Local Access is a joint funding programme, established by Access and Big Society Capital that aims to support the development of stronger, more resilient and sustainable social economies in disadvantaged places.
We approach this through providing better access to advice, learning and flexible capital to support the early generation and establishment of enterprise models for charities and social enterprises in a place. Our hope is that this programme will help places become more resilient and enable collaboration between charities, social enterprises, investors and other actors in a place across a number of areas:
- Building strong and sustainable local support systems to underpin enterprise growth and resilience for charities and social enterprises;
- Pooling and sharing resources to support more efficient delivery models for investment or interventions;
- Promoting collaborative or joint access to local pots of funding incorporating both grant and repayable finance; and
- Promoting and strengthening local money flows to keep capital within local social economies (thus reducing ‘leakage’).
Local Access will be financed by £10m of dormant accounts money allocated to us from the government’s Reclaim Fund, and around £15m of repayable finance provided by Big Society Capital.
Local Access will provide development grants which will be used by local partnerships to develop plans. Alongside this there will be funding for Enterprise Development activities which will support social enterprises and charities in becoming more financially resilient.
After working with a range of partners with extensive experience in supporting place-based initiatives, Local Access has invited twelve places to develop plans for how a blend of grant and repayable finance can support their local social economy. It is expected five of these places will go on to receive investment.
The twelve places are: Bradford, Bristol, Calderdale, Coventry, Dover, Gainsborough, Hartlepool/Tees Valley, Leicester, Plymouth, Southwark, Wigan and Greater Manchester.
One organisation in each place has been invited to convene a local partnership that will develop a vision for their social economy, and a plan for how Local Access can help achieve this. Whilst the programme will not be able to support all twelve places, we hope the process involved will be of value to all participating places. Both Big Society Capital and Access will look to support those who are not selected for investment in other ways.