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Big Lottery funds eight more social investment schemes
The Next Steps awards announced today are a key stepping stone in our journey to support the development of the social investment market in England, in a way that will enable VCSE organisations to better serve those most in need.
Nat Sloane, Big Lottery Fund England Chair
Big Lottery Fund today announces social investment funding that will help make voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations more financially sustainable and better able to help people most in need.
The announcement means that nearly £2m has now been awarded to 12 organisations through Big’s Next Steps: Supporting Social Investment in England programme, which is exploring the potential of new approaches to raising finance that will help address significant social issues.
Today’s awards include support for an investment fund to provide specialist housing to those with learning disabilities and a social impact bond to provide better personal care for children with disabilities.
Matt Black met with Nat Sloane to discuss the Next Steps programme. He asked why there is still only one social impact bond and finds out what Nat's own investment portfolio is made of. Watch for the video to find out.
Awards also include funding to develop a youth unemployment bond, and also support for a bond to fund preventative intervention that will help stop children going into care.
Golden Lane Housing, part of the MENCAP family, is receiving £349,000 to develop a property-based fund to benefit 250 people with learning disabilities. An initial £10m investment will be raised through private investors to purchase and adapt 100 homes. The group will then undertake an evaluation of the impact on tenants, families and the wider community. Two further phases aim to raise £20m via the Stock Exchange to acquire up to 550 properties for people with learning disabilities over the next 25 years.
The properties purchased through the investment bond will provide a financial return for investors through rent, whilst providing suitable homes for those with learning disabilities. After 10 years vacant properties will be sold to release capital and provide further financial return for the original investors.
Alastair Graham, director at Golden Lane Housing (GLH), said: ‘GLH is delighted to be working with the Big Lottery Fund on an innovative approach to charitable funding that will pave the way for both GLH and other third sector organisations to access private finance for a range of social objectives.
‘People with a learning disability face some of the greatest challenges in society finding adequate and suitable housing. Through this project, GLH will directly house hundreds of people with learning disabilities whose current living arrangements are wholly inadequate for them – whether they are living in inappropriate care homes, with parents who can no longer cope, or moving away from discrimination and bullying.
‘Funding awarded by the Big Lottery Fund will be used to develop and launch a property investment bond that will attract around £100 of private finance for every £1 from the Big Lottery Fund contribution.’
Also receiving funding today is Cool2Care, growth champion in last year’s RBS SE100 Index, who will use a grant of £125,000 to set up a social impact bond pilot. Since 2007 the organisation has matched personal assistants with families of children with disabilities. The pilot will develop the matching service, working with 60 children in Gloucestershire, Cambridgeshire and Surrey.
It is expected that by providing this service, children with disabilities and their families will receive appropriate support at an earlier stage to prevent escalation of issues and greater costs down the line. Cool2Care is forecasting the bond will generate a return for investors over three years. The pilot will test a new financial model with commissioners and investors, for future use by local authorities.
Nat Sloane, Big Lottery Fund England Chair, said: ‘These are exciting landmark proposals we are funding today. I anticipate that the trail they blaze will demonstrate new and innovative ways to tackle deep rooted social issues and bring more sustainability to the VCSE sector.
‘BIG has been a pioneer in the field of social investment, having supported the first ever social impact bond, aiming to reduce the reoffending rates of those leaving Peterborough prison. The Next Steps awards announced today build on this and are a key stepping stone in our journey to support the development of the social investment market in England, in a way that will enable VCSE organisations to better serve those most in need.’
Each of the proposals funded through Next Steps will be required to share their learning, successes and pitfalls, and make this available to the wider sector. The experiences and learning from Next Steps is helping inform BIG’s future social investment interventions in England, which will include the development of two new funds.
More details of these funds, relating to early stage investment readiness support for VCSE organisations and the co-commissioning of social impact bonds/funds, will be released later in the year.
Other Next Steps grant recipients include:
- Ethex, an internet portal for ethical investment, gets £153,000
- Big Issue Invest, the investment arm of the Big Issue newspaper, receives £160,000 for its Spark Challenge, which supports early stage social enterprises.
- Investing for Good gets £160,000 for growing social investment through the expansion of its charity bond programme.