ICO purchase new London property with help of Charity Bank and Big Issue Invest

Charity Bank and Big Issue Invest have partnered to lend Independent Cinema Office (ICO) more than £1 million to help it purchase new London premises.

ICO – the national body supporting independent cinemas, film festivals and exhibitors of all forms across the UK – decided to purchase a new London property to secure its future. The new building, in London Bridge, will act as its headquarters with 22 employees based there.

In total, ICO is borrowing £1,050,000 for the purchase, with £875,000 from Charity Bank and Big Issue Invest lending a further £175,000.

Owning a property means the organisation can continue in its mission to develop a diverse, inclusive and thriving film sector, providing training, programming and networking opportunities for independent cinemas and encouraging wider access to the industry.

Ed Siegel, Chief Executive, Charity Bank said: “Renting can often feel like a drain on your resources. It’s a huge outgoing expense that provides no real security or return. Securing a property can be an effective way for charities and social enterprises to reduce costs, attract more funding and invest in their futures […]”

We were really pleased to work with Big Issue Invest on this loan […] Our shared desire to better serve the social sector means that charities and social enterprises are able to access the additional funding they need to continue to help improve lives and make our communities better places to live.”

Catharine Des Forges, Founder & Director, ICO, said: “The benefits of buying far outweighed any risks for us. If we stayed where we were, the charity had no assets and our costs would always increase each year. Owning a space has given us the flexibility to grow and adapt for the future. It helped that Charity Bank were so positive and proactive throughout the process, helping us find additional funding and achieve all of our goals”.

With traditional lenders ICO were limited by the type of property they could purchase due to the funds they had available for a deposit. Charity Bank recognised that the ICO could afford to repay a larger loan than other lenders were willing to provide, introducing Big Issue Invest who provided an additional loan to enable the purchase to go ahead.

Danyal Sattar, CEO, Big Issue Invest, said:

Our purpose and strategy is to help organisations tackle financial problems to unlock social impact. Property deposits are particularly difficult for many small to medium sized charities. We are delighted to be able to work with partners like Charity Bank to create positive social benefits through collaboration”.