Displaying loader icon image
Displaying masthead oval background image
Displaying masthead oval background image

Loans for Social Enterprises and Charities

The Kent Social Enterprise Loan Fund (KSELF) is a blended loan and grant fund.

KSELF is a social lending programme, aiming to bridge the increasing funding gap for new and existing social enterprises and charities in Kent and Medway, by offering unsecured loans of between £10,000 and £100,000. The financial package will include an element of up to 30% grant of the loan amount.

The aim of the Fund is to break down the barriers which prevent social businesses and charities from accessing finance, and encourage a more enterprising approach to achieving positive change in our communities. Once finance is repaid, it will be re-loaned and re-invested back in the community.

What is KSELF?

Find out more about our social lending programme

KSELF impact video

Alkham Valley Community Project received a loan and grant to construct a roof over their outdoor arena

KSELF impact video

Queenborough Harbour Trust CIC received a loan and grant to revitalise the harbour

Who can apply?

Organisations who can demonstrate that they operate as social enterprises, including:

  • Clear social aims and community benefit noted in governing document
  • Trading activities which form a significant part of income
  • Assets and/or profits used and retained for the benefit of the community
  • Specific power to borrow

A wide variety of organisational structures can apply including charities, community interest companies, companies limited by guarantee, industrial and provident societies. The Fund will not provide finance to individuals, unincorporated entities or private/statutory sector organisations.

Key attributes of the Fund:

  • Blended loan/grant of between £10,000 to £100,000
  • The potential of a grant of up 30% of the loan amount
  • Term of between 1 and 5 years
  • Unsecured facility
  • Support with initial and ongoing financial planning
  • Flexible and tailored packages
  • Fixed rates and terms – flat interest rate of 5%
  • Funds reinvested in the sector
  • Investment readiness and support which will be provided by Kent Community Foundation’s Grants and Social Loans Manager
For further information, please get in touch with James Horne, Grants and Social Loans Manager01303 815 153james@kentcf.org.uk


A range of factors will determine bespoke terms for each applicant. We anticipate most loans will be unsecured with repayment to be made over 2-5 years. A modest set-up fee may be payable for the business support that is provided.

Kent County Council logo

The scheme, delivered by Kent Community Foundation, was originally established with funding from Kent County Council in 2012. Further funding from Big Lottery Fund and Big Society Capital, managed by Access was injected in 2017. 

Since the original launch of our social lending programme, Kent Community Foundation has supported over 250 organisations and has provided loans and grants to the value of £3.3 million.

Alongside the loan from Kent Community Foundation we also received a lot of support and mentoring for where we could take the charity in terms of developing the services that we offered. The mentoring and support we got made us think wider and into the long-term and helped us to take that leap of faith in borrowing the money, knowing what we could do with it made a huge difference, not just to us as a charity, but to how I felt personally as the Director taking the charity forward.

Katrina Adams, Operations Director – We are Beams

Our experience of KCF and the loan fund service was very positive and we have actually recommended KCF to others. I had never run a business and my weakness was book keeping, KCF were aware of this from the start and focussed on support in this area. KCF were incredibly supportive and met us times that were convenient to us. They gave us a wealth of knowledge and information, emailing links to websites that they thought would be helpful to us. They talked us through other services and gave us lots of general information about how things could be done or what was working or even things that didn’t work, which was equally important at the time. They looked over our business plan and sent back constructive critique. They supported us a lot and in the first year stayed in regular contact, giving us feedback and helping us stay on track.

Louisa Fry, Wood N Ware

KSELF was a game changer for us, funding the administration, systems, skills and team needed to reach many more young people. Thinking of the six who were overjoyed to get jobs last year, we simply could not have done it without the loan. James took great care to understand our methods, cash flow, and the challenges of education funding. His affirmation and rigour, and a kind visit from the loan panel Chair, made us feel genuinely backed during stressful times. KCF went further, connecting us with employers, influencers, and other funding. Our deepest thanks go to James and all at KCF for making our future growth and impact possible.

Matt Clifton, bemix

It has been the most wonderful facility and has made able for us to run every day of the year. When we calculated how much we lost through bad weather, in the winter it was up to 70% but people still wanted to come. KCF were invaluable in their help, their vision, their ability to empathise with what we wanted to do and we can’t praise them more highly. We are very grateful for what they have been able to help us provide.

Jo Murrell, Alkham Valley Community Project

MASSIVE 'thank you ' to everyone at Kent Community Foundation. Your funding support is HUGELY appreciated and has enabled us to get into the heart of local communities with REAL, affordable, healthy and tasty food that does so much more than feed people.

Community chef Mike Spackman, Sheppey Matters

KCF's enthusiasm for what we are doing and hoping to do, coupled with helpful advice, gave us the confidence to take this daunting step which has paid off.

Liz Turner, Octopus Foundation

It's great having a foundation that empowers organisations and charities in our community to make real positive differences and changes!

Tom, MMK Mind