Funded Work

Round 2

Latest Funding Round 2

In the second round of funding in February and May 2018, 25 grants totalling £1,045,290 were made to voluntary sector infrastructure, community foundations and membership bodies to enable them to develop shared approaches to engage with social investment.

Total amount requested £3.3m

Average grant request £40k

  • 85 Applications Received
  • 33 full grant applications requested
  • 10 applications in Tranche 1
  • 23 applications in Tranche 2

Regional Spread

%

79% of 85 proposals were from outside London

Funded Work Round 2

Project: Investing in Social Enterprise
Grant: £43,200

This project focus is on capacity building to provide technical skills and support to VCSE organisations in Wolverhampton to be investment ready to deliver public sector and other contracts. WVSC will work in partnership and share information on its project with Birmingham Voluntary Service Council (BVSC).

The project will employ a part-time Social Enterprise and Investment Adviser to work alongside a consultant delivering technical support. The Adviser will increase awareness of social investment through the WVSC website, creating specific pages for this activity, social media, mailings and networking meetings. Interested groups will then attend social investment events, seek investment readiness consultancy support, one-to-one and peer support. VCSEs already delivering public service and other contracts will be recruited to provide peer support to new participants. Bursaries will be made available to VCSEs that require additional consultancy to develop new revenue streams or build capacity in relation to social investment and to VCSEs that commit to delivering peer support to newer entrants to social investment. WVSC will refer and support VCSEs applying to social investment intermediaries. WVSC will also develop a social investment resource pack, drawing together existing available resources, and develop links to social investors to enable collaboration and information exchange.

WVSC will further develop its expertise in relation to social investment and it will share its knowledge and practical experience of engaging more directly with social investment with BVSC. Many of the organisations will be involved in consortia across the Black Country and will develop skills and knowledge to harness that track record to secure social investment to grow their activities and bid for public sector and other contracts. Social investors will have access to a larger pool of investment opportunities and the resource pack will be available to groups beyond this grant.

Capacity Building, Round 2
Project: Sefton Social Investment Development Project
Grant: £51,500

Sefton Council for Voluntary Service will explore and test local social investment models that increase community resilience through prevention and early intervention. It will help to develop the Sefton Social Investment Development Partnership (SSIDP), a collaboration between Sefton CVS, Capacity: the Public Services Lab, Sefton Council and the Social Stock Exchange, to develop “new ways of working and new models of finance”. Other SSIDP focused activities will include: building the interest and engagement of social investors in the challenges and opportunities in Sefton; work with the Community Foundation for Merseyside to encourage new entrants (investors and investees) into the social investment market; develop social market potential by mapping potential investment opportunities; bring networks together to consider and respond to potential opportunities.

Sefton CVS also plans to identify ten groups with growth potential for which it will provide intensive capacity building support. The expectation is that this will give rise to five proposals that are feasible for social investment. It will also: develop information and training packages; create a forum for under-represented groups; integrate social investment into its standard support package; and hold social investment workshops for commissioners. It will also establish a local social investment forum of commissioners, providers, communities and investors to collaborate on better solutions for local people. The Merseyside Funding Information Portal, which currently provides grant and contract information and resources, will be updated to provide similar information about social investment.

Sefton CVS expects the project will lead to a more accessible, mission driven, social investment market; lower social investment transaction costs; a more resilient VCSFE sector; wider access to social investment; an increased number of social businesses; a greater number of joint ventures; and a more informed social investment market.

Capacity Building, Round 2
Project: Knowledge and skills for social investment and enterprise
Grant: £61,000

The project aims to connect the community enterprise sector with knowledge, skills and confidence to seek social investment. The project will provide a framework, resources and a website platform for community organisations to collaborate with peers so that they can take the next step towards seeking social investment. In Spring 2018, Locality will launch a new website to facilitate peer connections and collaboration, and a diagnostic tool, Lighthouse, an online resource that allows community organisations to identify organisational strengths and weaknesses. Locality will supplement this website with practical resources that are collaboratively produced by community organisations and social investors. A key element of the project is the peer to peer engagement to showcase exemplar community enterprises that have made use of social investment or new revenue streams through enterprise. Key areas for knowledge and skill development in relation to social investment will include financial modelling and resilience, investment structuring, business planning and ownership of land and buildings.

