CDFA Innovation Award Winners Revealed

Elaine Rimmer and staff of Lancashire Community Finance






1 February 2012

Innovation is alive in banking sector as ‘best in class’ providers recognised

A project bringing savings of up to £3,500 to households while reducing their carbon emissions; a roadshow demonstrating how to avoid loan sharks; and a lottery scheme which invests in local job creation are among the winners of a new award showcasing the most innovative community finance providers in the UK.

Community development finance institutions – CDFIs – lend money to businesses, social enterprises and individuals who struggle to access finance from other sources – or who are vulnerable to high interest and illegal lenders.

CDFIs provide creative and innovative services to their clients. To recognise, celebrate and share this innovation the organisation which represents providers of community finance – the Community Development Finance Association – today named the winners in its Innovation Awards – showcasing ‘best in class’ community finance.

The Winners were announced at a ceremony in London last night (31st January). Sponsored by Barclays, the awards attracted impressive entries from CDFIs all over the UK.

CDFA’s chief executive Ben Hughes said:

“there is an enormously exciting future for the community finance sector.  I see our members as the powerhouse behind economic growth, providing small enterprises and citizens currently denied access to mainstream finance with access to a range of finance services that can prove life changing.

“I’m delighted that our inaugural Innovation Awards attracted such a strong range of entries from community finance providers. I congratulate the Award winners for their achievements and truly innovative approaches which are a shining example of CDFIs’ determination to improve their offer to local communities.”

Steve Cooper, Managing Director, Products and Segments, UK Retail and Business Banking at Barclays said:

“Barclays work with community development finance institutions across the UK and recognise the huge contribution they make to the local economy.  We are delighted that these awards highlight the importance of the work they do and the winning CDFIs demonstrated a real passion that has set them apart from the rest with innovative ideas that contribute to their sustainability and growth.”


Profiles of all the winners and short films showcasing their achievements are available via the links below:

Innovation in Marketing: Ulster Community Investment Trust (Belfast)

Innovation in Community Outreach: Lancashire Community Finance

Innovation in Partnerships: Northern Pinetree Trust

Innovation in Reaching New Markets: The Isle of Wight Lottery

Innovation in Technology: GLE oneLondon

Overall Winner: London Rebuilding Society’s SHIMMER project

Read the profiles of all the shortlisted candidates in our downloadable booklet


Press enquiries: Ian Best, 020 7430 0222


Notes to Editors

1. Ben Hughes, CDFA’s new chief executive, is available for interview. Please contact Fabiola Caillaud on 020 7430 0222, Ext 201 or at

2. JUST Finance, CDFA’s new manifesto for transforming local economic development, launched on Tuesday 31 January.  370,000 businesses, 3,300 social enterprises and 3 million individuals are financially excluded – but community finance can help them.  For more information, please contact Ian Best on 020 7430 0222, Ext 206 or at – or visit

3. CDFA is the membership association for community development finance institutions (CDFIs).  CDFIs lend money to businesses, social enterprises and individuals who struggle to get finance from high street banks and loan companies.  They help deprived communities by offering loans and support at an affordable rate to people who cannot access credit elsewhere.

4. Community development finance institutions disbursed £23m worth of loans to micro-enterprises and small and medium enterprises between April 2010 and March 2011, creating and saving around 1,400 businesses, 5,700 jobs and contributing £170m to the turnover of the UK economy. (CDFA, 2011)