Futurebuilders Fund closes to new applicants

Social Investment Business chief executive says fund could reopen when repayments begin

  • This story was clarified on 29 January: see final paragraph

The £215m Futurebuilders Fund, the Government-backed loan fund set up to help third sector organisations win public service delivery contracts, has closed to new applicants after awarding all of its funds.

Jonathan Lewis, chief executive of Social Investment Business, which runs the fund, said the organisation would consider reopening it when it began to receive repayments on existing loans.

"We've made long-term commitments over the next 10 years," he said. "However, the National Audit Office considers that the original money lent out could net returns of £400m.

"At some point in the future, and we don't know when yet, we should be in a position to reopen the fund."

Since it was established in 2004, Futurebuilders has made investments in more than 370 third sector organisations to help them win public sector contracts.

Lewis said Social Investment Business would continue to lend through a number of other Government-backed funds, and would try to raise money to lend from the private sector.

"We may be able to borrow up to £100m from private sector sources," he said.

Stephen Bubb, chair of Social Investment Business, said the success of the Futurebuilders Fund confirmed that the third sector had an appetite for loan finance.

He said the popularity of the fund, which received applications for up to £90m a month, showed that there was a need for a social investment bank, which would act as a social lender for the sector.

  • A spokesman for the Office of the Third Sector said that the total amount lent by Futurebuilders was £183.7m, not £215m

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