Gro-Organic, a Birmingham based social enterprise that runs community gardening activities with schools and marginalised young people, has received £4,500 of matched funding from Santander’s innovative Changemaker Fund.

The Fund is part of a pioneering collaboration between Santander and rewards-based crowdfunding platform Crowdfunder. The programme is designed to help social enterprises, small charities and community groups deliver projects that improve communities and help disadvantaged people to have confidence in the future.

Gro-Organic works with local residents from all backgrounds to help them develop skills and provide an opportunity to socialise through community gardening work. The organisation provides young people who come from challenging backgrounds with valuable landscaping skills that can be transferred into employment opportunities. Gro-Organic also works with schools and the local community to transform bleak spaces into beautiful gardens.

The funding will support 12 months of community gardening activities for up to 200 adults with a mental health diagnosis, learning disability or physical disability.

Sue Douthwaite, Managing Director of Santander Business Banking, commented: “We are thrilled to be able to fund another year of Gro-Organic’s work. Not only are participants learning new skills, but they are also working on projects for clients and gaining genuine work experience. Providing these valuable opportunities for vulnerable people is a great way contribute to the local community, and the work the organisation has done to date has been incredibly impressive.”

Sarah Gill, CEO of Gro-Organic, commented: “We are delighted to receive this financial support from Santander which has prevented the closure of our service for vulnerable adults. Our community garden services support disadvantaged adults, all of whom face significant personal barriers. Thanks to Santander, we can now offer a further year of activities to this group and we really can’t wait to share the good news with them.”

The Changemaker Fund,, is part of Santander’s flagship community programme, The Discovery Project, which aims to inspire people to have confidence in the future through projects that build skills, grow knowledge and support innovation.

By working together with Crowdfunder, Santander aims to enable entrepreneurs and community groups to tackle social challenges and create positive local impact. Eligible projects seeking funds of up to £20,000 and focused on supporting skills, knowledge or innovation that get the crowd’s backing will receive 50 per cent of their funding requirement from Santander to ensure the enterprise reaches its target.

As well as access to the matched funding from Santander, projects will benefit from crowdfunding team specialists with education, enterprise and coaching support to unlock further funds and create lasting impacts in communities across the UK.

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Notes to Editors

Santander UK is a financial services provider in the UK that offers a wide range of personal and commercial financial products and services. It has brought real competition to the UK, through its innovative products for retail customers and relationship banking model for UK SMEs. At 31 March 2018, the bank has c19,500 employees. It serves around 14 million active customers, via a nationwide branch network, telephone, mobile and online banking; and 64 regional Corporate Business Centres. Santander UK is subject to the full supervision of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) in the UK. Santander UK plc customers are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) in the UK.

About Us 
Banco Santander (SAN SM, STD US, BNC LN) is a leading retail and commercial bank, founded in 1857 and headquartered in Spain. It has a meaningful market share in 10 core countries in Europe and the Americas, and is the largest bank in the euro zone by market capitalization. At the end of 2017, Banco Santander had EUR 986 billion in customer funds (deposits and mutual funds), 133 million customers, 13,700 branches and 200,000 employees. Banco Santander made attributable profit of EUR 6,619 million in 2017, an increase of 7% compared to the previous year.

About Gro-Organic 
Gro-Organic is an award winning social enterprise based in the West Midlands, built with a team of driven people who are passionate about creating wonderful green spaces whilst investing in local people and the community.

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