£500k funding pot to help London charities enter social investment market

Melanie May | 4 April 2017 | News

The Stepping Stones Fund is making £500,000 available for charities that are looking to break into the London social investment market.
The programme aims to help charities overcome the barriers to seeking social investment, and is open to charities in Greater London. The deadline for applications is 10th May.
The Stepping Stones Fund was launched in 2015 by the City of London Corporation’s charitable arm, City Bridge Trust, and UBS. City Bridge Trust has already awarded over £2,185,000 to 49 organisations across 20 London boroughs through the fund.
The scheme offers organisations funding, advice and learning opportunities to help develop their ideas, bring in new technical assistance and get products ready for market. Beneficiaries range from charities supporting disadvantaged children and young people, to community projects looking to strengthen local employment skills and education.
Recent grantee, The Bike Project (pictured), received £40,000 last November. It is using the funding to employ bike mechanics to help it refurbish more bicycles to donate to refugees so they can become better integrated and involved in the community.
Jem Stein, director of The Bike Project, said:
“The Stepping Stones grant has been instrumental in testing our business model on a larger scale which has transformed our ability to attract investment. This has already been successful and we are currently discussing our options with potential investors.”
Alison Gowman, Chairman of the City of London Corporation’s City Bridge Trust committee, said:

“We have already been able to award a large amount of funding to a wide range of organisations through the fund. We understand it takes hard work to develop a new market and the simple provision of capital is rarely enough to encourage the quality and diversity of product to emerge. We look forward to receiving applications from organisations looking to step into the social investment market.”