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Charity Bank and Exemplas to team up for £10m social investment scheme



Charity Bank and Exemplas have been selected by the Big Lottery Fund to undertake a £10m support programme that will seek to improve investment into Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) organisations.

The campaign, called Big Potential, is to be launched this summer, and will target VCSE organisations at the beginning of their social investment journey and that are currently on the lookout for investment opportunities.

The scheme plans to deliver a combination of funding and access to specialist expertise that will help deliver many social benefits.

“Providing support for charities and social enterprises to help them access investment is a key priority of our social investment strategy in England and very important in these difficult times”, said Nat Sloane, chair of the Big Lottery Fund in England.

“Social investment has the potential to transform how need is met by providing greater financial incentives to improve performance.

“It offers the prospect of new financing tools and access to new sources of capital that could enable VCSE organisations to operate on a more sustainable footing as they provide their valued services to people and communities most in need.”

Exemplas, a leading business support, skills and employment solutions provider, and ethical bank Charity Bank, which recently dropped its status as a registered charity in an effort to boost its lending to the charitable and social sectors, have both been selected to deliver the £10m support programme.

The pair’s involvement follows a report commissioned by the Big Lottery Fund, carried out by ClearlySo and New Philanthropy Capital, that highlighted a gap in investment support for social enterprises.

The Big Lottery Fund recently set aside £8.5m for the Big Venture Challenge – an “investment accelerator” that looks to improve the way investors put their money into organisations that focus on delivering social benefits. Thirty entrepreneurs were recently unveiled to participate in the scheme.

 Further reading:

Entrepreneurs selected for social investment project

Charity Bank drops charity status and sets sight on sustainable growth

Finance that turns people’s lives around: social impact bonds

£14m Social Impact Bond fund launched

The Guide to Sustainable Banking 2012