Accessing the Growth Fund for charities and social enterprises

The Growth Fund is aimed at meeting the needs of charities and social enterprises.

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Finding a social investor delivering the Growth Fund

As the Growth Fund is being delivered through social investors, social enterprises and charities must apply to social investors to secure Growth Fund support, not directly to Access.  Our currently delivery partners are listed below, please contact them for further information about their funds. The page will be updated as more funds are launched in the coming months. 

To find out more about social investment more generally, including details of these and other social investors, visit

Devon Social Investment Fund

Devon Community Foundation launched their fund in September 2017 to support the growth and impact of voluntary, community and social enterprises with accessible loans.

The fund is open to charities and social enterprises based in Devon, Plymouth or Torbay.

To find out more contact Devon Community Foundation.

GM Social Investment

Greater Manchester Centre for Voluntary Organisation (GMCVO) launched their Greater Manchester social investment fund on 11th July 2017. 

The fund offers up to £50k of flexible unsecured finance to social enterprise organisations in Greater Manchester. 

To find out more contact GMCVO.

You can read our news item about the launch of the fund here

Homeless Link Social Investment Fund

Homeless Link’s Social Investment Fund was launched on 22nd May 2017.

 The England-wide fund offers loans of between £25k and £150k to charities and social enterprises working to reduce homelessness.

 To find out more contact Homeless Link.

 You can read our news item about the launch of the fund here.

Impact Loans England

The Impact Loans England fund, run by Big Issue Invest, launched on 23rd January 2017.

The England-wide fund offers loan funding of between £20k and £150k to help social enterprises grow.

To find out more contact Big Issue Invest.

You can read our news item about the launch of the fund here.

Invest for Impact

The “Invest for Impact” fund, run by First Ark, launched on 13 October.

The fund offers a blend of loan and grant to charities and social enterprises operating in the North West of England.

For more information or to express interest please visit First Ark’s website.

Read our news item here

Northern Impact Fund

Our second fund to launch is the Northern Impact Fund, run by Keyfund.

The fund, operating across the North of England and the Midlands, and will be offering finance of up to £150k, but typical investments will be around £50k, with up to 20% of the amount available as grant. 

To find out more please contact Keyfund.

Read our press release about the launch of the fund

Health and Wellbeing Fund (South West)

The first fund to open is the Health and Wellbeing Fund (South West), run by Resonance.

The fund offers investments of under £150k to charities and social enterprises in the South West of England working to bring about positive impact in health and wellbeing.

The fund offers finance to charities and social enterprises to help them turn their best ideas into impactful solutions to big issues like dementia, diabetes, obesity, depression and enabling older people to live more independent and fulfilling lives.

The fund has been developed in partnership with Resonance and the South West Academic Health Sciences Network.

To find out more please contact Resonance

Read our press release about the launch of the fund

There is also a comprehensive list of social investors on the Good Finance website.

Are you eligible to receive funds from the Growth Fund?

The Growth Fund aims to support social investors meeting the funding needs of charities and social enterprises which are:

  • operating in England
  • seeking finance of up to £150,000
  • seeking unsecured funding

Charities and social enterprises could use this finance in any number of ways, for example;

  • growth funding
  • developing a new income stream
  • at ‘post social incubator’ stage, with little track record but who have already been identified as having potential and have been supported in their development to date

Even though the Growth Fund includes grant, it is structured as investment, not as a replacement for revenue. The Good Finance website might be helpful for charities and social enterprises to consider the funding options available.

Eligible charities and social enterprises can be regulated or unregulated.

Regulated organisations are charities, Community Interest Companies or Community Benefit Societies which pursue charitable objective(s).

Unregulated social sector organisations (such as CLGs, CLSs, and IPSs) may be eligible, if the business fulfils the following criteria:

Mission lock and activities

  • has a clear social mission which meets a charitable objective that addresses a social issue or need
  • carries out trading activities in support of and which are causally linked to its social mission
  • in the case of a sale of the enterprise, the directors make best efforts to preserve the social mission under new ownership.

Profit distribution and asset lock

  • distributes less than 50% of post tax profits
  • mainly reinvests surpluses into pursuing their social mission
  • has a constitutional or contractual lock on its Social Objects, dividend policy and an “asset-lock”.

Public benefit and private gain, use of public funds

  • offers its products and services for general public benefit without restrictions and barriers, such as affordability
  • can be established that private gain is incidental and minimal as a result of Access’s support.
  • no state aid issues identified (de Minimis may be used where appropriate)


  • articulates, evidences, measures and reports on its social impact and charitable purpose
  • is open to undertaking an independent social impact audit.
  • has remuneration and benefits policy which it is willing to make open, and which is reasonable and proportionate relative to the market practice for social sector organisations.