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Big Society Capital shifts focus to homes, communities, early action

The London Early Years Foundation is supported by Big Society Capital

The social investor Big Society Capital has announced plans to concentrate on three key areas, where it hopes to ‘make a difference’.

The institution’s 2016 annual review, published yesterday, said that while they will continue to help people and organisations access existing social investment funds, in the future they will put ‘new efforts’ into supporting schemes around homes, communities and early action.

In particular, it is looking to support projects that provide homes for people in need, building on the experience developed through investments such as Homes for Good, Real Lettings and Cheyne’s Social Property Fund.

It will also focus on projects that support communities to improve lives, from local energy schemes to addressing financial exclusion for people.

The social investor also wants to build on the experience gained through investments into organisations such as London Early Years Foundation and the Ways to Wellness social impact bond and back projects that take early action to prevent problems.

‘Natural evolution from what we’ve

learned over the last five years’

The chief executive of Big Society Capital, Cliff Prior, said: ‘We have taken stock of what we have learned since we were set up five years ago, and worked closely with many of our stakeholders to define what role we can best play in the future.

‘Our ultimate aim is to improve the lives of people in the UK by connecting investment to the charities and social enterprises that are creating social change,’ he added.

‘We will work in partnership with other organisations to focus our efforts where social investment can make a substantial difference to people’s lives: providing homes for people in need; supporting communities; and early action to prevent problems.

‘Outside of these three new themes, we will continue to support the funds that we have already invested in, alongside initiatives like goodfinance.org.uk that build understanding of social investment.’

The annual review also states the money drawn down from Big Society Capital more than doubled during 2016 to £142m, up from £68m in 2015.

According to the review, this money is being used by 428 charities and social enterprises to improve lives across the UK.

The chair of Big Society Capital, Harvey McGrath, added the new strategy is a ‘natural evolution from what we’ve learned over the last five years’.

‘Social investment has changed and developed since we were set up in 2012,’ said Mr McGrath.

‘There are now more products available than five years ago, including crowdfunding, unsecured loans and risk finance.

‘Social investment is more effective in tackling some social issues than others. And it often works best when considered as one tool alongside others, such as grants and donations,’ added Mr McGrath.

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