The overall aim is to raise the confidence and capacity of community organisations to develop financial strength and resilience, at scale. Locality expects to increase the knowledge and skills of community organisations to seek social investment through practical support and better understanding of organisational strengths and weaknesses.

Capacity Building, Round 2
Project: Supporting Social Investment in Suffolk
Grant: £60,000

Community Action Suffolk (CAS) aims to increase the number of organisations in Suffolk receiving social investment. To do this, the project will work with both sides of the social investment market: to provide diagnostic and investment-readiness support for potential investees, and to extend the range of social investment offerings in Suffolk.

The project will be delivered by CAS, in partnership with a number of local organisations and agencies, and the main part of the grant will be used to fund a new post of Social Investment Officer who will coordinate the work and, importantly, act as a bridge to match needs of VCSE organisations with the development of social investment models and offers. Activities will include mapping current social investment opportunities and, on the investee side, consultation and analysis of need, delivering awareness raising and investment readiness training to local and establishing peer support networks.

On the investor side, the project will include exploring how needs can be met through different social investment products with the aim of developing a “step up fund” and/or blended finance.  Finally, the partnership will produce a Suffolk VCSE Social Finance Strategy, which will form part of the County Council’s overall Finance Strategy. With this project CAS expects that the understanding of impact measurement will be improved both for investors and investees, and the social investment landscape in Suffolk will be larger and better understood, with an increased amount of social investment coming into the county.

Capacity Building, Round 2
Project: Gearing Up!
Grant: £39,000

 

CERT aims to address VCSE risk aversion and concerns in relation to social investment, through structured peer visits and masterclasses. It will deliver a one-year modular programme that participants can complete in full or in part, to raise awareness, build capacity and assist enterprise development. The programme will consist of structured visits by VCSEs to exemplar peers that have successfully taken on social investment, created trading arms, won public sector contracts or built sustainable income streams and a complementary series of master class workshops that examine some of the key themes in more detail. Key Fund will provide specialist input into the design and will be available at each workshop.

CERT will require the participation of Trustees as well as members of executive teams to ensure strategic understanding and commitment to any investment propositions developed through the programme. Participants will be offered support to develop their propositions and Key Fund will act as an investment broker, where it is unable to provide social investment itself. The aim is to connect potential investees to an investor at an early stage of development and as a result, ensure high-quality applications based on sound planning and realistic market research.

The project expects that participants will gain the confidence and ambition to consider social investment by equipping them with the skills to assess and manage the risks so that they are in a better position to take on social finance.

Capacity Building, Round 2

Project: Building Community Assets
Grant: £42,000 

Wessex Community Assets (WCA) is a company limited by guarantee, incorporated and registered as a Co-operative and Community Benefit Society. It is regulated by to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). It was formed in 2004 as part of the Wessex Reinvestment Trust (WRT) (2001) group of companies. It operates solely in Devon, Dorset and Somerset to encourage and develop community owned assets. The directors are all practitioners with experience of creating community businesses that address local needs.

The project will seek to increase the range of finance available to community enterprises to include: community share offers; support for community enterprises struggling to be investment ready and experiencing difficulties finding and commissioning appropriate professional services and advisers; The aim is to address the need for local technical support and learning opportunities for volunteer-led organisations and to create networks across the sub-region to address project isolation and skills development.

Community enterprises will be drawn from local themes of food/retail and food distribution, workspace, community housing, community energy and woodlands. Mentors will be recruited from community projects that have previously been supported, to form a peer-to-peer network of capacity building support. The project will employ a co-ordinator and a web-designer

