Extending our reach…

In December we commissioned NPC to undertake a piece of research on how Access can best develop its pipeline of potential social lenders in order to provide the best possible reach into the charity and social enterprise sector.

You can download the final report here.

The results have been very useful for us as we continue to develop the process for applying to the Growth Fund and in particular better understanding the barriers which applicants may face. As NPC reported these barriers include:

  • Not being clear about demand for lending from the charities and social enterprises in their networks;
  • A potential risk aversion from trustees to managing a loan fund;
  • Lack of clarity over the role of a “SIFI”;
  • Need to develop expertise and capacity;
  • Concern over whether the operational model will stack up; and
  • Lack of knowledge of Access and our offer.

NPC have suggested a number of actions to address these barriers, some of which we are working on already, and some we will start later in the year.

You will see how we have captured these in our plan for the year ahead which we will publish later in the month.

The report also highlights a number of barriers faced by charities and social enterprises in taking on loans themselves, and proposes a range of actions which might help. Some of these barriers will be addressed through the Growth Fund’s offer of smaller loans, and through our capacity building programme once that is live. Some of the other barriers identified are more cultural in nature and will be beyond Access’s brief to solve on our own.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on the findings and how you think we should be responding.

Many thanks to the NPC team which was led by Abigail Rotheroe and Plum Lomax.