Big Potential expands support and grants to VCSEs looking to raise social investment

13 July 2015

The Big Lottery Fund today launched the £10m Big Potential Advanced Fund. The new ‘Advanced’ route is an extension to Big Lottery Fund’s existing investment readiness programme; Big Potential. It will be supporting organisations at a more advanced stage in their social investment journey, looking to raise larger investments of over £500,000 as well as win contracts over £1m. The new advanced route of Big Potential will be available to those that are clear about how social investment could work for them and can describe a potential deal or interest from investors and need help to close that deal. Grants of up to £150,000 will be available.

Big Potential now has a total of £20m available to Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) organisations looking to get investment ready and explore new ways to finance the delivery of services which increase social impact and support those most in need. The original £10m fund will continue, offering in-depth support and grants to VCSEs looking to raise smaller amounts of repayable investment of up to £500,000 that are at an earlier stage in their social investment journey with a realistic investment proposition that can fund their growth and development but yet to determine what type of investment or deal will be appropriate. This existing support will now be delivered through the Breakthrough route of the programme which includes preliminary and investment plan grants up to £75,000.

Geeta Gopalan, Vice Chair of the England Committee at Big Lottery Fund: “Big Potential is about giving the VCSE sector the best chance possible to access and take on social investment so they can deliver greater positive change. I am delighted that, through £10 million of additional funding, organisations looking to raise bigger amounts or bid for large contracts can now receive the support they need to maximise their impact in the communities they serve.”

Jonathan Jenkins, Chief Executive of the Social Investment Business said: “Our unique experience in managing investment and contract readiness programmes such as Big Potential has shown us that they have the capacity to transform how VCSEs approach investment and/or contract opportunities; dramatically improving their chances of being successful.

Big Lottery Fund have shown that they are committed to this approach to funding VCSEs looking to raise investment and/or win contracts by providing £10million of additional funding for the Social Investment Business to manage. We expect to continue to see VCSEs scale up their operation through this funding model; enabling them to significantly grow their impact on their communities and beneficiaries.”

Big Potential is administered by the Social Investment Business in partnership with Locality, Charity Bank, Social Enterprise UK and University of Northampton, on behalf of the Big Lottery Fund.

Notes to editors

1.    The Big Lottery Fund, the largest distributor of National Lottery good cause funding, is responsible for giving out 40% of the money raised for good causes by the National Lottery.

The Fund is committed to bringing real improvements to communities and the lives of people most in need and has been rolling out grants to health, education, environment and charitable causes across the UK. Since its inception in 2004 BIG has awarded close to £6bn.

The Fund was formally established by Parliament on 1 December 2006. In the year ending 31 March 2013, 28% of total National Lottery revenue was returned to the Good Causes.

Since the National Lottery began in 1994, over £30 billion has now been raised and more than 400,000 grants awarded across arts, sport, heritage, charities, health, education and the environment.

2.    The Social Investment Business is one of the UK’s leading social investors and has invested over £340 million in charities and social enterprises since 2002. We provide simple finance to help them grow and transform the communities in which they work. We pioneer new finance solutions to increase the funds available for social investment. @TheSocialInvest.

3.    Information on how to apply to Big Potential is available at