Press release

Promising social ventures to receive £1 million in Government funding boost

The first awards from the £10m Investment and Contract Readiness Fund have been announced today by Nick Hurd, Minister for Civil Society.

20 September 2012
CAB101-12

The first awards from the £10 million Investment and Contract Readiness Fund have been announced today by Nick Hurd, Minister for Civil Society.

The Investment and Contract Readiness Fund has pledged almost £1 million to eight small social ventures to help them scale up and do more for society. The grants will allow them to buy the top quality specialist support that will make them more attractive to investors and commissioners, and which they hope will enable them to raise £23 million in further investments and contracts.

Last week Big Society Capital announced £37 million of commitments into social investment finance intermediaries to support new projects that will benefit society. Some charities are not yet ready to take on repayable finance from Big Society Capital, which is why the government has established the Investment Readiness Programme. The programme will give ambitious charities and social enterprises access to money so that they can grow and better serve communities and people most in need.

Nick Hurd, Minister for Civil Society, said:

We are committed to growing the social investment market, and the money we are announcing today will go a long way to helping us achieve this goal. These social ventures are already doing inspiring work, and this money will allow them to step up, and develop the services they offer. Not only is this expected to grow the market, we know that it will improve the lives of hundreds of people in need.

The social ventures who will receive grants from the Investment and Contract Readiness Fund include:

  • Centre at Threeways, a newly formed Community Trust, supported by Calderdale council, in its bid to take on the largest community asset transfer in England. It aims to turn the former Ridings school in Overden into an enterprise development hub which will be for and owned by the community.
  • Reds10, a social business which supports disadvantaged, young and unemployed people to find jobs on local construction sites while helping local authorities, developers and contractors meet their local labour and apprenticeship targets. This grant will help scale up its successful London operation into a national social business.
  • Shared Lives Plus, the UK network of small, community-based care and support solutions for older and disabled people, and this grant will allow it to expand in ten new areas across the country.
  • Abundant Life, a new social enterprise that is being built on the Dartington estate and this grant will allow it to develop plans for a new, self-sustainable residential development for older people based around the historic listed buildings on the estate.
  • West Itchen Community Trust, which tackles economic and social disadvantage in deprived areas of inner-city Southampton. The grant will help them to bring a dormant building into its portfolio which can be turned into an improved enterprise hub.
  • ‘TLG The Education Charity’, an award winning charity which has successfully developed unique Alternative Education Provision (AP) for young people at risk of exclusion from school or in crisis. The grant will help them scale up education provision.

The government have also committed grants from the fund to two other promising social ventures that are currently in the pipeline.

Jonathan Jenkins, Chief Executive of the Social Investment Business Group, which manages the Investment and Contract Readiness Fund, said:

We are really pleased to have committed to invest the first million from the Investment and Contract Readiness Fund to back an ambitious group of social ventures. We look forward to seeing the ventures and providers work together to secure their planned investment and contracts.

Paul Ruddick, Managing Director at Reds10 said:

The Investment and Contract Readiness Fund will enable Reds10, with support from ClearlySo, to take the next step in terms of scaling up and attracting more investment to our social venture. We have a business model which we can scale up, and if realised to its full potential, through expert advice and funding, could help thousands of young unemployed individuals gain a trade through an apprenticeship and become sustainably employed.

The government has also today published the UK’s first Social Investment Readiness Charter, which has been signed by the Cabinet Office, Big Lottery Fund, Big Society Capital and NESTA. It commits these organisations to work together to adopt the five key principles which will support the growth of the social investment market in the UK.

The Big Lottery Fund, which is delivering the Social Incubator Fund for the Cabinet Office, is also developing its own Investment Readiness fund which will complement the Government Investment and Contract Readiness Fund. It aims to enable social sector organisations to better serve those most in need. The Big Lottery Fund is also today publishing a research report into investment readiness, which further demonstrates the need for support in this area.

Notes to editors

The Investment and Contract Readiness Fund is a three year £10 million fund managed by the Social Investment Business Group, on behalf of the Cabinet Office, that aims to ensure social ventures are better equipped to secure new forms of investment and compete for public service contracts. The fund offers grants of between £50k and £150k to purchase specialised investment and contract readiness support and to cover some of the costs of putting the investment/contract readiness plan into action in the social venture itself.

These first eight awards will support work in education, social care, community redevelopment and employment, and will help improve life outcomes for young people not in education, employment and training, ex-offenders, older people and people living in disadvantaged areas. Some of the finance and contracts being sought involve innovative new approaches such as payment by results, community asset transfers and bond issues.

Social ventures are organisations that tackle social problems, are financially sustainable and want to scale up (including registered charities, social enterprises, community and voluntary organisations, social businesses, charities and mutuals).

The Social Incubator Fund will strengthen the growing social investment market by providing start-ups with intensive support to enable them to take advantage of social investment opportunities so they better serve communities and people most in need.

The Social Investment Readiness Charter supports the development of the social investment readiness ecosystem in the UK. Four social investors have committed to adopting five principles that will support social investment readiness for social ventures. The four signatories currently include: Cabinet Office, Big Society Capital, Big Lottery Fund and NESTA. For more information about the Charter.

Big Society Capital announced last week £37m of commitments into social investment finance intermediaries to support the growth of the social investment market. For further information about the current and projected state of the social investment market see the recent Boston Consulting Group report.

The Social Investment Business Group (SIB Group), one of the largest social investors in the UK, exists to help social enterprises, charities and community organisations do more of what they do best - supporting people and communities most in need. The SIB Group includes The Social Investment Business and its parent charity, Adventure Capital Fund.

The SIB Group manages the Futurebuilders Fund and the Social Action Fund on behalf of The Office for Civil Society, the Social Enterprise Investment Fund for the Department of Health and the Communitybuilders Fund which was endowed to parent charity the Adventure Capital Fund by the Department for Communities and Local Government. The Group have over 1,300 active investments which range in size and scope.

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