£150,000 investment helps Gro-Organic sow seeds of growth

A West Midlands social enterprise that helps people improve their mental, physical and emotional wellbeing has been given a funding boost to help it deal with a rapid rise in referrals during Covid-19.

Queens Award winners Gro-Organic, formed in 2011 by social entrepreneur Sarah Treanor, has secured £150,000 from the Resonance Social Investment Tax Relief Fund and will immediately channel it into expanding its mentoring and support programmes across the region.

Last year, the organisation’s pioneering work supported more than 284 volunteers and nearly 6000 service users, with its successful trading arm, Gro-Landscaping, seeing an equally impressive surge in demand for commercial, school and community projects.

“The Gro-Mentoring service has taken on even greater importance during the current pandemic and we’ve seen the number of family referrals treble since the start of lockdown,” said Treanor.

“This was already building on one of our busiest years and lots of exciting plans to deliver more projects that create transferrable skills and improve community cohesion.

She continued: “That was the reason why we approached Resonance to see if we could access additional investment through its Social Investment Tax Relief Fund, which offers us a low rate of interest, whilst giving our investors up to 30% back in tax relief.”

“I’m delighted we have been able to secure investment to support our commitment to helping more people and this will be directed into new equipment, new expert assistance and recruitment and development of our specialist teams.”

Resonance launched its SITR Fund in February 2018, bringing £5m of investment to help the region’s social enterprises combat poverty and fight inequality.

The fund offers unsecured loans over a six-year term, ‘interest only for the first three years’, making it an ideal vehicle for organisations looking to maximise their social impact.

Grace England, senior investment manager for the Resonance West Midlands SITR Fund, said: “It has been brilliant to see Gro-Organic grow and develop over the number of years we’ve been working with the team and also to see it demonstrate resilience, resourcefulness and the ability to harness new opportunities in more recent times.

“The investment has been slightly more delayed than planned as Gro-Organic has, of course, prioritised its COVID-19 planning and response, but it has been great to see its vital response to the pandemic and how it has maintained its activity across key business and impact areas, whilst still planning for growth.

“We are delighted to see it continue to grow its impact at a time where its services are needed more than ever before.”

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