Capacity Building, Round 2

Project: The Communities of Practice Project
Grant: £54,000 

Liverpool Charity and Voluntary Services (LCVS) is a registered charity that seeks to improve the well-being of individuals and communities in Liverpool through supporting and encouraging charitable giving and voluntary action. LCVS provides support, advice, training, networking and representation for individuals and charitable organisations across the City region. It also claims to have helped donors distribute over £4 million every year to charitable organisations. The organisation’s main focus is on health, education, income stability and culture, which it considers the cornerstones to the well-being of individuals and stronger communities. The aim of the project is to help VCSE organisations in the North West explore how social investment might help them meet their objectives by supporting business development, increased social impact and sustainability. The project will use established Community of Practice (CoP) learning partnerships of local VCSEs to explore issues identified by recent LCVS research. They will consider income generation ideas and how social finance could help organisations to achieve greater financial resilience. The sessions will also address gaps in information, skills or experience that organisations face in developing enterprise-based services as well as potential capacity building obstacles such as legal models for delivery, charging policies and evaluation.

Capacity Building, Round 2
Data Sharing

Diversity

Project: Social Investment Connect
Grant: £59,900 

Black South West Network (BSWN) is a registered charity and company limited by guarantee registered in 2008. Based in Bristol, it exists to support and promote BAME not for profit organisations across the whole of the South West. It leads on race equality research, acting as the policy voice and brokering relationships with statutory and private organisations with members and non-members. It is the last remaining BAME regional infrastructure organisation.

The project will provide BAME VCSEs across the South West with information and support on social investment; identify investment ready organisations and link these enterprises to funders. BSWN will carry out research to map the South West BAME social enterprise sector, working with School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE Dartington Hall), which was a partner in the equality impact investing work funded by the Connect Fund. This will identify the particular barriers BAME organisations face and will provide information and guidance to funders to improve their funding to BAME social enterprises.

BSWN will undertake a diagnostic process to identify organisations that are investment ready and broker social enterprise mentors to work with them. The project expects to see a step change in BAME social enterprises being interested in social finance, more being investment ready and successful.

Diversity, Round 2
Project: Sustainable LGBT Futures
Grant: £50,000

The project aims to train LGBT Consortium staff to build knowledge in social investment finance and support VCSE members to achieve social investment. The project will listen to members and learn what the specific issues are that prevent them from accessing social investment finance. The learning will be translated to an LGBT Investment Strategy and LGBT Consortium will create LGBT social investment networks, offer brokerage between potential LGBT investors and members, training and online resources, and consider establishing itself as a social investment intermediary.

Resources will be made LGBT-friendly and published for the sector along with examples of how other equality sector organisations have used repayable finance. Social finance and investment will be seen as an integral part of a sustainable funding mix by different types of LGBT organisations.  Key outcomes of the project are expected to be: connections will be made to investors and funders; the wider social investment market better understands LGBT, creating diversity and innovation and; LGBT organisations are confident when accessing specialist advice around social investment.

Diversity, Round 2
Project: Disabled People’s Organisations and Social Investment
Grant: £60,000

The project aims to research and explore practical means through which user-led organisations (ULOs) can better engage with social investment, and to develop Disability Rights UK (DRUK) as a social investment broker. DRUK will gather evidence from ULOs to determine their levels of awareness, perceptions and experience with social investment and identify clusters of organisations that are likely to find social investment useful and appropriate. DRUK also want to scope and segment ULOs to understand how they could better advise, serve and broker social investment for their member base via improved relationships with social investment intermediaries. An element of the project involves determining barriers to and opportunities for social investment, both in terms of making it more accessible and inclusive, and identifying new product development recommendations that better recognise equality and diversity.

DRUK would like to become the ‘go to’ organisation to support ULOs with social investment advice and guidance; to be positioned as the ‘voice’ of the disability sector to work with social investment intermediaries to improve and expand their offer; to shift the culture and awareness of key players in the social investment sector to make current and future social investment products and information more inclusive and accessible; and to improve engagement of the segments of ULOs most likely to benefit from social investment.

Diversity, Round 2
Project: Connecting BME Entrepreneurs to Social Investment
Grant: £24,300

The project will deliver an action learning study that will explore the social investment support requirements of black, minority and ethnic (BME) VCSE groups. The intention is to recruit 20 BME social entrepreneurs with a range of experiences, where each participant will be interviewed (one-to-one and in focus groups) by the research team to establish their experience of social investment and associated support offers, the barriers they encountered and what may need to change in order for them to realise their objectives. During the initial phase of the project the research team will also map the availability and accessibility of specialist BME support services. Participants will then be supported through a range of ‘quick win’ developmental interventions, such as peer support, mentoring, shadowing, introductions to skill advisers and support with applications, each aimed at improving their investment readiness.

