Lesson Five – The past, present and future of social investment

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The fifth and final lesson in our series draws upon some of the key themes to have emerged from the other four lessons and explores what this might mean for Access’s future and – crucially – for life beyond Access.

A huge amount has been achieved over the last five years. Access and our partners have helped fill two key gaps. Firstly, the provision of blended finance enabling more charities and social enterprises to benefit from social investment; and secondly, enterprise development support to help more charities and social enterprises better understand their business models and trading activity to help build their resilience, and potentially increasing demand for social investment down the line.

Through the Growth Fund alone blended finance has reached over 500 organisations and now constitute around 20% of all social investment deals done each year.

But Access is a fixed life organisation, due to close in 2026. If there continues to be demand for blended finance and enterprise support, how will it be funded? Will government continue to play a central role or can we look to other sources of the subsidy which is needed to help social enterprise sand charities access the finance they need: foundations, local government, or corporates? How best can other organisations be inspired to build on the lessons of Access’s work?

To explore these questions in our final podcast in the 5 lessons from 5 years series we hear from:

  • Rt Hon Nick Hurd, Access’s Chair
  • Vidhya Alakeson, CEO Power to Change
  • Sara Llewellin, CEO Barrow Cadbury Trust
  • Anna Sheil, Head of Origination Big Society Capital


If you have any comments or would like to discuss anything further – please contact sarah.colston@access-si.org.uk