£60million investment readiness fund

A new £60million grant fund to support charities to get ready for social investment has been launched by the Office for Civil Society using money repaid from the Futurebuilders loan fund.

The government has also published a new strategy to support social investment, in which it promises to pilot a guarantee fund to support crowdfunding and to seek state aid approval to allow the sector to access larger amounts of social investment tax relief.

The new grant fund will help charities interested in social investment develop the skills and business plans to take on funding, and will be available over the next decade, the Office for Civil Society has announced.

The fund will be based on the £10million Investment and Contract Readiness Fund, run by the Social Investment Business on behalf of the Office for Civil Society.

The money will come from the Futurebuilders loan fund, which is also run by the Social Investment Business, and which lent more than £150million to charities and social enterprises under the last government.

Repayments from that fund have so far reached £48million, and another £15millon is expected over the next two years, with repayments of up to £6million a year thereafter. Of that money, £20million has already been committed to the social outcomes fund, which helps finance social impact bonds.

The government has also published its social investment strategy as part of its progress report on the growth of social investment, which can be downloaded at www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/321483/2014_Social_Investment_Strategy.pdf.