Cost of Living Social Investment Support Fund

A programme for organisations which are providing enterprise based services to people and communities which are in acute need owing to cost of living pressures.

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The programme aims to enable social investors to offer a broader range of products to support charities and social enterprises in underserved parts of the country, most affected by long-term economic decline, to better meet the needs of their communities in relation to challenges caused by the rising cost of living.

Access has £11m of Dormant Assets to make available in 2023 to meet these goals. Access will make this finance available to social investors to offer a range of products as outlined in the Investment Policy for the programme. 

As a wholesaler Access does not finance charities and social enterprises directly. Charities and social enterprises should use Good Finance as the tool to identify the most appropriate social investment products for them.

Please note this programme is now closed to new expressions of interest. 

This programme is for organisations which are providing enterprise based services to people and communities which are in acute need owing to cost of living pressures. From our consultation to inform the design of the programme, the most commonly cited needs were the supply of food, warm spaces, financial advice, essential transport, and safe housing.

The grant should help to sustain the provision of essential community services while helping to preserve the resilience of the organisation’s enterprise activity.

The programme also seeks to support charities and social enterprises which have the ability to increase their revenue through trading activity to better meet demand from their communities which has increased owing to cost of living challenges. This may enable the organisation to increase their service delivery or sustain it in the face of higher costs.

Products supported

The feedback from the consultation period indicated social investors commonly felt that it will be challenging to deploy debt into trading charities and social enterprises to meet the most acute needs, even with a significant level of grant in the blend, given that they are unlikely to generate significant revenue.

We would expect to see the products with the highest proportion of grant being used to support organisations addressing the most acute needs in communities.

Funds approved so far

(As of November 2023) The following proposals have now been approved and launched. The details of these are below. 

Coventry and Warwickshire Reinvestment Trust (£500K from Access) will offer a combination of small capability development grants (up to £7.5k) and blended finance products (typically comprising of a £30 – 60K total investment, inclusive of a £10 – 20k grant component). 

Crowdfunder (£555K from Access) will offer ‘matching grants’ to organisations successfully raising funds through their respective Crowdfunder campaigns. Organisations operations. Different ratios of match-grants are applied depending on the location of the Crowdfunder participant organisation in terms of IMD, with those based in most deprived communities receiving highest matched returns (i.e. £3 for every £1 raised from the Crowd). 

GMCVO (£500K from Access) will offer a variety of enterprise development grants – with (a) grants of £10 – 50k being targeted to support the enterprise models of previous investees, (b) capacity building grants (£1 – 10k) to support those in early stages of trading, and (c) pre-investment grants (£500 – 2,000) to support organisation’s resource commitments required to social investment applications. 

Key Fund (£900K from Access) will offer a combination of (a) enterprise development grants (£5 – 50k) and (b) blended finance products where the grant (typically £5 – 150k) will on average comprise 60% of the total investment. 

Kindred (£500K from Access) will offer blended finance products to ‘socially trading organisations’ specifically in the Liverpool City Region. Typical grants will vary from £5 – 30K, and on average equating to 33% of the total investment (and no more than 50%). 

Resonance (£998K from Access) will offer a combination of (a) enterprise development grants (of £10 – 40k) to existing investees of Growing Enterprise funds and (b) blended finance products through the Resonance Enterprise Investment Fund (where the grant will typically contribute c. 25 – 40% of the overall commitment – up to a max value grant value of £40k). 

School of Social Entrepreneurs (£1.2M from Access) will offer Match-Trading grants to help develop and grow enterprise activity. Grants of up to £35k will be available, with £1 earned for £1 in increased trading (compared to their previous year’s trading revenue).    

Social and Sustainable Capital (£1.5M from Access) will use funds to support a small cohort borrowers from their social and sustainable housing funds with grant to blend with further repayable finance.  Total funding is expected to be between £1m and £2.5m per project and the grants to be between £200k and £600k.  

Social Investment Business (£1.6M from Access) will offer a combination of (a) enterprise development grants (£5 – 25k) for relevant alumni of the Enterprise Development Programme and (b) grants to blend with Recovery Loan Fund loans – typically with a 20 – 50% grant to loan ratio, utilising £40 – 250k of grant in each deal.

Sporting Assets (400K from Access) will offer stand-alone enterprise-development style grants (ranging between £10 – 30K) to help build capacity and enterprise resilience.