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Third sector contributing to growth

Social Investment Scotland unveils record funding

SISScotland’s third sector is benefitting from record levels of social investment, according to end-of-year figures published today by Social Investment Scotland (SIS).

SIS has secured £23 million this year in new or renewed investment commitments from the Royal Bank of Scotland, Bank of Scotland, Clydesdale Bank, the Scottish Government, Big Society Capital, Triodos Bank and Asda.

It has invested a record £7.5m to 45 social enterprises, charities and community organisations seeking growth. Since its start in 2001, SIS has invested £48.9m.

Nick Kuenssberg, chairman of Social Investment Scotland, said: “While we have succeeded in securing significant funding from more traditional investment sources, we have also focused on trying to unlock other sources of capital to help to fuel the growth of Scotland’s third sector.

“That’s one reason why we recently launched SIS Community Capital – Scotland’s first social investment fund for individual investors, backed by social investment tax relief. By tapping into the demand from high net worth individuals to invest their money in social causes, we can access a potentially significant additional pool of capital, which will help us to provide affordable loans to social enterprises and charities.

“Together with other funds under review or in discussion, this could have a major impact on the size and strength of Scotland’s third sector and its ability to play a central role in our society for future generations to come.”

Alastair Davis, chief executive of Social Investment Scotland, said: “Over the past year we have seen a step change in Scotland’s social investment market with marked increases on both the supply and demand sides.

“More capital is being injected into Scotland’s third sector than before and greater numbers of social enterprises and community organisations are looking at investment to help fund growth.

“With this significant increase in funds under management, SIS is in a strong position to continue connecting capital with more communities across Scotland.”

 The year’s SIS highlights include:

·        Since April 2014 SIS has made £2m of investments from its core lending capital, more than in any other year since the organisation was formed in 2001.

·        May 2014 saw SIS launch the new Social Growth Fund, £16m from the Scottish Government and Big Society Capital, £4m of which has already been committed to third sector organisations in Scotland.

·        SIS’ original bank investors, RBS, the Bank of Scotland and Clydesdale Bank, have confirmed plans to roll over their £2m investment in SIS for a further five years.

·        Triodos, the Dutch ethical bank, has made a commitment to SIS of up to £5m over the next five years to support investment activity.

·        In December 2014, SIS teamed up with Asda to launch Asda Community Capital, a fund for innovative social enterprises and community projects created from the Scottish Government’s single use carrier bag levy. In the first six months £156,000 has been awarded to five community based social enterprises across Scotland.

·        May 2015 saw the launch of SIS Community Capital – Scotland’s first social investment fund for individual investors, backed by social investment tax relief. The aim is to raise up to £500,000 for this pilot fund with monies to be dispensed by March 2016.

Photo: Nick Kuenssberg and Alastair Davis

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