Unity Trust Bank
As a social enterprise itself, Unity Trust is perfectly placed to provide dedicated, full-service banking to social enterprises of all sizes. From start-ups to fully fledged and thriving businesses like The Salmon Youth Centre (below), we understand the needs of social enterprises. So we’ve been able to design products and systems that specifically meet your needs.
That’s why, for example, our Internet Banking platform has been developed to enable secure, dual signatory sign-off on payments. It’s also why we know you’ll want to talk to a person and not a machine when you call us.
For start-ups, we offer free banking and money-saving packages on market-leading products such as Sage software, as well as access to superb insurance offerings from our partners who - like us – know and understand your sector. We can even offer savings on merchant services, so you can take card payments quickly and easily by post, by phone or over the web.
And as your business grows, you can access our wider range of products and services such as asset finance and our property development and Community Asset Transfer loans.
Whatever their size of business, all our customers can be sure that they will have access to our award-winning, Birmingham-based customer service team. And because our customers’ time is precious, all calls to us come straight through to a real person – where 90% will be answered within just 20 seconds.
With no private shareholders, and all profits returned for the greater social good, Unity Trust offers a unique home for social enterprise banking. Why think about banking anywhere else?
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Unity Trust working with The Salmon Youth Centre, Bermondsey, London
The Salmon Youth Centre has been reaching out to young people in innercity London for more than one hundred years, supported by funding from the government, local authority, trusts and individual donors. The Centre is one of many social enterprises of all sizes that bank with Unity Trust Bank.
Having banked with Unity for a number of years, the youth centre has used a £1.1m loan from Unity to part-fund its new £10m building. In addition, it has spent £4.5m on a second building to provide affordable homes for key workers.
“We support all young people, including those with disabilities,” says Sam Adofo, the centre’s Director. “For example, we work with autistic young people, to encourage their social and personal development. And we work with those moving on to college, helping them learn skills like travelling independently on trains and buses.”
The work experience offered by the centre helps young people who are not in education, employment or training. “Our target is to engage 60 young people like this each year,” explains Sam. “We get them involved in training, or help them find a job or volunteer work.”
And for young people who have been in prison, the Salmon Centre is on hand to help too. “We support young people on probation or police remand, to try to stop them ending up back in the system. In prison you may have a mentor, but afterwards there’s no-one to help you. We provide that missing support, helping them integrate back into the community.”
As well as working with the 1,500 young people who come to the centre each month, the teams take their work onto the street, and into places like housing estates and tube stations.
“We want to inspire all young people to realise their potential and contribute positively to their community,” says Sam. “So it’s just as important to work with young people who prefer not to come to a youth centre. For those who don’t, we keep talking to them on the street, giving them information, advice and guidance on things like education, drugs and health.”
And at the moment, the work that the centre’s staff and volunteers do is especially valuable. “As the riots of August 2011 show, we all need to work harder at bridging the gap between police, local authorities and young people,” says Sam. “Our society must invest in its young people. That’s why we’re here.”
Sam Adofo, Director, The Salmon Youth Centre