Jumping for joy outside of newly purchased building

Case study

A SAFE BASE FOR TRAFFICKING SURVIVORS

How we helped secure a new home for Snowdrop Project to continue its vital work.

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project snapshot

Property purchase
To create a safe and welcoming base for the charity and its clients 

THE CAUSE

The Snowdrop Project is a Sheffield-based charity dedicated to providing long-term support to empower survivors of human trafficking. They work closely with clients to ensure that their complex individual needs are met through services such as casework support, counselling, community activities, home renovation services, education, training and support into employment. 

Having started in a church hall in 2012 with no money, Snowdrop now has 18 employees operating across South Yorkshire at the time of writing, supporting nearly ten times as many people. 

The charity also works to raise awareness of modern slavery, the needs of survivors and best practice for providing long-term support through social media, speaking engagements and partnerships with national organisations. 

In June 2021, the Snowdrop Project won the prestigious CSJ Award, held by the Centre for Social Justice Alliance to honour the best grassroot charities and social enterprises across Britain.
 
  
 

OUR SUPPORT

CAF Bank provided a loan of £380,000 in November 2020, repayable over 20 years, to facilitate the purchase of a former police station in Sheffield.

Snowdrop’s new home provides office space, rooms for private therapy sessions, casework and legal support, community rooms for activities, a crèche for extra support for their clients, as well as flexible space to accommodate a range of activities from trustee meetings to dance therapy sessions.

“CAF Bank's approach really made me feel listened to and cared for,"  explains Lara Bundock, Founder and CEO of Snowdrop Project. "Huge amounts of effort went in to understanding who we were and what we needed. Steve [our relationship manager] visited us personally, which really stood out compared to other lenders we approached".

“We discussed in depth possible scenarios, such as if we lost a major funder and how we would plan for that, which was a fantastic exercise that made me feel confident that we could handle any eventuality. I really didn’t expect CAF Bank to continue being so interested and invested in us after the loan provision, it’s become a really valuable working relationship.” 

“We were impressed by how dedicated Lara and the team at Snowdrop are to providing long term support for their clients,” said Sean Taylor, CAF Bank Senior Relationship Director. “I’m really pleased that they now own their own property and can provide that much needed security for their clients. We look forward to building on this existing relationship and seeing the charity grow.”

 


CAF Bank was the organisation I was most interested in working with, partly because of its charitable nature. I knew they would understand our experience and challenges as a charity

Lara Bundock
Founder and CEO of Snowdrop Project


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THE IMPACT

Snowdrop Project had previously rented premises, and their most recent office was prone to leaks. After being served notice as part of the landlord’s redevelopment plans, the charity was compelled to find a new home. 

Owning their premises will aid Snowdrop’s growth, service provision and provide much needed security. The team aims to create a stable and welcoming ‘second home’ for clients where they can feel safe and cared for, and receive the services they need.

The building itself is larger than their current needs, providing the flexibility to expand in future. They are currently renting the surplus space to organisations whose services complement Snowdrop’s, including legal support for victims of trafficking, English language services, and a period poverty organisation offering free menstrual products. An added benefit is that hiring out rooms will generate rental income, helping Snowdrop to service their loan repayments.

“I want to create a community-feel where we collaborate, share best practice and share a staff room to build relationships,” explains Lara. “We really feel that buying the building will enable us to start the next chapter for the charity, it’s really significant.”


Adapting to the pandemic

During lockdown, Snowdrop Project adapted their client services. Casework support and counselling switched to telephone support – shorter and more regular contact that provided, for some, their only external contact. Regular risk assessments were carried out to assess the mental health of the survivors during this difficult period and food drops were arranged for those self-isolating. 

A major project to create a ‘digital library’ and supply MiFi routers and tablets was launched to reduce social isolation and ensure clients could access essential public services such as schools, colleges, and GP appointments. Fundraising went online, with a virtual balloon race and pub quizzes.  Further support from Covid emergency grants helped to fund the digital library and service adaptations. Thanks to the passion and creativity of their team and the dedication of their supporters, no services were cut, and no staff needed to be furloughed. 

 
 

PROJECT TAKEAWAYS

Long-term commitment

The Snowdrop Project shows an unwavering commitment to support its clients for as long as they need, whatever challenges come their way. This new building not only provides a physical base, but offers the security and long-term stability Snowdrop’s clients need.

Building relationships

We are dedicated to building a relationship with our clients based on mutual trust and understanding. We were able to support Snowdrop Project through delays in the purchasing process and the challenges of the pandemic to ensure the charity secured their all-important new home.

Planning in an uncertain world

When making long-term investments, it’s imperative to plan for different future scenarios – including the unexpected. Planning for every eventuality can help ensure that projects are not derailed when situations change.



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