Intelligence will be fed into the newly-created Social Investment Intelligence Network (SIIN), which the Connect Fund also supports. A special Greater Manchester BME network event will be held to showcase the findings from the project. The project expects that BME VCSE organisations will be more aware of specialist support and social investment opportunities in Greater Manchester; that other under-represented groups interested in social investment and /or ethical trading will have a forum to raise access issues. The final report will provide the evidence necessary to attract social investment and will inform Greater Manchester’s Social Enterprise Strategy. It will also provide support bodies and social investors with a body of research to help them design products and services that address the needs of BME VCSE organisations.

Diversity, Round 2

Project: On An Equal Footing – Social Investment for All
Grant: £34,700 

Lincolnshire Community Foundation (LCF) is a registered charity and community foundation that uses its influence and resources to mobilise local communities at all levels, from setting up a self-help group to building and developing successful social enterprises. LCF has access to a large number of donors, philanthropists and grant makers, who may provide cornerstone investment in social investment opportunities. LCF is building the foundation into a local access point for organisations seeking information and support on social investment.

The project will support women and women-led organisations within the community sector to access social investment opportunities, build exciting, innovative projects, and deliver outcomes for people that will generate social benefits. As part of the Access Reach Fund, LCF is working with around 20 social enterprises in its immediate pipeline, 70% of which are women-led. LCF will provide dedicated support to allow these enterprises to access social investment on an equal footing, and to empower them to take their ideas forward in a male dominated marketplace.

LCF is part of the UK Community Foundations pilot to explore how local philanthropic capital could be used to stimulate social enterprise.

Diversity, Round 2

Project: Shifting Gears
Grant: £44,240 

Voice4Change England (V4CE) is a registered charity set up in 2007 to support and advocate on behalf of Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) voluntary and community sector organisations and social enterprises (VCSEs). The aim is to build a stronger and inclusive civil society to improve the life outcomes for BME and other populations subject to disadvantage and discrimination. V4CE does this in a number of ways, including enhancing public policy; supporting BME-led self-organised action and engagement; and contributing to a constructive discourse about race inequality and racism.

The project will engage BME VCSEs to improve take up social investment through the right service product design for varied communities. V4CE has identified the need to raise awareness of the possibilities that social investment could offer BME sector organisations which are in a position to trade and take on repayable finance. V4CE believes there is also a need to create and ensure a steady pipeline of VCSEs capable of moving to investment, through setting up a pre-investment development programme to become investment ready.

The project will have a specific focus on community asset transfers (CATs) to BME communities and will culminate in a national event which will to bring together a collection of some of the most advanced BME CAT projects to compare experiences, challenges and solutions.

Diversity, Round 2
Data Sharing

Skill development

Project: Invest4Good Peterborough & Wider Cambridgeshire
Grant: £21,000

PCVS aims to support the growth of social investment in Peterborough and Cambridgeshire, by delivering a capacity-building project, specifically for the health and social care sector in the area, with a series of one-day workshops (overview of social investment, a SIB and outcomes-based payment session, ideas testing day, business planning workshop and a dry run for social investment propositions). The project will culminate in a half-day conference at which the sector will be consulted on next steps for social investment.

Like other local organisations, PCVS has identified lack of opportunity for small investments to provide opportunities for organisations to test the water. It plans to work up a business plan for micro payment by results (less than £50,000 value) to establish proof of concept. PCVS also set up the Peterborough Plus Consortium (a VCSE joint venture geared towards large scale contracts, which has secured a £1 million employment support contract) and is hopeful of a £9 million Social Impact Bond (SIB) for social prescribing being launched following its success in getting to the development stage of the Life Chances Fund.

