Social Investment Funds

Social investment is not a grant but a loan or investment provided to enable your organisation to generate more income or be more effective. Social investment funds are generally open to trading voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations.

Access (Foundation for Social Investment) – Reach Fund

The Reach Fund is a two-year £4m grant fund, funded by Access (foundation for social investment) to test a new model for investment readiness support.
Approved social investors – Access Points – will assist charities and social enterprises that they want to invest in but are not yet investment ready to apply for Reach Fund grants of up to £15K. If referred to the programme, the Access Point will offer support to identify needs, develop an investment readiness plan, and apply for a grant. If the application is successful, the funding can then be used to pay for the support needed to become investment ready. Then, hopefully, return to the Access Point to secure the investment.
Applications can only be made following a referral from an Access Point – check the Reach Fund website for the full directory.


Big Issue Invest

Big Issue Invest help scale up social enterprises and charities that help tackle poverty and inequality by providing loans and investments, not grants, from £50,000 to £1 million.


The Care and Wellbeing Fund

This is an investment fund that aims to develop and scale community-based services to improve people’s health and wellbeing, with a particular focus on long-term conditions such as cancer. The Fund has four key priorities:

  • Community based care
  • Integrated care
  • Better use of  informal resources
  • Prevention and wellbeing

Launched in 2015 with £12 million of investment from Big Society Capital and Macmillan Cancer Support, the funding is to be fully invested by 2020, with individual investments to commissioners, CICs and limited companies of between £500k and £2.4m into community-based services and social enterprises within the UK.


Charities Aid Foundation Venturesome–fundraising/borrowing/social-investment.aspx

CAF Venturesome provides affordable financial support to charities, social enterprises and community groups when grants may not be available and access to traditional financial institutions is difficult. They offer financial support of between £25,000 and £250,000 (or up to £350,000 in certain circumstances) to help with specific challenges. This can include developing your organisation, or simply providing a line of credit to weather difficult periods. There is no application form to fill in, as every application is dealt with personally by a member of our team. A tailor-made package of investment and advice is created precisely to meet your needs.


Community Investment Fund and Third Sector Loan Fund

Provide investment of £250,000 to £3 million in the form of loans, participation loans and equity. Interested in locally led organisations which are providing essential support and services to improve the well-being of local residents, developing the local economy and creating positive social change for all individuals in the community. The Fund aims to improve the quality of life of local individuals, particularly those who are vulnerable and disadvantaged, and to enhance community engagement and cohesion by empowering people to develop locally-determined solutions to challenges and opportunities.


Esmee Fairbairn

We provide social investment in the form of different types of repayable finance to charities and other not-for-profit organisations, with the aim of creating social impact.
We look to make investments that meet the aims of our funding strategy (see website for particular areas of interest which include social change) and achieve high social impact as well as a financial return. For example, we can invest in start-up projects or enterprises, innovative models or services aiming to address social issues, organisations looking to scale or move towards longer term financial sustainability. Our investments include loans, bonds, equity, and underwriting.


Nesta Impact Investments

Investments of £150K-£1million over a 4-8 year period in early stage ventures with strong business models. Priorities relevant to DDPOs are: ageing well (quality of life and participation in older people) and children and young people’s wellbeing (physical and mental wellbeing, positive contribution and employment readiness).


Trust for London – Capital for London

Trust for London is an independent charitable foundation tackling poverty and inequality in the capital; they are particularly interested in new and imaginative ways of addressing the root causes of London’s social problems, especially where it has the potential to influence and change policy, practice and public attitudes, and targeted towards groups of people who are more likely to be affected by poverty and inequality, with Disability as one of their priorities.

As well as their grant making, they also offer organisations financial investment to support work that generates an income whilst delivering social returns. For example, a community organisation that needs funds to start a trading venture or to scale up its capacity to deliver contracted services could be funded in this way. Typically their social investments will be loans or equity that must be repaid with interest.

See their website for more information.


inclusion-london-reportsMore resources available in our Members area

• Member Resource: Getting to Grips with Business Modelling
• DDPO HR Policy Templates
• Toolkit: Making Events Accessible to Disabled People

Not a member? Find out how your organisation can become a member at