Thanks 2016

As we approach the end of the year it seems appropriate to take stock and reflect on what we’ve been up to over the last 12 months.

The Growth Fund has three funds now live, plus five offers made. There are three further applications currently in the due diligence stage. We are seeing a strong pipeline with a wide range of different sorts of organisations applying. Simon recently updated on progress and the themes we are seeing.

A key part of our work is to gather and share the learning from our programmes. Each of the social investors we work with on the Growth Fund will produce quarterly reports of their activity. We will collate these and publish quarterly dashboards showing overall lending activity and other key trends. The first of these will be published by the end of February next year and we will be keen to hear feedback on how useful they are.

Ahead of us receiving the first full set of quarterly reports from our social investors, we understand that six offers have been made to charities and social enterprises so far totalling approximately £300k. As of the beginning of this week there have been a total of 215 enquiries from charities and social enterprises to our social investors. We expect the volumes of lending activity to significantly increase in the first quarter of next year.

In terms of our capacity building programmes, the Reach Fund has seen the first seven grants having been made from the programme, with many more Access Points actively referring charities and social enterprises into the programme. To meet the expected demand SIB will be holding grant panels fortnightly in the new-year. Ed blogged last week on the lessons we are beginning to learn from the programme.

The Impact Management Programme is actively recruiting charities and social enterprises for both parts of the programme via a series of events around the country and through the programme’s website.

We are also pleased to have commissioned Barrow Cadbury Trust to run the Social Investment Infrastructure Fund, with an expression of interest process beginning in the new year.

In terms of how we operate as a foundation we are pleased to have placed our endowment with Rathbones, who are following our Bull’s Eye model to seek to maximise the impact of the cash before it is used to make grants. More than 20% of the endowment is now directly invested in charities and social enterprises in the UK, with the rest in a range of other social impact delivering organisations, and we are working with Rathbones to continue to increase this proportion.

2016 was the year we started turning theory into practice. During 2017 we will start to see the impact on the ground and we will be able to begin sharing that story. We will also continue to launch a series of new funds and consider how our capacity building programmes should evolve.

Thank you for all the help and support which has been given to Access over the last year. We were deliberately set up to be a small team and build strong collaborations to achieve shared goals. We really couldn’t have achieved any of this on our own. I am looking forward to continuing to work in this way with new and existing partners during 2017, to make social investment more relevant and more accessible for a greater number of charities and social enterprises.