Parchment Trust provides day care services for people with learning and physical disabilities in East Sussex with a person-centred and inclusive approach. A Charity Bank loan assisted the charity to purchase the freehold of one of its sites.
Chief Executive Andrew Phillips tells us how transformational this has been for the charity’s services and sustainability.
“Parchment Trust was established in 1993 when a group of parents of children with learning disabilities came together with a vision to provide more innovative and personalised care. Over 20 years later, we have become the largest independent provider of day care services for people with learning and physical disabilities in East Sussex.
“Our overarching philosophy is still the same; we start with the individual’s needs and provide them with tailored services. This is essential to ensure we are responding to the requirements and interests of each person under our care, especially those with profound and multiple disabilities whose needs can be more complex. Through our different services, our main aim is to maximise the independence and choice of our service users, supporting them to become active participants in the community.
“We run community-based services and have two main permanent sites. The Co-operative is where our service users can come to access new areas of occupation, leisure and development. Friary Gardeners is located on a Victorian farm complex and offers service users horticultural skills, greater independence and community interaction. We had been renting this farm for 12 years when the landlord decided to sell. With help from a Charity Bank loan, we were able to purchase the freehold.
“I can’t stress enough, how important this has been for us. It has been completely transformational for the development of our services. Having security of tenure enabled us to raise more funds to renovate the derelict farm buildings. We built new fully-accessible toilet facilities and a craft room for indoor activities and learning. We also have plenty of storage space and were able to install a biomass boiler room and solar panels, which provide us with sustainable income.
“Working with Charity Bank was simply a logical fit for us. We are a values-based charity and finding a lender with a similar ethos was important. Most banks simply exist to make money. Having access to a social lender like Charity Bank, who care about creating a positive social impact is critical for supporting charities like ours.
“I think more people are starting to realise that getting the biggest financial return isn’t the be-all and end-all. It’s more important to think about where your money is going and what it’s doing. Ethical banks like Charity Bank offer an opportunity for everyone to invest for the greater good rather than just for the bottom line.”