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400 charities and social enterprises have benefited from Growth Fund

The Growth Fund blended finance programme has invested more than £27m into 400 charities and social enterprises across the UK since 2016.  

The Growth Fund combines grant funding from the National Lottery Community Fund with repayable loans from Big Society Capital. This allows social investors to offer smaller-scale unsecured loans with the average investment being around £60,000.

Of these 400 loans, more than half the capital invested has been in the most deprived 30% of neighbourhoods in England.

The Growth Fund now constitutes around a third of the social investment market in terms of deals done.

One of the organisations who have benefited from the funding is community interest group Positive Support for You. The group supports people with learning disabilities in the NorthEast of England to live meaningful and quality lives.

Seb Elsworth, chief executive of Access, the Foundation for Social Investment who manage the Growth Fund said: ‘The Growth Fund is breaking down the sector’s myths about social investment one by one.

‘Smaller-scale risk-taking finance is readily available right across England, supporting community-based organisations to earn more income and boost their resilience.

‘The blended model is also transforming how social investment works, proving that with the right mix of finance the sector’s capital needs can increasingly be met.’

Emma Ackerman, deputy director at The National Lottery Community Fund said: ‘The Growth Fund is a major innovation in the use of National Lottery grants to support the resilience of the charity and community sector.

‘We are fascinated by the emerging lessons and how finance can be delivered in a way which puts people in the lead and enables communities to thrive.’

An evaluation commissioned by The National Lottery Community Fund is looking in more detail at how borrowers from the Growth Fund are able to build their financial resilience as well as the broader impact on the social investment market.

In related news, New Start recently travelled to Sheffield Hallam University to meet social enterprise guru and author Dr Rory Ridley-Duff. We spoke to him about employee-ownership, creating value for communities that goes beyond money and why football clubs can be an important vehicle for social change.

Photo Credit – Pixabay

Pippa Neill
Reporter.

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