Access has been created by The Big Society Trust, working in collaboration with Cabinet Office, Big Lottery Fund and Big Society Capital, 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.
Big Lottery Fund has been working with the Cabinet Office and Big Society Capital on how it can support smaller scale social organisations to take advantage of social investment opportunities. Big Lottery Fund’s support for Access through the Growth Fund sits alongside other Big Lottery 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.
Big Lottery Fund is committed to developing the social investment market in England in a way that supports charities and social enterprises to better serve those most in need. Its programme Big Potential, which provides investment readiness support for organisations seeking finance up to £500,000 complements the work of Access. Big Lottery Fund is excited to be partners in Access and share in its mission.
Access is funded in part by an endowment of £60 million over the next decade from the Cabinet Office to support capacity-building programmes that focus on investment and impact readiness.
Access is currently designing its capacity building programmes, consulting as widely as possible with users and providers of relevant programmes to ensure it meets current market need as effectively as possible. This planning will include looking at lessons from programmes such as the Cabinet Office pilot Investment and Contract Readiness Fund. This programme provided £15 million of grant funding for business support which has unlocked over £100 million social investment so far and helped social sector organsations’ ability to bid for contracts.
Cabinet Office has also delivered its Social Incubator Fund which complements the work of Access.
Big Society Capital is committed to supporting this part of the social investment market. Big Society Capital has been working closely with the Office of Civil Society in the Cabinet Office 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 Big Society Trust?
The Big Society 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 Big Society Trust has established Access, working in collaboration and consultation with the social investment sectors, in particular with Big Society Capital, Cabinet Office and Big Lottery Fund.
The Articles of the The Big Society Trust ensure that decisions are made independently of Government.