Social investment

Social investment is any investment activity that involves an expectation of both a social outcome and a financial return. The investment would usually be below market rate.

For voluntary organisations, it is repayable finance that can be used for capital investment, developing revenue funding, capacity building and other ways of improving their sustainability.

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Funding options

Big Potential

Big Potential (Advanced Route) offers grants of up to £150,000 for voluntary organisations to build their capacity to raise social investment above £500,000.

The final deadline for applications to Big Potential Advanced is midday on Wednesday 9 August 2017.

The deadline for Big Potential Breakthrough grants, supporting social investment below £500,000 has passed (30 June 2017).

Life Chances Fund

The Life Chances Fund is now open for expressions of interest for social impact bonds under six themes:

  • drug and alcohol
  • children's services
  • young people
  • early years
  • older people
  • healthy lives (which has an emphasis on social prescribing).

Expressions of interest must be submitted by midday 15 September 2017.

Access Foundation

Two funds to help organisations define and measure their social impact:

  • Impact for Growth is for charities and social enterprises that are seeking to raise investments or contracts. It includes training, grant funding and support to help organisations develop impact management systems required to meet the needs of investors or commissioners.
  • The Pathway strand is for charities, social enterprises and community businesses that are new to impact management. Using a co-design approach, Access Foundation is designing a support service which will guide you through the stages of impact management so you can get started without expensive bespoke support. This will be an iterative process of prototyping, testing and refining and they plan to work with 100+ organisations.
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