Communities & social investment | Big Society Capital
& social investment
Southmead Development Trust
Investment Director

A growing number of communities are developing sustainable solutions to local problems. We see community organisations as essential to achieving our vision of an accessible and participatory social investment market.

Many communities in the UK have faced persistent and entrenched social issues. Especially now, while facing a significant decline in public spending, these issues have been exacerbated, leading to a decline in community cohesion and engagement, weakened socio-economic outcomes, as well as a general lack of empowerment to affect change.

In the current economic climate, community organisations are trying to reduce their reliance on dwindling grant pots. There is appetite for investment, but at an affordable cost that will not put the organisation at risk. Social investment can be used to help in a number of ways.

Community shares are an important source of finance for community-led projects. They give individuals the opportunity to invest in local projects by purchasing a portion via “withdrawable shares”. This market continues to grow, with over 320 share offers since 2009, having raised in excess of £78 million from around 50,000 members.

Social investment can be used to help communities in a number of ways.

Our communities induction slides provide further information. 

1. Financing local charities and social enterprises

2. Crowdfunding for local projects


The world’s first crowdfunding platform for civic projects.

Crowd Match Fund

We want to create a £5 million fund to match crowdfunded investments made by individuals into SITR-eligible charities and social enterprises.

3. Helping communities acquire, develop and use community assets


Local residents in Redruth funded the building of a wind turbine through buying community shares.

Southmead Development Trust

The Greenway Centre is a community run business centre and community hub. It used social investment to install solar panels.

Latest blogs, research and news

Blog | 25 June 2018
James Burrows , Investment Director at Big Society Capital, gives an overview of how we are approaching our work in...
Blog | 1 May 2018
As part of the GET INFORMED campaign for trustees, we hear from Bob Thust, Treasurer of The Bevy Pub in Brighton as he...
News | 7 February 2018
A new £30 million fund for Community Development Finance Institutions (CDFIs) launched today to meet the needs of small...
To crowdfund for local projects
To acquire and develop community assets
To create local investment pools


Community Broadband

Many rural communities do not currently have access to high-speed broadband and will likely continue to be unserved by mainstream providers in the future. 

One-stop Shop for Social Investment for Community Enterprises

Community enterprises often need a blend of funding (grant, loans) to set up new organisations. 

Future investment ideas

Visit our future investment ideas page to see what new ideas we're working on.

Social investment insights

Research | 13 March 2015

This Social Investment Insights paper focuses on how social investment can be used to support community organisations.