It’s just one of the enterprises run by South West-based charity, the YMCA Dulverton GroupFounded in 1884 with the overarching aim to empower communities, regardless of their faith or gender, the Group offers opportunities to some of the most vulnerable in society, with its current activity helping over 12,000 people each year across Devon and Somerset. Its work includes a wide range of services, with six nurseries (including Barley Wood) providing accessible, high-quality early years education, as well as accommodation services for people at risk of homelessness and a variety of youth and community provisions, which offer support and advice as well as health and wellbeing opportunities.

As part of a commitment to provide young people with training and education, YMCA Dulverton Group also runs three hotels and a wedding and events venue based in the manor house at Barley Wood. These social enterprises are staffed by apprentices who are mentored by experienced hospitality professionals, enabling them to build up their work experience and kickstart their careers.

Supporting expansion and enabling support

Recently Triodos Bank UK has finalised new lending to the Group, supporting its plan to expand its work and increase its impact in the South West.

As well as refinancing some of YMCA Dulverton Group’s existing lending, the new loan will allow for a tailoring of services to individual communities and will fund the charity in its next phase of expansion into new regional branches. As part of this growth the Group will continue developing its environmental impact policy, with electric company vehicles planned from 2022, reduction of single-use plastics to zero across all its sites by the close of 2022 (already achieved its in hotels), and a continuing commitment to sourcing local food suppliers for each hotel and nursery.

“YMCA Dulverton offers critical services for some of society’s most vulnerable young people, offering help and hope”, explains Phillip Bate, business banking regional manager for the South West at Triodos Bank UK. “We’re delighted to play a part in helping the charity increase its impact across Devon and Somerset.”

With a vision to foster inclusive and energising communities, the Group creates spaces and opportunities where young people can truly belong, supporting them to contribute and enabling them to thrive. This focus on social mobility and human dignity aligns with Triodos’ values and mission to promote human dignity for all.

“From the moment we contacted Triodos, we have felt supported in our aims in that we each understand the most important chain is why, then how, and then what,” says Martin Hodgson, CEO of YMCA Dulverton Group. “Working with a bank that shares this approach can only benefit the communities we serve and increase the impact of our work.”

This lending continues the bank’s ongoing support for YMCA Groups across the country. In 2020 Triodos worked with Nottinghamshire YMCA, offering substantial loan funding alongside a successful campaign on its crowdfunding platform, raising £3m to fund the completion of a community and activity village based in Newark-on-Trent.

About YMCA Dulverton Group

YMCA Dulverton Group is a community charity, delivering services to over 12,000 children, young people and families across Somerset and Devon every year. It was founded in 1884, with the vision to be a leader in transforming communities so that all children, young people and families can truly belong, contribute and thrive.

The Group’s work is vast, covering key areas such as: accommodation, health and wellbeing, family work, support and advice and training and education.

Why we finance social projects

We support the personal development of disadvantaged individuals, by financing businesses that address specific social objectives. In this sector, we include not-for-profit employment programmes, youth help centres and integration programmes and more.

Find out more about the social projects we've financed.