Imago is a social action charity that delivers diverse services to support individuals, organisations and communities across Kent, Medway, East Sussex and London.
A loan from Charity Bank assisted the charity to purchase a freehold property as its new headquarters. Jon Weller, Director of Community Services, shares how this provided the charity with a secure and stable base from which to continue expanding services.
“Imago has evolved significantly since its beginnings in 1964 as an organisation supporting the wider voluntary and community sector. Over time, we have organically grown and branched out into other areas of social action. Although we still maintain a supportive role in the sector, our main focus now is delivering a range of direct services.
"Through merging with several smaller charities who were struggling independently, we have created a strong and diverse charity that helps a broad spectrum of people to fulfil their potential.
“Our primary services support young carers aged 5-18. Firstly, we provide assessments to ensure they aren’t taking on excessive or inappropriate caring roles. Then we provide them with information, advice, signposting, social activities and individual support. Being a young carer can be isolating and we work with them to make sure their emotional wellbeing and mental health is being looked after and their social and educational needs are being met. Other services span working with vulnerable and disadvantaged adults to a range of community services such as Dial 2 Drive, our community transport service.
“In 2009, when we were at the height of our expansion, the time came to move out of our small offices into a larger, more permanent base. We purchased the property for our new headquarters with the assistance of a loan. We chose Charity Bank because we could see their approach fitted well with our ethos of working ethically. We’ve developed a close working relationship with Charity Bank and its staff, some of whom now even come to volunteer with us.
“Socially aware banking is so important as it gives charities and other community-focused organisations the opportunity to develop and increase their impact, particularly smaller organisations that wouldn’t necessarily be able to attract more mainstream investment or loans.
“At a time of general financial instability, the Charity Bank loan enabled us to make a smart investment that has not only allowed the expansion of our services but provided us with real future security”.