Big Society Capital made £1.7bn available for charities and social enterprises in 2018, an increase of 50 per cent on the year before.
The total of £1.7bn is the highest in the organisation’s history and a £600m increase on the £1.1bn available in 2017.
In its annual review for 2018, published last week, the social investment wholesaler said it had made £90m of new funding commitments over the course of the year.
Big Society Capital has committed £1bn in social finance since it was set up in 2012, £276m from its own funds and the remainder from co-investors.
More than 1,100 organisations had accessed repayable finance through Big Society Capital’s fund managers or through Charity Bank. It said 73 per cent of the social enterprises and charities that accessed repayable finance from the organisation were in the most deprived half of the UK, and 83 per cent were operating outside London.
Cliff Prior, chief executive of Big Society Capital, said:
“Throughout 2018, we accelerated our efforts to create change in our three key themes of homes, places and early action, while also developing a strong pipeline of investments. As a result, our strategy of focusing on areas where we believe social investment can have the greatest impact began to bear fruit, with initial investments in the theme areas, as well as building partnerships, knowledge and opportunities, enabling us to deliver more in 2019.”
Big Society Capital offers investments in Social Investment Finance Intermediaries (SIFIs) that provide appropriate and affordable finance and support to social sector organisations that are working to tackle social problems in the UK. Big Society Capital does not provide funding or finance directly to frontline social sector organisations but works through intermediaries.
The Big Society Capital’s strategy (announced in 2017) states that it will continue its wide range of social investment funds and support, but will focus on three areas where it sees the best opportunity for social investment to make a difference. These areas are:
1. Providing homes for people in need – to test, replicate and scale innovative housing models, attracting additional capital into this area in order to deliver secure and affordable homes for those in need, including the most vulnerable people in society.
2. Supporting communities to improve lives – BSC will use its tools and resources, alongside partners rooted locally and nationally, to address these issues and help enable thriving and inclusive communities in the long term, and
3. Early action to prevent problems – to develop and scale innovative ways to prevent social problems and improve the lives of vulnerable children and elderly people.