The Social Investment Business and Social Enterprise North West has launched the UK’s first Local Impact Fund in Liverpool. The £2 million Liverpool City Region Impact Fund will provide business support and finance to local charities and social enterprises to help them grow and increase the impact they achieve in their communities.
The Fund will provide unsecured loans of from £50,000 to £250,000 to eligible organisations for up to five years.
More Local Impact Funds
Ten other cities and regions, from Devon to Cumbria, have plans to follow Liverpool with their own Local Impact Funds. Sir Stephen Bubb, Chair of the Social Investment Business, expects even more to follow them.
“We believe that about 15 to 20 Local Enterprise Partnerships will want to launch a Local Impact Fund by 2016, and we are already recruiting our next wave of partners. We expect these funds to be between £5 million and £10 million initially, and they will be a critical first step in bringing social investment to communities anywhere in the UK.”
Speaking at the launch in Liverpool, Nick Hurd, Minister for Civil Society, said:
“Local Impact Funds are an exciting opportunity to support organisations that can bring both economic and social benefit to an area. Britain leads the world in developing the idea of social investment. It is fantastic that Liverpool leads the country in developing a Local Impact Fund. Where Liverpool leads, I hope that others will follow.”
Need for funding for expansion
The Social Investment Business developed Local Impact Funds as a financial product in order to attract funds from the EU, national and local investors, and use them to stimulate a local social enterprise economy. The funding will help create jobs in organisations delivering vital services in their community, such as housing, health and care for young people, the elderly and disabled.
The Liverpool fund is financed by £1 million from the Social Investment Business, through its parent charity the Adventure Capital Fund, and £1 million from the European Regional Development Fund’s 2007-2013 programme.
Val Jones, CEO of Social Enterprise North West, commented:
“Three in four social enterprises tell us that lack of finance is preventing them scaling up the good work they do. Local Impact Funds will give them the scale of funding they need to realise their ambitions, creating jobs, growth and improved services tailored to the needs of their communities.”
How to apply
Charities and social enterprises will be able to apply for investment from the Liverpool City Region Impact Fund on the Social Investment Business website from 1 April 2014. They should submit an expression of interest before the 28 February in order to be eligible to apply when the Fund opens.
The Fund may reopen for further expressions of interest later this year, subject to available funding. The first investments are due to be agreed this summer.
Charities and social enterprises in five areas will be eligible for investment: Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton, St Helens and Wirral. Halton is excluded from the Merseyside allocation of ERDF funds in the 2007-13 programme.