A new fund will work to produce grants and financial assistance to strengthen the UK’s social investment market. The Barrow Cadbury Trust, a British foundation, launched the £1.8 million Connect Fund, in coordination with Access – the Foundation for Social Investment.
The fund, which opened its first round of funding on 5 June, will ‘support intermediaries and infrastructure organisations,’ according to the fund’s website, with the hopes of bringing social investment strategies to a wider variety of charities and social enterprises.
Helen Cadbury, Chair of the Barrow Cadbury Trust said she hopes the fund will support new solutions in the sector. ‘As a foundation, our Board and I have deep concerns that much of the social sector is poorly served by the current social investment offer. We hope the fund will support new solutions,’ she said.
This new fund comes less than a month after a research report from City University London’s Cass Business School found that charities in the UK are beginning to shift their funding models towards social investment. Social investment, defined broadly as using investments in the market to impact society, has been generating interest as an innovative finance tool.
However, as this Alliance blog post discusses, some organizations remain uncomfortable with these new borrowing or investment tools. Many social investment agents are also struggling to provide small loans and affordable finances, the purpose for which they were designed, according to the organizers behind the new fund.
The new fund will involve two phases of grant funding, focusing first on filling gaps in the social investment market through coordinating efforts related to skill development and data management. It will then begin to work with ‘feasibility grants’ in an effort to explore potential strategies to forging connections within the social investment field.
An official launch event for the fund was held on 14 June.
For more, visit the Barrow Cadbury Trust website.