1 million Scots benefit from social investment, report finds

Over 1 million Scottish people have benefited from social investment over the past year, according to an annual impact report published by Social Investment Scotland (SIS).

The 2017 Social Impact Report, published today, is the result of research into the impact of investment for 130 SIS customers, including social enterprises, charities, and community organisations.

The report found that the activities of SIS customers have benefited 1.1 million Scots. Of these, 38% are estimated to live in Scotland’s most deprived areas. Edinburgh, Glasgow, and the Highlands and Islands proved the most popular regions for social investment.

Almost all SIS customers reported a decrease in turnover for the last full financial year, down from £191m in 2016 to £182m.

However, the number of customers declaring themselves financially sustainable has increased in the last year. 25% of customers reported no grant funding, relying on trading and other income instead - 7% more than in 2016. 

In addition, seven in ten (69%) organisations expect an increase in turnover from the last full financial year to this financial year (up 7% since 2016), while all expect their number of employees to grow over the next two years.

The report highlights social as well as economic impact for customers working across a range of sectors, including the environment, employment, mental health, and housing. 

The primary social impact delivered by customers is in employment, training and/or education, which was cited by a third of customers. Citizenship and community is the second most common, followed, in third place, by arts, heritage, sport and faith. 

One SIS customer working to get young people into education or employment is Day 1, a Highlands charity providing teenagers with a year-long, one-to-one mentoring service. 

The charity recently set up Inverness Kart Raceway (IKR), a social enterprise for which it secured SIS funding of £780,000 to build a go-karting track.

All profits from IKR go to Day 1 to support its youth work. According to their 2015-16 impact report, 94% of teenagers who took part in the Day 1 mentoring service were in full-time employment, education or training by the end of the 12-month period.

SIS chief executive Alastair Davis said: "It's very rewarding to see the benefit of our social investment reaching into so many communities across Scotland." 

"Not only are we supporting these organisations to grow and prosper, creating jobs and revenue, but we are also seeing more people in Scotland's most marginalised communities positively impacted by the amazing work carried out by our customers - day in, day out."

The SIS report follows the publication of the latest Social Enterprise in Scotland census report, on 6 September. 

Social Enterprise in Scotland: Census 2017 showed that the number of social enterprises operating in Scotland has increased by 8% in the last two years, meaning there are now around 5,600 in the country.  

Nick Kuenssberg, chairman of SIS, said: “As one of the UK’s leading responsible finance providers, SIS will continue to retain a singular focus on increasing social impact across Scotland and the number of people benefiting from that impact.”

The full report can be read here

Photo: Alastair Davis and Nick Kuenssberg. Credit: Social Investment Scotland