The project expects to increase awareness of social investment among health and social care organisations in Peterborough and the surrounding area, with 75 organisations engaging in awareness-raising events, 10 organisations receiving intensive training, of which 6 going on to secure social investment or report they are closer to doing so. PCVS will benefit as the experience of running the programme will help it in its ambition to become a SIFI. Local people will benefit, particularly if the SIB comes off and a greater range of organisations are able to offer social prescribing with measurable outcomes.

Round 2, Skill Development
Project: Medway VCSE Social Investment Champion Programme
Grant: £21,000

Medway Voluntary Action (MVA) will create a social enterprise champions programme by recruiting local sector leaders who will be trained to act as advocates and mentors for social investment. Support will be available via a mix of one-to-one support, website resources and promoting best practice and shared learning.

MVA will facilitate the delivery of the program using its existing communication mechanisms, training service arm and relationship with the VCSE leaders network. Core to the programme will be an event on social enterprise with keynote speakers and 4 preparatory workshops on subjects related to social enterprise. MVA will then create learning partnerships by inviting event attendees to apply for mentoring support from the champions. Champions will be trained to support VCSEs on types of borrowing, opportunities and risks, what is required in order to apply to social investment, measuring social impact, current funds and application processes. As a result of this project, MVA expects to leave a legacy of information, advice and example organisations that will help to inspire future local entrepreneurs.

MVA expects small to medium-sized VCSE organisations in Medway to have a greater ability to explore and access social investment; which in turn will help increase the sustainability of those organisations and the services/support they provide to local beneficiaries. MVA will make the resources and advice on social investment readily accessible in the future along with its expanded in-house capacity to support social investment.

Round 2, Skill Development
Project: The East Sussex Social Enterprise Support Service (SESS)
Grant: £31,650

Hastings Voluntary Action will develop a Social Enterprise Support Service (SESS) to strengthen relationships between social enterprises and social investment intermediaries. The service will create a member-led network of social enterprises to gather information, providing training and support, influence policy and promote the social enterprise sector. A key objective will be for the SESS to contribute to regional economic strategies through the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), to better connect social enterprises to social investment intermediaries, and to foster enterprise development for improved financial resilience.

HVA will work with a social enterprise partner Hastings Works (The Work People) to host 4 networking events per year; recruit and train 12 Social Investment Champions to build in-depth knowledge of financial and support opportunities for the social enterprise sector; provide social enterprises with bespoke one-to-one support; and make use of a web-based online forum to develop a learning community of local social entrepreneurs.

HVA expects that the SESS will increase collaboration and support to the local social enterprise sector; raise awareness and take up of social investment; encourage new forms of generating revenue and promote enterprise development as a means to enhance financial resilience.

Round 2, Skill Development
Project: Social Investment Breakthrough
Grant: £43,200

The project aims to boost demand for social investment among smaller voluntary, community and social enterprises (VCSEs) and increase the supply of suitable social investment products in South Yorkshire. The project aims will be delivered by: developing the skills of boards and senior management to make critical and informed decisions about social investment; researching the nature of the demand for social investment, particularly among new social enterprises; fostering engagement between social investors, support providers and VCSE organisations in the co-design investment products; and expanding the number of VCSE organisations able to identify the suitable social investment products and apply successfully for it.

Delivery methods include: research into the level and nature of latent demand to determine what would make social investment more attractive; supply side research into how to make social investment more readily accessible; skill building workshops aimed at Boards and senior managers; one-to-one and small group mentoring sessions to help participants develop investible propositions; facilitated learning circles that bring together VCSE organisations, social investors and intermediaries.

Groundwork South Yorkshire expects: to improve the leadership and governance capabilities of participants; and that participants will report a clearer sense of direction and improved growth strategy. It also expects social investors engaged in the programme will innovate and broaden their offer as a result.

Round 2, Skill Development
Project: Accessible Social Investment for Birmingham
Grant: £50,000

The project will build BVSC staff expertise on social investment to pilot VCSE enterprise development support. Initially, BVSC will engage with OPM (Traverse) to provide training and development to BVSC to build the capacity of internal staff to embed social finance knowledge and skills in the organisation. This will progress to the development and delivery of a pilot project for BVSC’s VCSE members to raise awareness of social investment, and to build consortia or collaborative social enterprise projects across the West Midlands Combined Authority area.

