£4m Reach Fund will bolster investment readiness in England

A £4m small grants scheme opens on 1 November to help charities and social enterprises in England prepare their organisations for social investment.

The Reach Fund will last for two years and aims to test a new model of investment readiness support with a big role for social investors at this early stage. It is funded by Access – the Foundation for Social Investment, which was established with a £60m government endowment, and delivered by the Social Investment Business.

Seb Elsworth, chief executive of Access, said: “Charities and social enterprises have told us that they want to be able to access investment more easily. We have designed the Reach Fund so that social investors don’t have to turn away organisations who have a viable plan to grow their income but need some development support.”

The availability of grant support should allow social investors to take greater risks

Charities and social enterprises will only be able to get support from the Reach Fund by first approaching one of a number of approved social investors called Access Points. The Access Points will refer organisations to the fund if they are interested in supporting them, but they are not yet investment ready.

Grants of up to £15,000 will be available.

Elsworth said: “For the charity or social enterprise this means that, whether they are ready to take on a loan, or whether they need more support first, the social investor will be able to help.”

He added: “The availability of grant support for charities and social enterprises should allow social investors to take greater risks, expand their reach, and should also encourage new organisations to become social investors for the first time.”

Chief executive of the Social Investment Business, Jonathan Jenkins, said that a key part of the fund was to test out a new model of support.

He said: “I am particularly looking forward to working with Access on this as their approach towards being ‘Accessible’ and sharing what they’re learning is crucial to making this fund work. We will use what we learn to improve the fund as we go along and hone the design.”

There are currently ten Access Points. Further Access Points will be recruited in 2017 when the fund is expanded.

  • To find out more see www.reachfund.org.uk. A Twitter Q&A will be held on Thursday 27 October from 1pm to 2pm when representatives of the fund will be on hand to answer questions via the hashtag #AskReach.