The Growth Fund, a partnership between The National Lottery Community Fund and Big Society Capital delivered by Access through a range of social investor partners, was launched in 2015 to address gaps in the social investment market and support charities and social enterprises across England to grow and create social impact in their communities. That programme has so far made over 600 investments totalling over £40m and averaging £67k.
With the Growth Fund effectively coming to a close by the end of 2022, there is a need to ensure a continued supply of small-scale unsecured finance to grow and sustain the resilience of charities and social enterprises and to avoid the gap in availability of this type of finance which would otherwise emerge.
We are delighted that Access will receive £20m from dormant accounts distributions for this purpose. We are therefore preparing to launch a new programme (name TBC), which we expect to open to applications in April from social investors applying to deliver funds.
Over the next few weeks we are holding a consultation process to invite potential fund managers – as well as any potential co-investors or other interested parties who may wish to engage – to share your views to help inform the design of the programme.
The consultation is open now and will run until Friday 11th March.
There are three ways that you can engage with the consultation process:
- Join the webinar
- We will be holding a webinar on Tuesday 22nd February, 3.30 – 4.30pm. Please register here. We will share our initial thinking about the programme design and will answer your questions. Please submit any initial questions that you would like us to cover at the webinar by emailing us at the address below by COP on Monday 21st, although we will also try to cover any questions that occur on the day in the chat function. The webinar will be recorded and can be made available to those who cannot attend.
- Provide a written response
- Please read the information provided and then send us your thoughts. We have posed a number of key questions which you can respond to some or all of, or any additional comments are equally welcome.
- Speak to us
- We would welcome an individual conversation to listen to and discuss your feedback. We would encourage you to join the webinar and/ or read the information document before arranging a call. If you choose to speak to us you do not also need to provide a written response, although you are of course welcome to do both.
To submit questions for the webinar, share a written response or arrange a call please contact Helena.
We anticipate that there will be a range of views expressed during the consultation so we will likely be unable to follow everyone’s recommendations within the final programme design. However we will listen and give careful consideration to all comments received.
After the consultation period our Investment Committee will agree a final Investment Policy for the programme and then we expect to open to applications from social investors in April. We have intentionally designed this process to move quickly due to our aim to have funds open to charities and social enterprises by the end of this year when the Growth Fund finishes.