Northern Rock Foundation and Big Society Capital haveannounced their intention to create a £11.5m social investment fundfor the north east of England to support the development and expansion of voluntary and community organisations and social enterprises. This will be the first regional fund of its kind to be set up with Big Society Capital support.
Big Society Capital has committed,- in principle- , to invest £4.5m initially in the fund and Northern Rock Foundation has committed,- in principle- , to invest £3m, subject to completion of negotiations.A North East Social Investment Company will be set up to champion the development of social investment in the region and to oversee the running of the fund during its life,supported by a further £1.5m contribution from the Foundation.
Alastair Balls, Chairman of Northern Rock Foundation, said “The North East Social Investment Company , and its first social investment fund, are being set up to provide an innovative regional strategic solution to developing the market for social investment in the north east and reducing disadvantage, deprivation and social need in north east communities. This is an opportunity to create a seismic shift in the funding landscape of the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector (VCSE) in the region.”
Nick O’Donohoe, Chief Executive of Big Society Capital, said “We are delighted to be working in partnership with Northern Rock Foundation to set up an independent, sustainable and long lasting social investment facility that will catalyse enterprise, innovation and growth in the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector in the North East.”
The proposal for the Fund has been led by Northern Rock Foundation. It has been developed from analysis of the demand for social investment by PwC and also by regional expert Peter Deans, and with support from the North East Local Enterprise Partnership, Voluntary Organisations’ Network North East and social investorsand voluntary organisations working in the region.