Our founding partners

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Access was launched in 2015 with the support of our partners the National Lottery Community Fund (NLCF), Big Society Capital (BSC) and the Cabinet Office (responsibility has now moved to DCMS) to address two specific gaps for charities and social enterprises trying to access social investment:

  1. Social investment products need to be better suited to what charities and social enterprises are asking for;
  2. Many charities and social enterprises who could benefit from taking on social investment need support to be able to do so.

Access was created by The Oversight Trust (OT, formally Big Society Trust), working in collaboration with NLCF, BSC and DCMS, following extensive consultation with the sector. Each of these organisations shares the same vision to expand the reach of social investment, and each organisation brings its own resources and expertise to support Access in delivering on its mission. OT has a board made up of members with broad experience in the social and financial sectors. It is the sole member of Access and is the company which ensures BSC remains true to its social mission.


The National Lottery Community Fund

The National Lottery Community Fund’s support for Access through the Growth Fund sits alongside other National Lottery Community Fund initiatives to ensure that, where appropriate, social investment can support charities and social enterprises of all shapes and sizes to create more sustainable social impact. Its programme Big Potential, which is now closed for applications, is providing investment readiness support for organisations seeking finance up to £500,000 and complements the work of the Growth Fund.

The National Lottery Community Fund is committed to developing the social investment market in England in a way that supports charities and social enterprises to better achieve their ambitions and support people and communities.

Department for Culture, Media & Sport DCMS

Access is funded in part by an endowment of £60 million to be spent over ten years. This endowment funds our enterprise development capacity building activities . The endowment was originally given by the Cabinet Office and is now continued by DCMS following the relocation of The Office for Civil Society in 2016.


Big Society Capital

Big Society Capital is committed to supporting this part of the social investment market. Big Society Capital worked closely with the Office of Civil Society in the Cabinet Office (now part of DCMS) to help The Big Society Trust establish Access and to invest funds alongside Access, rather than directly in Access. Taking Access and Big Society Capital together, these two organisations help charities and social enterprises throughout their development to achieve greater social impact.


 What is The Oversight Trust?

The Oversight Trust has a board made up of members with broad experience in the social and financial sectors. It is the company which ensures that Big Society Capital remains true to its social mission and is the sole member of Access. The Oversight Trust established Access, working in collaboration and consultation with the social investment sectors, in particular with Big Society Capital, the Cabinet Office (now DCMS) and The National Lottery Community Fund.

The Articles of the The Oversight Trust ensure that decisions are made independently of Government.

To view details of the members of The Oversight Trust and to download the latest available Board Meeting Agenda and Minutes click here.