MIDAS SHARE TIPS: Hogwarts castle’s garden bond will grow 5% rewards
Alnwick Castle has been home to the Duke and Duchess of Northumberland for more than 700 years.
The second largest inhabited castle in Britain, its fame has spread worldwide, as it has also been used to film both Harry Potter and Downton Abbey.
The Castle sits on the Northumberland Estates, 100,000 acres of land in a region of the country that has been economically depressed for decades. Almost 25 years ago, the Duchess of Northumberland decided to use some of that acreage to help local communities.
She set up the Alnwick Garden Trust, one of the most beautiful gardens in the country, using the income to fund a range of programmes to help young and old in the local area.
Alnwick Castle has been home to the Duke and Duchess of Northumberland for more than 700 years, it has also been used to film both Harry Potter and Downton Abbey
Now the Trust is launching a ten-year retail charity bond, paying a 5per cent coupon, with a minimum subscription of £500, going up in multiples of £100 thereafter.
Investors going for the minimum amount will therefore receive coupon (or interest) payments of £25 a year, paid in two instalments annually, just like dividend income. Their initial capital should be repaid in 2030 but investors can sell their bonds at any time, just like shares.
More than 300,000 visitors come to Alnwick Garden every year to see attractions such as the largest treehouse in the world, the world’s biggest Taihaku cherry orchard and the poison garden, where every plant can be fatal.
Ticket sales have allowed the Trust to operate programmes such as Roots and Shoots, which is designed to combat obesity by teaching children about healthy eating and active lifestyles and a Drop In Centre, where lonely older people can socialise.
There are also drug education programmes, centred on the Poison Garden, and gardening therapy for people with learning difficulties.
The Alnwick Garden Trust Retail Charity Bond has been launched to raise money for a new attraction, the Lilidorei Project, an all-weather play village.
This is expected to add more than 250,000 visitors to Alnwick, allowing the Trust to expand its social programmes, such as Grow into Work, which helps young adults to find local employment.
Set in a forest clearing, the play village is an ambitious scheme, incorporating a 19-metre-high play structure, a medieval style long hall, tunnel slides, climbing frames, cafes and shops.
The Project will also create almost 300 new jobs, 80 per cent of which will be filled by veterans from the Armed Forces.
Alnwick is not just about fluffy, do-gooders. The Trust has a track record of revenue generation, with over £5million of sales last year and a surplus of £251,000 even after costs and all its social impact work.
Figures such as these provide comfort for potential bondholders. Further reassurance comes from the support of the Duchess of Northumberland. The Lilidorei project will also be part-funded by a £5million Government grant.
The retail bond is expected to raise between £10million and £15million and will be offered via firms such as AJ Bell and Equiniti.
Midas verdict: Coronavirus has driven fear through financial markets and many shares have tumbled in recent weeks.
The Alnwick Garden Trust Bond offers an alternative form of investment, with a generous annual income and the added benefit that the money will be used for a genuinely good cause.
Contact: retailcharitybonds.co.uk 01665 511350 or 01223 781312