Access – the Foundation for Social Investment has made its first investment, into a fund providing loans to health and social care charities in the South West, and calls for more applications to its Growth Fund.
Access has invested in the Health and Wellbeing Challenge Fund South West, which is to be delivered by Resonance, and will offer funding of up to £150,000 to charities and social enterprises in the South West of England who are “working to bring about positive impact in health and wellbeing”.
The fund totals nearly £5m and the South West Academic Health Science Network has also invested £400,000.
The programme is an initiative of the Growth Fund, which is designed to increase the availability of small, affordable, unsecured loans for charities and social enterprises.
Growth Fund call for proposals
Access is also calling for more application to the Growth Fund. The Fund, which totals £45m, provides a blend of loan from Big Society Capital and grant from the Big Lottery Fund to social investors across England.
Access said that this allows social investors to offer smaller loans and take much greater risk than other lenders like banks would be able to.
Seb Elsworth, Access’s chief executive, said: “The Growth Fund is there to bridge the gap between what charities and social enterprises say they need and what social investors have typically been able to offer. The blend of loan and grant, which we make available to social investors, means that those investors can provide smaller loans on affordable terms with appropriate support.”
Access, which was launched last year, has also committed in principle to make investments in five further funds across England.
The Foundation is calling on membership bodies, federal charities and Community Foundations to apply to the Growth Fund. It said that it is keen to hear from organisations that have not previously been social investors, but “who can offer reach and have an ambition to develop tailored investment products for different parts of the sector”.
More information on applying to the Growth Fund can be seen here.
Access’s capacity building initiative, which is funded by a £60m spend-down endowment from the Cabinet Office, will open its first two grant programmes – the Reach Fund and the Impact management programme – later in the year.