Former charities minister Nick Hurd appointed chair of Access

Hurd, who was Minister for Civil Society from 2010 to 2014, will join the social investment foundation in April, succeeding John Kingston

Nick Hurd
Nick Hurd

The former charities minister Nick Hurd has been appointed chair of the social investment body Access – The Foundation for Social Investment

Hurd, who stepped down as a Conservative MP in December after more than 14 years, was the Minister for Civil Society between 2010 and 2014. 

He will take up the position with Access on 23 April for an initial term of three years, succeeding John Kingston, who has been in the role since Access was founded in 2014. 

While in government, Hurd was a keen supporter of social investment and oversaw the creation of the social investment wholesaler Big Society Capital. 

Access received a £60m endowment from government to help more voluntary sector organisations access social investment. It is expected to operate for 10 years and hopes to commit more than £120m in funds to the sector. 

Hurd told Third Sector: “The Access opportunity really appealed to me because I’ve always been really struck by how sub-optimal the funding system for charities and social enterprises is.”

He said one of most formative experiences as a new MP was visiting an estate where he met the leader of a local charity who said he spent 80 to 85 per cent of his time fundraising rather than focusing on the front-line work of the charity.

“I’ve always held the view that the opportunity cost around that is huge,” he said. 

“You want these people to be leading their businesses, not endlessly going around cap in hand and bending to the prejudices of funders. 

“That’s always underlined to me the importance of developing access to social investment and when I was the minister I led the acceleration of that work, with Big Society Capital as the flagship of that. 

“I’ve always been very driven by the need for social enterprises and charities to be able to access the capital they need, and that’s what Access is all about.”

Hurd said he hoped he would be able to play a part in driving system change in social investment in order to make it easier for charities and social enterprises to access the capital they need. 

Annika Small, senior independent trustee on the Access board and chair of the nominations committee, said Hurd was highly regarded in the voluntary sector from his time as charities minister. 

“His passion for the work of the sector is clear and his varied experience across government will give us an important new perspective,” she said. 

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