Community groups could benefit from £11.5m funding pot

The Northern Echo: Loans could be on the cards for social enterprises and voluntary groups Loans could be on the cards for social enterprises and voluntary groups

BUSINESS leaders have welcomed the announcement of an £11.5m fund to provide loans for social enterprises, voluntary and community organisations across the region.

Northern Rock Foundation and Big Society Capital (BSC) have today (Monday, December 9) announced their intention to set up the so-called social investment fund.

It will be the first regional fund of its kind to be set up with support from BSC a Government-backed investment bank which offers investment to community projects and social enterprises.

It has committed – in principle – to invest an initial £4.5m and the Northern Rock Foundation has made a similar pledge worth £3m.

Both contributions are subject to the successful conclusion of further negotiations.

A North-East social investment company will be set up to champion the development of social investment in the region and to oversee the running of the fund during its life.

This will be supported by a further £1.5m contribution from the foundation.

Local enterprise partnership (LEP) Tees Valley Unlimited has welcomed the initiative.

Chief executive Stephen Catchpole said: “We look forward to seeing the new fund helping to stimulate social investment here in the Tees Valley.”

Alastair Balls, chairman of Northern Rock Foundation, said: “The North East Social Investment Company and its first social investment fund, are being set up to provide an innovative regional strategic solution to developing the market for social investment in the North-East and reducing disadvantage, deprivation and social need in communities.

“This is an opportunity to create a seismic shift in the funding landscape of the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector in the region.”

BSC chief executive Nick O’Donohoe said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with Northern Rock Foundation to set up an independent, sustainable and long lasting social investment facility that will catalyse enterprise, innovation and growth in the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector in the North-East.”

The proposal for the fund has been led by the foundation and developed from analysis of the demand for social investment by PriceWaterhouseCooper and regional expert Peter Deans.

There has also been support from LEPs and social/voluntary organisations.

Subject to completion of negotiations, the company will be set up early in the new year and the fund will be open for lending by mid-2014.

Comments (2)

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8:39am Mon 9 Dec 13

Homshaw1 says...

I wish these people would talk English.
I wish these people would talk English. Homshaw1

9:16am Mon 9 Dec 13

Hunty1 says...

Excellent news, there are other community foundations set up, but they only seem interested in supporting their own endowment funds!
Excellent news, there are other community foundations set up, but they only seem interested in supporting their own endowment funds! Hunty1

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