Awards honour trailblazing social financiers


Awards honour trailblazing social financiers

The UK’s first ever Social Investment Awards have recognised individuals and organisations for their role in supporting social businesses.

 

The awards, backed by Prime Minister David Cameron and hosted by Money Saving Expert’s Martin Lewis, were run by the Cabinet Office and RBS and celebrated the positive impact of investors whose support helps social enterprises and charities to grow and remain sustainable.

Social investment helps organisations make a vital impact in their communities. Around 40% of social enterprises operate in the most deprived communities in the UK, contributing £55bn to the economy. These types of businesses are growing in numbers but often struggle to access finance, and without investment, many of the organisations simply would not exist. The awards aim to inspire other investors to back charities and social enterprises to make both a financial and social return. 

Money Saving Expert’s Martin Lewis explains: “There are many people who hope for more than just profit from their investments, they want to feel good about what they’re doing too.  Social investments allow people to do that – to put money into projects that support social change.  Therefore it’s important to support the promotion of those opportunities, so people realise it is a realistic option available to them.”

Darlington-based Refresh is one such example. The organisation recycles pre-owned furniture and household goods and as well as reducing waste, has provided 79 work placements for the long term unemployed and 11 placements for ex-offenders. Investment from The Key Fund, who won the Community Impact Award, has enabled Refresh to extend its positive impact in their local community.  

Prime Minister David Cameron backed the awards saying: "Social investment can be one of the greatest forces for social change on the planet. Whether it is reducing re-offending, tackling youth unemployment or finding loving homes for the hardest to place children in care, by using the power of finance we can get to grips with some of the most difficult social problems that have frustrated governments around the world for generations." 

Social Investment Award Winners: 

Triodas Bank winner of The Investor Access Award which celebrates those who aim to create a market that caters to every potential investor. Triodos Bank is the leading sustainable bank in Europe with over 30,000 retail customers in the UK. They have sought to make it easier to become a social investor by offering a range of products– from the small scale retail investor, through to large scale institutions. 

The Omidyar Network winner of The Global Impact Award which celebrates those who are doing the most to help unleash the potential of social investment globally. The Omidyar Network plays a leading role in developing a set of common standards for measuring financial and social returns. Their support has helped to secure a commitment of over £125m to the Global Innovation Fund which is focused upon addressing global development challenges. 

The Key Fund winner of The Community Impact Award which celebrates organisations that use social investment to maximise their impact upon local communities. The Key Fund is the largest regionally based social investor in England and has invested over £33m in 2,200 organisations. Their investments have included the regeneration of Unity Hall to create a community benefit cooperative, and Care and Share Associates - a ground-breaking franchise for the care sector that has grown into an organisation with an £8m turnover and 550 employee-owners. 

The Big Venture Challenge winner of The Investment Readiness Award which celebrates the work of those who are doing most to support social entrepreneurs as they seek investment or compete for public and private sector contracts. The Big Venture Challenge is delivered by UnLtd. Working with a range of specialist partners, they provide the bespoke support needed by early-stage social entrepreneurs. Organisations supported include Oomph, a social enterprise that provides health and well-being classes for the elderly in over 500 care homes across the UK.  

Threadneedle & Big Issue Invest - UK Social Bond Fund winners of The New Markets Award which celebrates the innovators in the market and those who are building the pipeline of investment needed to support organisations that are working to address social issues throughout the UK. Warwickshire County Council has been the most recent investor in the Fund – with an investment of over £30m. Projects supported include the allocation of £11.3m for the construction or refurbishment of social housing.

Read about RBS's history with social investment and why we partnered with the Cabinet Office in these awards in this blog post from Thom Kenrick, RBS Head of Community Programmes. 

Read more about the Social Investment Awards

 

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