The project will carry out a stakeholder benchmarking exercise across the region; map BVSC staff’s social investment knowledge and develop an internal training programme to build staff skills; develop an external training programme for the VCSE sector more widely; develop a web resource on the existing website; develop a diagnostic tool which will enable local VCSE organisations to assess their readiness to engage with social investment opportunities; review of current social investment interventions in region to determine priority areas for future work; and develop two collaborative projects with VCSEs to foster enterprise development and progress towards social investment.

The project aims to deliver high-quality social investment advice and better engage member VCSEs; and give access to training on social investment to organisations in West Midlands so they are better equipped to take a more proactive and intelligent approach to engaging with social finance. BVSC will work in partnership and share information on its project with Wolverhampton Voluntary Service Council (WVSC).

Round 2, Skill Development

Project: Market Making for Social Investment
Grant: £15,000 

The School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE) in Yorkshire and Humber is a company limited by guarantee that is part of the larger SSE network. The SSE is a social membership organisation with independent and locally governed schools across the UK, Canada and India. The organisation supports social entrepreneurs to create change in their communities and improve the lives of others. With SSE’s help to start, scale-up and sustain their organisations, social entrepreneurs are able to have an impact on urgent issues, such as poverty, health, education and the environment.

To tackle barriers to social investment, SSEYH will work with a select group of up to 10 social entrepreneurs who will be invited to participate in a 6-day action learning programme with one other individual from their organisation, ideally a Board member. By introducing social investment much earlier in the growth phase of a social enterprise, the programme is intended to expand the social investment market beyond the selected cohort by creating a ripple effect that will encourage the cohort’s peers to exploring social investment as an option to support future growth.

The six-day learning programme will consist of four programme days and two action learning days. The focus of the four days will be on visioning (what is the long term aspirations of the social enterprise, what growth is anticipated, over what period); assessing finances (understanding the current financial position, making financial projections for the future, what options are viable); overcoming barriers/building confidence around the social investment proposition; and bringing clarity to next steps towards investment readiness. SSEYH will invite a range of experts, in this case social entrepreneurs, who have experienced social investment and are willing to share their journey with participants.

Round 2, Skill Development
Data Sharing

Networks

Project: SIMPL. Exeter (Social Investment Market Place Links)
Grant: £40,000

This is a joint initiative across Exeter CVS, Plymouth VCSE and Torbay Community Development Trust to create a viable and vibrant market for social finance in Exeter and Devon. The project involves developing a sub-regional Social Investment Market Place Links (SIMPL) approach that brings commissioners, investors and VCSE providers to deliver a “buy social” strategy. The project will develop a market for smaller VCSEs to access social investment finance by creating links to new investors able to offer smaller sums, and fostering enterprise networks that deliver across the joint sub-regional footprints of health, police and crime to address local issues related to housing, addiction, criminal justice and health inequalities.

The project will:

  • engage commissioners, build their skills and knowledge making them less risk-averse to social investment finance and better able to use combined data – a commissioners’ summit will be held to bring common themes together and share learning;
  • engage VCSEs, building their skills and knowledge, offering training and resources in relation to social investment;
  • emerging social entrepreneurs and VCSEs will be supported through training, one-to-one support and networking;
  • work with South West Academic Health Science Network (SWAHSN), a membership network of various NHS trusts with the aim of improving health and creating wealth in the South West, and Resonance Social Investment Funds to develop sub-regional investment strategies and support for creating social economy responses to social and community challenges (ageing, housing etc.);
  • develop a joint web platform using separate SWAHSN funds to host tools and resources and provide brokerage for partnerships and collaborations.

The SIMPL group of voluntary sector infrastructure organisations anticipate a range of shared impacts, which include: a) Provider markets become more diverse in the local commissioning space. b) VCSEs develop a greater understanding of opportunities for social investment and adapt their business models. c) New social businesses have more entry points to local markets, are better connected to build collaboration and to share learning and support. d) Commissioners have better knowledge, awareness and understanding of the role of social investment leading to better outcomes. e) Investors better understand market needs, adapting models and products through dialogue with providers and commissioners. f) A more diverse range of products are created. g) Learning emerges locally to inform all actors within the social marketplace. Learning is evaluated and shared widely. h) Community infrastructure (both VCSE sector support, and social enterprise networks) are strengthened and recognised by all actors within the social marketplace as pro-active brokers to respond to social need.

