Half of Futurebuilders loans now repaid

One of the earliest social investment funds to be launched in the UK has now had more than 50% of the money repaid.

The Futurebuilders fund, managed by Social Investment Business(SIB), has now seen £58.5m repaid from a total of £117m loaned out. The fund also provided grants of £28m.

The idea for the fund came from a 2002 Treasury review into the role of the voluntary and community sector in public service delivery. Finding that access to finance was the major barrier for organisations wanting to participate, the Futurebuilders fund was set up in response. The money from the fund was originally intended to provide for the costs involved in bidding for and servicing public service contracts.

A former incarnation of the Office for Civil Society provided the fund's total of £145m. The interest rate on the loans was 6% and a total of 369 organisations received investment between 2004 and 2010.

The money was disbursed in two phases. The first phase ran between 2004 and 2008 and was managed by a consortium of Charity Bank, Unity Trust Bank, the National Council for Voluntary Organisations and Northern Rock Foundation.

Social Investment Business won the tender to manage the second disbursement between 2008 and 2010. SIB was paid £863,000 to manage the fund during the last financial year.

Repaid money will be recycled for further social investment through the Access Foundation. It will go towards the two capacity building programmes run by Access. These are the Reach Fund and the Impact Management programme. 

Civil society minister Rob Wilson said: “Futurebuilders was one of the building blocks of social investment in the UK market and helped pave the way for the world leading ecosystem we have today. It is great to see that over 50% of the fund has now been repaid allowing the money to be used again to fund new and exciting programmes such as Access.”

Access’ Reach Fund totals £4m and is intended for social ventures that require extra support to become investment ready. The Impact Management programme offers support to those wanting to start or already undertaking impact management.

All of Access’ capacity building work is funded by a £60m endowment from the Office for Civil Society which all comes from the returns from the Futurebuilders fund.

Seb Elsworth, chief executive of Access, said: “We will be spending this on making grants over 10 years. We have received around £47m of the endowment so far and are due to receive the rest over the next couple of years.” 

Photo credit: Marcin Wichary