“Our community programmes currently reach around 50 people a month. I think we can double or even triple that in our new property.”
Churches often struggle to access finance. Not only do traditional lenders not understand non-profits, they’re also wary of the bad publicity that may occur if the property is repossessed.
Elpis Ministries has been holding services in shared rental premises for over 20 years. As well as inviting people to worship, the church runs several community programmes, including a foodbank, youth group and free counselling service.
Pastor Victor Darteh shares, “From the very first day that we started the church, our vision has always been to have our own premises. We wanted the stability, a place to call home, and a lasting legacy to pass onto the next generation.”
A suitable property came up for sale, but buying and renovating it was going to cost £2.02m, meaning that Elpis Ministries needed a large loan. Victor shares, “It's very difficult to get a loan as a church because lenders have biases and think our income is not sustainable. The moment we said we were a church, the barrier would go up.”
It was also important to Victor to use an ethical lender: “As a church, we can't preach one thing and have our money do something else. We need to make sure that what we’re trying to achieve is not being harmed by what our money is doing.”
One bank did offer Elpis Ministries a loan, but the required deposit was unaffordable. Thankfully, a broker put Victor in touch with Charity Bank, and we offered the church a loan with a realistic deposit. We also recommended that Victor speak to Social Investment Business (SIB), which offered Elpis Ministries a bridging loan plus a £125,000 grant.
The larger building means the church can welcome more worshipers and reach double or even triple the number of people through its community services. Victor says, “I felt elated when the purchase went through. I wanted to do cartwheels! This is a huge achievement for us as a church.”
“Without Charity Bank, there's no way we could have purchased this building. It would have taken my lifetime to raise that amount of money.”Pastor Victor Darteh of Elpis Ministries
About Charity Bank
Charity Bank is the loans and savings bank owned by and committed to supporting the social sector. Since 2002, we have used our savers’ money to make more than 1,100 loans totalling over £400m to housing, education, social care, community and other social purpose organisations.
Nothing in this article constitutes an invitation to engage in investment activity nor is it advice or a recommendation and professional advice should be taken before any course of action is pursued.