Networks, Round 2
Project: SIMPL. Plymouth (Social Investment Market Place Links)
Grant: £38,600

This is a joint initiative across Exeter CVS, Plymouth VCSE and Torbay Community Development Trust to create a viable and vibrant market for social finance in Exeter and Devon. The project involves developing a sub-regional Social Investment Market Place Links (SIMPL) approach that brings commissioners, investors and VCSE providers to deliver a “buy social” strategy. The project will develop a market for smaller VCSEs to access social investment finance by creating links to new investors able to offer smaller sums, and fostering enterprise networks that deliver across the joint sub-regional footprints of health, police and crime to address local issues related to housing, addiction, criminal justice and health inequalities.

The project will:

  • engage commissioners, build their skills and knowledge making them less risk-averse to social investment finance and better able to use combined data – a commissioners’ summit will be held to bring common themes together and share learning;
  • engage VCSEs, building their skills and knowledge, offering training and resources in relation to social investment;
  • emerging social entrepreneurs and VCSEs will be supported through training, one-to-one support and networking;
  • work with South West Academic Health Science Network (SWAHSN), a membership network of various NHS trusts with the aim of improving health and creating wealth in the South West, and Resonance Social Investment Funds to develop sub-regional investment strategies and support for creating social economy responses to social and community challenges (ageing, housing etc.);
  • develop a joint web platform using separate SWAHSN funds to host tools and resources and provide brokerage for partnerships and collaborations.

The SIMPL group of voluntary sector infrastructure organisations anticipate a range of shared impacts, which include: a) Provider markets become more diverse in the local commissioning space. b) VCSEs develop a greater understanding of opportunities for social investment and adapt their business models. c) New social businesses have more entry points to local markets, are better connected to build collaboration and to share learning and support. d) Commissioners have better knowledge, awareness and understanding of the role of social investment leading to better outcomes. e) Investors better understand market needs, adapting models and products through dialogue with providers and commissioners. f) A more diverse range of products are created. g) Learning emerges locally to inform all actors within the social marketplace. Learning is evaluated and shared widely. h) Community infrastructure (both VCSE sector support, and social enterprise networks) are strengthened and recognised by all actors within the social marketplace as pro-active brokers to respond to social need.

Networks, Round 2
Project: Bridge to Social Investment
Grant: £31,000

The project aims to raise awareness of social investment (SI), develop capacity for trading for sustainable income (and to make repayable investment a viable option) and develop a social enterprise network in Essex to provide peer support, lobby for increased resources, support and use of social enterprises by commissioning agencies.

SEEE’s project is aiming to influence both the supply and demand sides. Activities aimed at social enterprises will include holding an event to raise awareness of SI and social enterprise (SE); reviewing existing data on SE activity in Essex; sharing information with local enterprises and potential users of SE and SI about what works and what support is available; delivering a development programme targeted at specific local identified need; linking social enterprises to existing support; and signposting enterprises to potential funders including social investors and commissioners.

On the funding side, SEEE will work with the Essex Growth Hub, helping it to have a better understanding of social enterprises. SEEE will use its own links, and those of the growth hub, to try to influence better commissioning. SEEE will also promote the concept of social enterprise, encouraging more individuals and organisations to “buy social”, both directly or via supply chains. Finally, it will be working with a local large health provider (Provide CIC) which currently has a small grant scheme which Provide CIC hopes to be able to (at least partially) transform into a repayable finance scheme for smaller organisations.

The primary purpose of the project is to create a sustainable thriving social enterprise network in Essex, increasing capacity for, and awareness and use of social investment and a social enterprise approach.

