News from Access – March 2024 – includes new data from our busiest quarter since the pandemic

Updates from the Access team on all things social investment, blended finance and enterprise development.

This month at Access

A record-breaking quarter – Our partners deployed £9 million of investment into charities and social enterprises in the last quarter alone. This volume of investment hasn’t been delivered since 2021 when our partners delivered an Emergency Lending programme to provide immediate support to those facing challenges because of the Covid-19 pandemic. More here.

Eat your heart out Statto – New data, published as part of our quarterly dashboards, reveals that:

  • Through our partners, Access has now supported over 2,400 charities and social enterprises and enabled over £113 million of investment to flow to the VCSE sector.
  • This means that during the last quarter of 2023 (October to December) Access programmes leveraged £2.4 million of grant to deliver £9 million of investment into charities and social enterprises.
  • 42% of investments made by our partners during this period were targeted at the most deprived areas (IMD 1-3).
  • More here.

Early insights from our cost-of-living programme – Following the receipt of Dormant Assets funding last year, our cost-of-living programme is now up and running with 11 partners busy distributing funds. Read the blog from Programme Manager, Greg Woolley, on what the early data is telling us and what we expect the programme to deliver across 2024.

Let’s fix our future – We’re a proud member of the Future Economy Alliance, a mission-led movement that brings together social enterprises, co-operatives, mutuals, employee-owned and community-led businesses and many more. They recently launched their Business Plan for Britain setting out the national policy changes that can empower mission-led business to create a stronger, fairer, greener economy. 

Social Investment Stories 

Child climber at IndiRock bouldering How social investment helped IndiRock transform an empty unit in Southend’s Victoria Shopping Centre into a vibrant community hub, bouldering wall and coffee shop.

Hear from Emily Vermont on the investment and support they received from Sporting Assets.

Access out and about

We were joined in Birmingham by partners from across the Local Access programme to discuss the opportunities and challenges of developing the social economy in a place. We were joined by change makers from Bradford, Greater Manchester, Bristol, Southwark, Gainsborough, and Hartlepool, Redcar & Cleveland. We heard about the momentum they are building with public and private sector partners and how they leverage more investment and market opportunities for the organisations they support. More here from Access CEO, Seb Elsworth.

This month we also heard from our partners, GMCVO, about their innovative partnership with credit unions and the Greater Manchester Combined Authority that enables much-needed finance to flow to social enterprises looking to grow in Greater Manchester. This was part of a series of events held as part of the growing movement and community of practice around Blended Finance. Feel free to reach out if you want to learn more. Feel free to reach out if you want to learn more. 

Reasons to be cheerful

  • Good news on SME finance – The Recovery Loan Scheme, vital for ensuring SMEs can access the funding they need, has been extended until March 2026. Under the scheme, the government guarantees 70% of loans of up to £2m to companies which have a turnover of less than £45m.
  • New fund for not-for-profit lenders – In welcome news, Lloyds Banking Group is to be the lead investor in a £62 million fund. The fund will back community development finance institutions (CDFIs) that last year lent over £117 million to social enterprises in the UK.
  • Get that warm feeling inside – a new report from the Community Shares Unit highlights their busiest year to date with a whopping £220m of community shares raised over the last decade. This includes the Booster Fund supported by Access.

Did you know? 

Access is a wholesaler of grant subsidy into social investment funds and other initiatives. 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.