to
access mainstream finding;
Avon & Bristol A partnership between unitary Having difficulty writing Need to review
Co-operative authorities; offers loan finance to sufficient business to cover
Finance (ABCF) social economy costs.
Appendix 4 Progress made to date
1. Bristol C.C. has recently attracted money from the DTI Phoenix fund to support
bringing forward 2 actions:
i) The formal establishment of a sub regional initiative to incrementally
grow existing business and social enterprise loan funds.
ii) The establishment within this sub-regional initiative of a pilot local area
project (one stop shop) in the Barton Hill neighbourhood, followed as
soon as practicable by other local initiatives to meet localised needs.
2. The following associated activities are taking place:
Credit Unions have committed to working to working together towards a city-
wide common bond in 2007, and are working towards ensuring quality and
equality of service delivery across the existing community – based credit unions
as a step towards achieving this goal. The research will also inform their future
support through SRB ‘Bringing Bristol Together’ funding.
Avon and Bristol Co-operative Finance and the Bristol Enterprise Development
Programme have entered into preliminary discussions towards joint working,
governance or even merger. This is the subject of a separate section to this
Community at Heart, the New Deal programme in Barton Hill has opened up a
new advice service and discussions are taking place about piloting a new
‘Halal’ Credit union.
Work supported by the Personal Finance Education Group, the Department for
Education and Science, the National Institute for Adult and Continuing
Education, and the clearing banks, is having an impact on the core school
curriculum (citizenship) being piloted in schools.
Advice and community education services are developing packages to support
adult financial literacy, and improve the range and coverage of financial advice
Two major clearing banks have re-stated their interest in the continuing
development of a CDFI and associated activities, and will continue to support
the project. They will be party to the discussions with the RDA
Further development work within the Social Economy Bristol Development
Project has been undertaken on loans for social enterprises: including the
recent publication of a ‘Guide to Loans for Social Enterprises’ with support from
the other Unitary Authorities. This is being backed up by increased training and
support for applicants and after-care, being delivered by partner organisations,
and the new Social Economy Business Development Fund.
This work is contributing to policy development at the national level including
the Community Development Finance Association and a recent Bank of
England Report on ‘The Financing of Social Enterprises’.
3. Work continues to involve all relevant teams within Bristol C.C. including
Community Regeneration, Trading Standards, Housing and Social Services.
4. An Action plan will be drawn up to outline the incremental growth of a CDFI and
provide a framework for the activities outlined above. It will identify resources
required and a work programme for the initiative.