Big Society Capital, together with Access – The Foundation for Social Investment (Access), has launched a new social investment programme called Local Access. This programme will provide a blend of grant and repayable investment worth at least £33m across five places in England.
The objective of the programme is to support the growth of the social economy in these places to help reduce poverty and inequality. Local Access will work with places in a variety of ways to achieve this but will focus on:
- addressing the barriers facing enterprises in developing resilient business models, such as the availability of suitable funding; and
- supporting collaboration between organisations within places.
Local Access will provide development grants which will be used by local partnerships to develop plans. Alongside this there will be funding for Enterprise Development activities which will support social enterprises and charities in becoming more financially resilient.
After working with a range of partners with extensive experience in supporting place-based initiatives, Local Access has invited twelve places to develop plans for how a blend of grant and repayable finance can support their local social economy. It is expected five of these places will go on to receive investment.
The twelve places are: Bradford, Bristol, Calderdale, Coventry, Dover, Gainsborough, Hartlepool/Tees Valley, Leicester, Plymouth, Southwark, Wigan and Greater Manchester.
One organisation in each place has been invited to convene a local partnership that will develop a vision for their social economy, and a plan for how Local Access can help achieve this. Whilst the programme will not be able to support all twelve places, we hope the process involved will be of value to all participating places. Both Big Society Capital and Access will look to support those who are not selected for investment in other ways.