Charitable social enterprise, LEYF, launches charity bond as first step in next phase of growth

One of the UK’s largest charitable social enterprises, London Early Years Foundation (LEYF), is launching a £1.5 million charity bond as part of its future growth plans to transform early childhood.

Its ambition is to provide 10,000 children across Greater London with access to high-quality and affordable Early Years education, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds. This long-term strategy will more than double LEYF’s existing portfolio of 39 nurseries to approximately 80 in the future.

The charity bond offer is one of the first steps in LEYF’s forward-thinking plans to raise financing and philanthropic donations in support of this ambition. Over time, the funds will be used to acquire and integrate new nurseries into the LEYF group of nurseries, many of which would not be attractive to ‘for-profit’ nursery providers.

The seven-year bond offer is promoted by Triodos Bank through its crowdfunding platform (triodoscrowdfunding.co.uk) and will pay 5% interest annually. As with all investments, interest payments and return of capital are not guaranteed. Investors will be given the option to forgo part of the interest, by opting into a 0% or 2.5% interest rate instead. There is a £50 minimum investment, and the bond is eligible to be held in a Triodos Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) that allows interest to be received tax-free. ISA eligibility does not guarantee returns or protect consumers from losing their money.

Today, LEYF supports approximately 4,000 children through its high-quality social enterprise nurseries across 12 London boroughs. The surplus generated from its nurseries located in more affluent areas enables LEYF to cross-subsidise operations in the more deprived areas of London and maximise its social impact.

June O’Sullivan MBE, Chief Executive at LEYF, said: “We believe that the right early childhood education in the highest quality nurseries can support children to achieve their full potential. However, the sad reality is that many children from disadvantaged backgrounds or families struggling with poverty are unable to access an affordable nursery and benefit from high-quality education. That is why the essential financing raised through this bond offer will enable us to significantly increase our social impact by opening more nurseries in areas of London that need us most.”

Richard O’Brien, Corporate Finance Manager at Triodos, adds:LEYF is a great social enterprise to work with as it represents excellence in the quality of its nursery provision and innovation through its business model. This fits perfectly with the mission of Triodos Bank which is to help to create a society that protects and promotes inclusion and equality.”

Evidence shows that the first five years of a child’s life profoundly shapes their future life outcomes, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds. This is why quality early childhood education is so vital to child’s social, emotional, cognitive and physical development and building a solid and broad foundation for their lifelong learning.

High-quality nursery education is proven to benefit all children but can also mitigate some of the disadvantages that children from poorer backgrounds face. Whilst the cost of childcare is one of the key barriers which parents face when seeking employment, LEYF’s approach means that it can help tackle the cycle of poverty by offering subsidised places to children from low-income households.

The Triodos bond offer is part of a long-term strategy to raise financing in support of this growth ambition. LEYF will also be seeking philanthropic donations and new partners to support its strategy. For more information about supporting LEYF, contact partnerships@leyf.org.uk.  

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