Networks, Round 2
Project: SIMPL. Torbay (Social Investment Market Place Links)
Grant: £40,000

This is a joint initiative across Exeter CVS, Plymouth VCSE and Torbay Community Development Trust to create a viable and vibrant market for social finance in Exeter and Devon. The project involves developing a sub-regional Social Investment Market Place Links (SIMPL) approach that brings commissioners, investors and VCSE providers to deliver a “buy social” strategy. The project will develop a market for smaller VCSEs to access social investment finance by creating links to new investors able to offer smaller sums, and fostering enterprise networks that deliver across the joint sub-regional footprints of health, police and crime to address local issues related to housing, addiction, criminal justice and health inequalities.

The project will:

  • engage commissioners, build their skills and knowledge making them less risk-averse to social investment finance and better able to use combined data – a commissioners’ summit will be held to bring common themes together and share learning;
  • engage VCSEs, building their skills and knowledge, offering training and resources in relation to social investment;
  • emerging social entrepreneurs and VCSEs will be supported through training, one-to-one support and networking;
  • work with South West Academic Health Science Network (SWAHSN), a membership network of various NHS trusts with the aim of improving health and creating wealth in the South West, and Resonance Social Investment Funds to develop sub-regional investment strategies and support for creating social economy responses to social and community challenges (ageing, housing etc.);
  • develop a joint web platform using separate SWAHSN funds to host tools and resources and provide brokerage for partnerships and collaborations.

The SIMPL group of voluntary sector infrastructure organisations anticipate a range of shared impacts, which include: a) Provider markets become more diverse in the local commissioning space. b) VCSEs develop a greater understanding of opportunities for social investment and adapt their business models. c) New social businesses have more entry points to local markets, are better connected to build collaboration and to share learning and support. d) Commissioners have better knowledge, awareness and understanding of the role of social investment leading to better outcomes. e) Investors better understand market needs, adapting models and products through dialogue with providers and commissioners. f) A more diverse range of products are created. g) Learning emerges locally to inform all actors within the social marketplace. Learning is evaluated and shared widely. h) Community infrastructure (both VCSE sector support, and social enterprise networks) are strengthened and recognised by all actors within the social marketplace as pro-active brokers to respond to social need.

Networks, Round 2

Project: Social Investment Pilot for Community Foundations
Grant: £50,000 

UK Community Foundations (UKCF) is a registered charity that acts as the national network organisation representing 46 community foundations (CFs) around the UK. The organisation is dedicated to working locally to inspire philanthropic donors to give back to their community.

UKCF wants to grow the confidence of member CFs to engage in social investment, to stimulate the opportunity for smaller VCSEs to consider trading as a part of their income mix, and to help cascade models to other CFs ready to consider social loans. CFs are particularly well placed to help small and medium-sized VCSEs understand whether social finance is right for them, and the pilot would help change the current CF culture so that social investment is seen as an important tool for CFs.

This pilot will help UKCF explore how philanthropic capital could be used to stimulate local enterprise, including how best to use SITR, crowdfunding, and partnerships with social investment intermediaries as methods to draw in new donors, and persuade donors to invest in different ways in their communities.

Networks, Round 2

Project: North East – Investing for social impact
Grant: £44,240 

Voluntary Organisations’ Network North East (VONNE) is a registered charity that acts as the support body for the voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) sector in the North East. Its mission is to support and promote a thriving, effective VCSE sector in the North East of England. One of its key activities is to engage and collaborate with external stakeholders to support the sector to be effective, ambitious and enterprising.

VONNE will work with key VCSE stakeholders to transform attitudes to social investment in the North East. This project is trialling new approaches to engagement and support of the VCSE sector to adopt more enterprising models of operation, leading to a greater appetite for social investment for sustainability and growth. Underpinning the range of activities detailed below will be the creation of a regional social investment strategy. The strategy will be informed by research evidence as well as the North East Enterprise Framework, which illustrates the growth journey of VCSE organisations.

VONNE will bring together a network of regional social investors and intermediaries to share challenges, opportunities, and develop a regional social investment strategy. VONNE will create a ‘buddy’ system to support new investees with colleagues from within the sector who have already raised investment; fund and support this and use the learning to create new resources and inform the investment landscape.

Networks, Round 2