Expanded role planned for social lending arm of the Charities Aid Foundation

Chief executive John Low talks of expanding Venturesome 'many times over'

Venturesome, the social lending arm of the Charities Aid Foundation, will increase in size "many times over" after the closure of the Futurebuilders programme, CAF chief executive John Low has promised.

Low said Venturesome, currently worth £10m, had proved an extremely successful model and CAF now planned to increase its size.

He said a gap in the market had been left by the closure of Futurebuilders, the government-backed social lender, after the new government said it would redirect income from its loan repayments to other areas.

Venturesome currently lends money given to it by donors to charities and social enterprises. If that money is successfully repaid, donors can then decide whether to lend it again or donate it elsewhere.

"Ultimately, we will without a doubt be looking to grow Venturesome many times over," Low said. "We plan to grow it to the point where the limit is the number of good ideas we're approached with, not the amount of capital available. We're now looking at how quickly we can get the capital in.

"One limitation is the legal complexity involved. We need to get the legal structure right."

John Kingston, director of Venturesome, has said his organisation hopes to raise more money through an appeal to CAF trust account holders - major donors who plan to give more than £10,000 amount to charity (16 March, page 4).

But Low said he did not expect the plan to be limited to those donors, and that Venturesome would also be raising money from other major donors and from trusts and foundations.

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