In May 2020 it was announced that Access – The Foundation for Social Investment will receive £30m of new funds from dormant accounts to support the development of new blended finance models for social investment providers to make available to charities and social enterprises impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.
The funds will be made available in two distinct stages:
- To support social investors who are offering emergency repayable capital to charities and social enterprises and who wish to be able to offer a blended product to enable them to support a broader range of organisations and business models. The lending should address immediate financial challenges which have arisen from the COVID-19 crisis. The blend should enable more organisations to be supported with repayable finance for whom there are not other viable routes of support. We may commit up to a third of the new finance for this purpose, although if the gaps identified are filled by other initiatives (such as grant programmes or other government schemes) then we will roll any unused resources over to the second stage.
- To support social investors in developing, designing and delivering new financial products to support charities and social enterprises in the recovery to rebuild their businesses and the impact they deliver in communities around the country. We plan to commit around £20m for this purpose.
The expression of interest (EOI) process for social investment fund managers to apply for the first of these two stages is now open.
We will open an EOI process for the second stage on recovery finance later in the summer. Our current schedule is to open that EOI in September 2020 and for it to stay open to the end of the year but precise timings are subject to change. If you are interested in applying to Access for this you do not need to register your interest now. The Connect Fund, managed by Barrow Cadbury Trust, has opened a call for solutions. This invites investors, funders and infrastructure organisations to join Access and others in shaping our approach to this second stage as well as providing an opportunity for investors who may be looking to apply to the second EOI to provide us with an outline of their initial ideas.
Access is a wholesaler of grant subsidy into social investment funds and other initiatives. Therefore we do not make funding available to charities and social enterprises directly. If you are a charity or social enterprise looking for support or to find out more about social investment please visit Good Finance.
Organisations who manage social investment funds and who wish to express interest in accessing grant for the purpose of developing a blended product which will make your social investment offer more suitable to more charities and social enterprises who need emergency support can do so through reading and responding to this EOI form.
We plan to keep this EOI process open until the end of June 2020 but will reserve the right to close it earlier if demand is higher than anticipated.
The EOI guidance and form outlines the expected terms of how the grant should be used. If you have questions about the process which are not explained in the guidance we will respond to them on an FAQ page.
Please read the guidance and EOI questions carefully before you respond.
As the grant is to support emergency finance programmes, we expect to disburse the grant by the end of the calendar year. Therefore fund managers will need to have:
- an extensive track record;
- tangible demand from charities and social enterprises for repayable capital;
- existing processes which can be used for making emergency repayable capital available; and
- the matching capital already in place.
If you wish to provide a longer term offer to support charities and social enterprises who need to access capital to support them through the recovery, and will require a blend of grant along with other capital (which may or may not be in place) to do so then you should express interest for the blended finance for COVID-19 recovery, which will open later in the summer.