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£3.1 million from dormant bank accounts invested in Big Society projects

£3.1 million from dormant bank accounts will be invested in new projects to support local communities, Nick Hurd Minister for the Civil Society said today

The Big Society Investment Fund, which has been set up to support innovative projects ahead of the launch of Big Society Capital, has agreed in principle to invest £3.1 million in four projects, including: money to help the long-term unemployed set up their own businesses; support for vulnerable young people to get into employment; a community energy project; and the creation of the first ever social stock exchange. Minister for Civil Society Nick Hurd said: “This is about putting money that has been lying around dormant in bank accounts for years to good use in projects that will benefit our local communities and social entrepreneurs. “These investments will bring real changes to people’s lives. They will help young people into jobs and give the long-term unemployed the opportunity to set up their own businesses.

“The Big Society Investment Fund, under the auspices of the Big Lottery Fund, is doing a fantastic job forging the way. Already, their investment decisions show the range of exciting projects that just need financial backing to get going.”

The four organisations benefiting from the money are:

  • FranchisingWorks will receive a £1 million investment, which will help long-term unemployed people to set up their own franchise business;
  • Triodos Bank will set up a new payment by results initiative using its £500,000 investment to improve educational, training and work outcomes for vulnerable young people in Merseyside;
  • Community Generation Fund, run by Finance South East will receive £750,000 to set up an initiative to create community owned social enterprises within deprived communities which offer affordable, green energy and reinvest profits in the neighbourhood; and
  • The Social Stock Exchange will use its £850,000 investment to set up the world’s first stock exchange for social enterprises, to be located in London and improve access to capital for social entrepreneurs.

John Kingston, Chair of the Investment Committee who agreed the fund, said:

“The Investment Committee has just agreed another four in-principle investments. We’ve been impressed by the strength of the deal-flow under the Big Society Investment Fund. And I'm confident we'll be approving more investments in early 2012, to help build and grow the social investment market here in the UK.”

Nick O’Donohoe, Chief Executive of Big Society Capital, said:

“I am very excited by the breadth of ideas and the geographic spread of the investments of the Big Society Investment Fund, which bodes well for future financing proposals we hope to see when Big Society Capital opens for business next year.”

The Big Society Investment Fund was set up by the Big Lottery Fund under the Dormant Accounts Act to make early investments prior to the establishment of Big Society Capital (previously known as the Big Society Bank). Today’s announcement follows the first in-principle investment, announced in July, of up to £1m in a social investment fund run by the Private Equity Foundation to help disadvantaged young people into employment, education or training.

The Big Society Investment Fund will consider more proposals at its Investment Committee in February, where it hopes to make further investments. It is envisaged that this will be the final meeting of the Investment Committee as Big Society Capital is on target to be fully operational by the end of the first quarter of 2012.

Last updated | 
28 December 2011