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 | 15 November 2018
John Bishop, managing director of social enterprise Evolve writes about being a social – and systems – entrepreneur. He...
Events | 1 November 2018
Location: The Passage, St Vincents Centre, Carlisle Place, London SW1P 1NL Time: 9.30am-12.30pm
Blog | 5 September 2018
For International Day of Charity , charity Child Dynamix talks about the valuable work they do in deprived communities...
Finance for Scottish based charities and social enterprises
To acquire and develop community assets
To support underserved local business to improve lives


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.