My Week: Isabel Newman sees the green side of Essex

The investment analyst for CAF Venturesome recounts her week

Isabel Newman
Isabel Newman

Monday: It's the week after our monthly investment committee, which means getting out and meeting organisations to discuss their investment needs. We prefer meeting organisations on their home turf, so it always feels like a bit of an adventure when we set off. First up is a music charity in Deptford, run by a brilliantly charismatic woman. What it really needs is an overdraft from its bank, but since high-street banks are so averse to lending to charities, it has turned to us for support.

Tuesday: I'm off to Essex with one of my colleagues to meet a community interest company that delivers programmes for reducing youth reoffending. I've never been to Essex before - it's so green. My wonderment amuses my colleague no end. We've been working with the organisation for a few months now, but this visit is particularly special because we get to meet the whole team, which includes a new recruit who has been through the programme himself - living proof that it works.

Wednesday: Top of my list is calling a client to see how it is getting on with its repayment. It's an awkward conversation because times are hard for them. Next on the list is speaking to a charity that is interested in taking a loan. Everyone's story is different, but my heart sinks when I ask the question "how would you repay the loan?" "Slowly," sighs the man on the other end of the line.

Thursday: I meet another social investment organisation to talk about opportunities for working together. It's a cliche, but it was a good reminder of how important transparency and collaboration are, not least in social investment, which is growing and learning all the time. Then it's off to my accountancy course in the evening.

Friday: My final meeting of the day is with a charity that provides free social welfare legal services. It supports more than 7,000 people a year, but the policy context it works in is changing, which makes it hard to predict what its future will look like.

CAF Venturesome is the social investment arm of the Charities Aid Foundation.

Isabel Newman is an investment analyst for CAF Venturesome

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