Access foundation launches consultation on how to spend £60m social investment fund

04 Aug 2015 News

Access, the foundation for social investment, has opened a consultation into how it will spend a £60m ten year capacitybuilding endowment.

Seb Elsworth

Access, the foundation for social investment, has opened a consultation into how it will spend a £60m ten year capacitybuilding endowment.

The foundation, which was launched in March with £105m to spend, aims to “fill gaps in the social investment market which have prevented some voluntary organisations, charities and social enterprises from accessing finance to help them become more sustainable”.

Access says that the capacitybuilding programme will see Access spend a £60m endowment over the next decade to support more charities and social enterprises to be able to engage with social investment.

The consultation phase will run until the end of September, with funded programmes beginning in spring 2016.  

The consultation asks contributors where they can see “obvious gaps” in capacitybuilding provision and what has worked well in the past. It also asks for evidence of the “scale and nature of these issues” that Access should be aware of.

Seb Elsworth (pictured), chief executive of Access, said: "Our capacitybuilding programme is an important long term resource for the sector, during what will be a significant period of change. We therefore need to gather views from across the sector on what the priority areas for our work should be.

“We will use online tools to widen our reach, and to regularly share our progress over the coming months. Most importantly, we want this to be the beginning of a longer conversation, which will inform and support the capacitybuilding programme over its 10-year lifespan”.

The capacitybuilding fund has been financed by the Cabinet Office through the Futurebuilders fund. Access claims it is currently in “listening mode” – “consulting widely to understand the specific needs for support, before launching its capacity-building initiatives in early 2016”.

The £105m Access fund also includes a £45m Growth Fund, which is made up from a £22.5m grant from the Big Lottery Fund and up to £22.5m from a loan from Big Society Capital.

The Growth Fund, which launched in May, offers investments of up to £250,000 to charities and social enterprises – either in the form of a loan or a mix of loan and grant funding. The fund opened for applications in May, and will operate for seven years in total.

The funding for the Growth Fund is available through Social Investment Financial Intermediaries (Sifis) – organisations which provide investment of lending to voluntary, community and social enterprises which are focused on creating social outcomes.

To contribute to the consultation fill out this online form. Access is also encouraging people to tweet their views with the hashtag #accesscapacity.