Social investment explained with new Lottery guide

8 July 2014

The Social Investment Explained guide, produced by Social Enterprise UK, is a multi-media resource for charities and social enterprises to help them better navigate the UK’s growing social investment market, as they provide their valued services to people and communities most in need.

The free resource, including an introductory guide and case study films, is for both staff and trustees of charities and social enterprises who want an introduction to social investment, and are wondering what it can do for their organisation. It offers an overview of the UK’s social investment market in order to help VSCE organisations to establish whether and how they can make the most of social investment opportunities available to them. Get the new social investment guide from 8 July 2014.

Nat Sloane, Big Lottery Fund England Chair said:

“Social investment can offer up new funding sources for VCSE organisations and enable them to operate on a more sustainable footing, so they can better provide their services to people and communities most in need. We understand that social investment is not suitable for everyone and that venturing into the world of social investment for the first time can be a bewildering experience. With this guide we are seeking to help VCSE organisations to explore whether this path is right for them and if so, what support is on offer to enable better navigation of the market place.”

Nick Temple, Director of Business and Enterprise, Social Enterprise UK, added:

“As cuts continue to bite and traditional sources of finance shrink, connecting charities and social enterprises with social finance will be critical to their survival and growth in the coming decade. But while the social investment market is increasingly ready to invest, work is needed to create increased demand among charities and social enterprises on the frontline – this is why the invaluable materials provided by the Big Lottery Fund are so important. Social sector organisations need advice to navigate what can seem to be a daunting new world”.

Stephen Williams MP added:

“I welcome the publication of this guide, which will be of great assistance to community groups that want deliver local services or operate local community assets in an inclusive and holistic way.  Accessing finance is challenging in itself, but determining the best form for your enterprise can be daunting, particularly for groups starting out.  This guide is an excellent first step for community-led enterprises embarking on the journey of financing their projects and a valuable complement to my department’s work to ensure communities reach their full potential when utilising their Community Rights."

The guide complements education and support available through Big Potential, a £10 million fund launched by the Big Lottery Fund in early 2014 and delivered by a partnership led by the Social Investment Business to help charities and social enterprises in England get investment ready.

It also comes on hot on the heels of an announcement that the Government is setting up a £60million fund to help charities and social enterprises get ready to take social investment and the first announcements of full awards for the Outcomes Funds in June 2014. The Outcomes Funds are designed to develop Social Impact Bonds.  Big Lottery Fund will be contributing up to £40 million to these Funds through Commissioning Better Outcomes (CBO).  The CBO programme is open to expressions of interest until the end of June 2015.

The UK’s social investment market is estimated at £202m, and is increasing at 20 per cent a year. Social investments create a ‘blended’ social and financial return for social investors, helping social enterprises and charities to raise capital that can be difficult to secure from traditional investment sources and mainstream finance providers.

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