SE100 2020 Social investment award winners: Social and Sustainable Capital and Hull Women’s Network

The social investment award recognises groundbreaking or innovative deals in social and/or impact investment.

Our SE100 judges have seen a lot of social investment deals, but this one really jumped out at them. The Social and Sustainable Housing fund, co-designed by investor Social and Sustainable Capital (SASC) and investee Hull Women’s Network, was lauded by our judges as a real “investee-led deal”, “truly innovative” and a “blueprint” for others to follow.

The fund was launched in May 2019 to provide 10-year loans of between £2m and £5m to UK charities to help purchase housing for the vulnerable people they serve. It began, says SASC’s awards entry, with “a charity and a blank piece of paper”. 

The blank piece of paper, however, only came after SASC managing director Ben Rick’s offer of a 100 per cent LTV (loan to value) mortgage to Hull Women’s Network was turned down flat by trustee Lisa Hilder. Rick returned for a detailed conversation with Hilder and together they devised a product which really met the charity’s needs, in particular by covering 100% of the purchase price and sharing the risks with the investor.

Together they devised a product which really met the charity’s needs

The result is neither a mortgage nor a lease and already it has expanded Hull Women’s Network’s property portfolio by 50 per cent. The charity, which provides specialist housing and support to women escaping domestic violence, has already worked with SASC, receiving a £2m loan in 2017. When the new Social and Sustainable Housing fund was launched, Hull Women’s Network was the first investee, receiving £3m which means it can now buy 49 more properties.

The investment has come at the right time for Hull Women’s Network which is experiencing unprecedented demand for its services during the covid-19 pandemic. Lisa Hilder tells Pioneers Post that although there has been a spike in women needing support as domestic violence cases soar under the pressure of lockdown, the charity has been able to house everyone in need.


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