Project: A social investment “Demonstration Fund” for Birmingham
The project aims to develop a blended finance fund for organisations tackling health inequalities and complex wellbeing issues in Birmingham. The Royal Society for Public Health (RPSH) has committed to spur innovation and social change over the next 2 years by entering into the space of social investment and develop a localised blended finance fund that will support social organisations delivering in the health sector. This will provide organisations the chance to scale and extend their reach within their localities. To achieve this RSPH will engage a wide range of partners and form a learning network to advance practical plans to create the demonstration fund. The targeted social organisations will be those that have made an impact on complex wellbeing issues and health inequalities but have restricted growth potential because of a lack of affordable finance, access to investment readiness support and understanding of growth finance options. Main focus will be on small to medium voluntary organisations and social enterprises who (typically) need between £30,000 and £50,000 in growth investment to release that potential and be positioned to win larger contracts, scale their innovative approach and possibly seek further social investment from larger loan providers at a next stage.
The focus of the Connect Fund contribution to the project will be to facilitate a partnership approach to learning and sharing of knowledge on blended finance across the sector. CF has acted to broker connections to the Healthy London Partnership which is taking a similar approach to develop a “Healthy London Fund” with Public Health England, the NHS and the Mayor of London. The learning from this initiative can be fed into the RSPH project. Our support will allow RSPH to leapfrog development of the fund by learning from this and other similar initiatives. The intent is for RSPH to learn from, and share learning with, the wider sector about how a blended finance demonstration fund can be created.
The project aims to identify the elements of a successful blended funding model, and to highlight what tailored risk finance for impact will look like so that the learning can be shared with other localities and regions. RSPH will be able to illustrate a co-designed support offer so that others might see if this kind of support is suitable in their circumstances. Six organisations will receive tailored financial support enabling them to increase their impact across their locality. There will also be a social investment network which could continue post-project funding. Finally, a localised social investment toolkit will be made available across the community and voluntary sector and a learning network established.