Big Lottery Fund launches £10m programme to attract social investment

Nat Sloane, chair of the Big Lottery Fund England, says that helping charities and social enterprises access finance is a key part of the organisation's strategy

Nat Sloane
Nat Sloane

The Big Lottery Fund has launched a £10m programme to help charities and social enterprises that are interested in attracting social investment.

The Big Potential programme had been due to start last summer but was postponed after the BLF and the business consultancy Exemplas, which had been chosen to deliver the fund, announced they had ended their contractual relationship.

The BLF has since appointed the Social Investment Business to run the programme in partnership with Charity Bank, Social Enterprise UK, Locality and the University of Northampton.

The programme is aimed at charities and social enterprises in England that are in the early stages of looking at social investment. Grants of between £25,000 and £75,000 will be available.

The scheme has been designed to complement other social investment initiatives, including the Cabinet Office’s Investment and Contract Readiness Fund, which is also managed by SIB.

Organisations that fit the criteria were from last week able to apply for one-to-one support from programme partners before the scheme opens for grant applications on 10 March.

The grants will provide funding for more in-depth work to make the organisations ready for social investment with one of the programme’s approved providers.

The BLF said providers of social investment support could apply to become an approved provider under the scheme.

Nat Sloane, chair of BLF England, said: "Providing support for charities and social enterprises to help them access finance is a key priority of our social investment strategy in England and it is very important in these difficult times."

He said the SIB, and the programmes from other partners, offered "true national reach" and understood the challenges facing the sector and what investors were looking for.

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