Folkestone Sports Centre Trust: Ready to hit the ground running

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Closures due to the pandemic resulted in Folkestone Sports Centre losing over 90% of its income. With ongoing support from Charity Bank, it was ready to reopen as soon as circumstances allowed.

Folkestone key facts

Folkestone Sports Centre Trust

Key facts

Impact area: Sports
Location: Folkestone, Kent
Loan amount: £1.2m


Folkestone Sports Centre was set up by local members of the community in 1972. The ethos was then, and still is to this day, to provide affordable sports and leisure facilities to all. Over time, the centre has evolved to keep up with the changing needs of the community. This includes an added emphasis on serving those who suffer from learning or physical disabilities and supporting more people to benefit from the centre.


When Folkestone Sports Centre found out it would have to close its doors last year as the first lockdown in England began, the first concern was for its customers and how the centre could continue to support them. Next, the financial reality set in. Almost overnight, a healthy monthly income of close to £140,000 was reduced to nearer £6,000 as activities ceased.

Charity Bank immediately granted the charity a repayment holiday on its loan, allowing time to concentrate on adjusting to the new situation and continuing to support staff and its most vulnerable customers. A further repayment holiday and a loan through the Resilience and Recovery Loan Fund (RRLF), offered by Social Investment Business (SIB), meant that the centre remained operational as the pandemic has evolved. This has enabled Folkestone Sports Centre to plan for the long term and helped to ensure it could resume activities as soon as circumstances allowed.

“The support we’ve had from Charity Bank over this tough year has been invaluable. From calm reassurances on that first panicked phone call through to repayment holidays and assistance in securing the RRLF loan, their understanding, knowledge and passion for what we do has been unwavering. It’s a support that extends beyond the financial and sees past the bottom line. It feels like speaking to another member of our team, knowing I’ll get sound advice from someone who really gets us.”

“I would say to any other social businesses who might be considering financing to continue providing services, just pick up the phone, have a conversation with Charity Bank and see where it takes you.” – Tessa Stickler, General Manager, Folkestone Sports Centre

“I can honestly say I don’t think we would be where we are if it hadn’t been for our relationship with Charity Bank over the last ten years. And we certainly wouldn’t have survived this last year.”

Tessa Stickler, General Manager, Folkestone Sports Centre

“A great local asset hit hard by valid restrictions. Great to visit today and feel totally safe as a result of the precautions they have in place.”

Claire Harper-Smith
Folkestone borrower banner

Folkestone Sports Centre Trust beneficiaries © Lucy Hunter

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 1,000 loans totalling over £350m to housing, education, social care, community and other social purpose organisations.

Find out more about us here.

The Resilience and Recovery Loan Fund (RRLF) is managed by Social Investment Business (SIB) who make the ultimate lending decision. Charity Bank was one of eight social organisations who delivered this fund. RRLF is not appropriate for all organisations and eligibility criteria applies. Borrowers remain 100% liable for the debt.

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.