28 Mar 2017

A social business in west Wales is the first to complete the repayments on a social investment loan allowing these funds to be reinvested into the third sector.

Theatr Mwldan in Cardigan is the first social business to complete the repayments on a loan from Communities Investment Fund (CIF), part of WCVA's Social Investment Cymru portfolio. Previously an EU funded project, CIF is now in its third iteration and continues to make loans via the funds repaid from investments such as that made to Theatr Mwldan in 2011.

With over £6.5m loaned out directly by Social Investment Cymru at WCVA, over £3.5m has already been repaid and made available for further loans to help social businesses generate new income streams and create local employment through enterprise that has a positive community impact.

CIF's aim is to lend where others will not and as such it specialises in helping social enterprises and charities access loans that they wouldn't be able to obtain from commercial lenders.

Theatr Mwldan, a charitable arts centre based in Cardigan had initially approached numerous loan providers for financial assistance. Where other lenders turned them away, CIF was able to make a loan of £80,000 to contribute to the £450,000 project of expanding its workforce and installing new digital projection equipment in order to combat the adverse impact of a newly opened multiplex cinema in the area.



The new screen - Mwldan 3 - was equipped with high quality digital projection which made it possible to present live satellite broadcasts and digital 3D making it the first independent all digital three screen cinema in Wales.

The new screen saw a 38% boost in admissions and increase of screenings, making their programme more flexible and competitive.

Reflecting on the project, Dilwyn Davies, Chief Executive at Mwldan, said: 'We are delighted to have completed the loan repayments to WCVA. Without their support on this project, we would have been unable to expand the facilities, turnover and employment. It has been a vital investment in the history of Mwldan and in the community. The company is now in a position of much improved sustainability as a result.

'The fact that our repayments are now being reinvested in other excellent projects across the voluntary sector in Wales is a fantastic initiative that will benefit many communities. It really makes our project feel even more special and worthwhile.'

Matt Brown, Head of Social Investment Cymru commented 'Theatr Mwldan has been a model borrower and not just because they made all their repayments on time! The social impact of our investments is a key consideration for us and it is very rewarding to see what has been achieved within the local community, partly through the use of this money. They have been a real success story and helping put them in a position to compete on quality within a highly competitive commercial market is part of our ethos.

'One of the aims with CIF from the outset was to create a self-sustaining loan fund for the third sector, to take the right risks in support of service delivery. We are reliant on organisations like Theatr Mwldan to make that aim a reality by not only delivering those services, but also to share the benefit of the growth in their business by repaying our investment. That means we can carry on lending and help the next organisation looking to have an effect on people's lives thanks to people like Dilwyn and his team, we're very much still open for business and looking for more loans to make.'

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