As the year draws to a close, we look back at some of the most inspirational and innovative projects we’ve loaned to in 2022.
Blending creativity with kindness, Kind Bag is a sustainable fashion accessories company that actively aims to contribute to the environment by embracing slow and circular fashion.
Founded in Hackney, East London, the company creates all kinds of bags from 100% recycled plastic bottles and sustainable materials, featuring colourful, patterned designs that are a great example of how being sustainable does not mean forgoing a love of fashion.
Currently stocked by a range of well-known retailers including Selfridges, Waterstones and Anthropologie, Kind Bag will use new finance from Triodos Bank to help expand its team and further develop its range of bags.
ELITE Supported Employment Agency
From its base in the South Wales Valleys, ELITE supports hundreds of people a year with disabilities or disadvantages to access paid, meaningful employment.
Set up 30 years ago, ELITE runs projects and services including guidance counselling, interview preparation and employment visits and placements. The charity also raises awareness among local employers of good practice regarding the recruitment and employment of those with disabilities.
As its CEO Andrea Wayman says, this support can make a big difference to the lives of those who benefit from ELITE’s services, allowing them to grow in confidence, refine their skills and boost their CVs.
Opening in 2023, Sea Lanes is an ambitious new open water swimming hub on the East Brighton seafront that will host the UK’s first outdoor swimming training centre.
Created by a group of local businesses and open water swimming enthusiasts – with an ultimate aim of encouraging swimmers of all abilities to enjoy the sport and live healthier lives – Sea Lanes will feature a 50m heated pool that will become the National Open Water Swimming Centre of Excellence. Facilities run by businesses from the area, such as a coffee shop and yoga studios, will be housed in environmentally constructed modular units at the site.
Rural Urban Synthesis Society
The Rural Urban Synthesis Society (RUSS) is a Community Land Trust embarking on the largest self-build community housing project of its kind ever undertaken in London.
Co-designed by a group of future residents, a development of 36 affordable and sustainable new homes in Lewisham will sit alongside a Community Hub that was built by nearly 100 volunteers.
RUSS is the vision of founder Kareem Dayes, who wanted to see communities working together with access to affordable and sustainable homes. An inspiring example of what can be achieved at a local level, the project shows how we can create more homes and neighbourhoods that are both sustainable and affordable.
We spoke to Kareem about his vision ahead of his appearance at our virtual Annual Meeting in September.
A family-run camping and caravan park in the scenic West Wales countryside, Bargoed Farm has continued to expand and diversify in the years since it first opened in 2016.
As well as providing over 50 hardstanding pitches, Bargoed Farm now includes a farm shop and bistro, a popular indoor children’s play centre and a wedding and events venue.
To help the business expand further, a new loan from Triodos will fund the conversion of farm outbuildings into self-contained holiday accommodation, due to be ready by Easter, while also supporting the Farm’s ambition to go off-grid by funding new solar panels and battery storage.
Nature reserves managed by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) play an important role in the charity’s conservation work and are ideal places to experience and discover more about wildlife and the landscapes they call home.
Backed by a loan from Triodos, the RSPB will create new cafés at four of its reserves as part of its efforts to drive connection to nature across the UK. To minimise any potential disturbance to wildlife during the building process, the new facilities are being created using offside modular construction methods and include special wildlife-friendly design features such as anti-bird strike glass windows and doors.
Sheriffhales Community Energy
The historic village of Sheriffhales in Shropshire has a population of just 700 people, but is home to a forward-thinking community energy project that’s making a big impact.
Sheriffhales Community Energy is a not-for-profit community benefit society governed by local volunteer directors with the aim of generating an income for the parish. Thanks to a loan from Triodos, the group now owns a solar farm on the outskirts of the village that was originally commissioned by a commercial renewable energy company in 2016.
The 3.2MW solar farm generates 984,000 kWh of renewable electricity, which is enough to power 825 homes each year. It’s expected that around £1 million surplus will be generated for community projects over the solar farm’s expected operating life through to 2040.
As well as helping to meet the urgent need for affordable homes, social housing providers must meet Government targets to increase the efficiency of all their properties – a challenge that’s become even more crucial in light of rising energy costs.
A housing association based in Somerset, SHAL manages more than 750 properties, including homes for rent and shared ownership. A Triodos customer since 2016, SHAL has recently increased its lending to build additional affordable homes and to make its existing properties more environmentally friendly – helping to meet the need for social housing in the area while improving the energy efficiency of its housing stock.