£100m fund will help charities attract social investment

A new £100m endowment fund that will help charities and social enterprises attract social investment and win public service contracts is expected to launch next month (March).

The fund, called Access – the Foundation for Social Investment, was registered with the Charity Commission on 19 December.

It will consist partly of the £60m of repayments of loans made by the now defunct Futurebuilders Fund, set up by the Labour government to help charities bid to deliver services.

A spokeswoman for the Cabinet Office said a decision had been made in principle that the remaining £40m would come from the Big Lottery Fund and Big Society Capital, the social investment wholesaler. It remained to be decided how much each would contribute, she said.

Access appointed John Kingston as its chair last year. Kingston is a former chair of the Association of Charitable Foundations and founded CAF Venturesome, the social lending arm of the Charities Aid Foundation.

The eight-person board of Access also includes Steve Wyler, former chief executive of the community umbrella body Locality, Arvinda Gohil, chief executive of the homelessness charity Emmaus UK, and Annika Small, chief executive of the social technology funder the Nominet Trust.

In October, the foundation began recruiting for a chief executive, and final interviews were due to take place at the end of November.

The recruitment pack includes a letter from Kingston that says: “The foundation will work collaboratively across England, with a strong regional focus, and be capitalised by a number of partners. It should play an important role in supporting the development of the social investment market over the next 10 to 15 years and work alongside Big Society Capital, the Big Lottery Fund and government, among others. Our mission will be to strengthen the social sector through the strategic use of grants to increase access to social investment and to grow the social investment market.”

The organisation’s formal launch will take place in March, at which point more information will be made public.

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