New £4m social investment grant programme launched

Access: The Foundation for Social Investment and Social Investment Business will help provide grants of up to £15,000 for charities and social enterprises

Access: The Foundation for Social Investment
Access: The Foundation for Social Investment

A £4m grant programme to help charities and social enterprises access social investment has been launched by Social Investment Business and Access: The Foundation for Social Investment.

The grant programme, which is called the Reach Fund, will last for two years and provide grants of up to £15,000 to organisations that need help to take on a loan.

The Reach Fund is financed by Access, which was set up last year to help charities and social enterprises access capital and social investment and increase their impact, and will be run by Social Investment Business.

Ten approved social investors, which will be called "access points", will refer suitable charities and social enterprises they are working with to the fund.

The investors that have signed up to be access points are Big Issue Invest, CAF Venturesome, Co-operative and Community Finance, FSE Group, Key Fund, Northstar Ventures, Resonance, Social and Sustainable Capital, Social Finance and Somerset Community Foundation. 

In a statement announcing the fund, Seb Elsworth, chief executive of Access, said: "Charities and social enterprises have told us that they want to be able to access investment more easily. We have designed the Reach Fund so that social investors don’t have to turn away organisations that have a viable plan to grow their income but need some development support.

"For the charity or social enterprise this means that whether they are ready to take on a loan, or whether they need more support first, the social investor will be able to help.

"The availability of grant support for charities and social enterprises should allow social investors to take greater risks, expand their reach, and should also encourage new organisations to become social investors for the first time."

Rob Wilson, the Minister for Civil Society, said in a statement: "As the social investment market continues to grow, the Reach Fund offers a new and much needed approach to investment readiness support, one which builds squarely on the successes and learning from programmes such as the government’s Investment and Contract Readiness Fund and the Impact Readiness Fund."

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