Patient, unsecured loan to allow BBRC to expand its operations in delivering civic-led, commercially focused and innovative investment solutions that catalyse regional change.
Bristol & Bath Regional Capital (BBRC) was formed in 2015 as a local ‘public good’ investment company, with the mission to enhance the social, environmental and economic development of the West of England region.
It was founded with support from Bristol City Council, Business West, John Pontin of the Bristol Bond project, The Society of Merchant Venturers, St John’s Foundation, the University of Bristol, UWE and Voscur, plus a number of local third sector groups, foundations and universities. This diverse group of local stakeholders has come together to assist local projects to get off the ground by helping to find sources of finance, local and external to the region, where they would otherwise struggle.
BBRC’s local priorities include:
- Homes and Communities
- Community Services and Assets
- Low Carbon Economy and the Environment
- Enterprise and Employability
BBRC supports projects requiring a range of financing needs, from microloans for local business and community groups to large asset-backed developments.
There is a recognised need across these priority areas within the region. Of the largest cities in the UK, Bristol is second only to London as having the least affordable housing relative to local incomes; unemployment has increased rapidly in recent years, particularly in its most deprived wards; and Bristol has set itself an ambitious target of reducing its CO2 emissions by 40% by 2020 (set when Bristol was named the Green Capital of Europe in 2015).
The region is home to a large number of community and voluntary organisations, with a rich history of imaginative and effective social entrepreneurship. These organisations must play a major role if the region is to achieve its targets for tackling local issues. They will in turn require locally-led, innovative and affordable financing solutions in order to grow and expand successfully.
With its unique partnership model and strong local networks, BBRC is in a strong position to meet this need. As an example of its innovation, BBRC was the first intermediary in the UK to structure a charity bond using social investment tax relief (SITR), issued to South Bristol Sports Centre, in a deal that won Social Investment Deal of the Year 2016 from Social Enterprise UK.
BBRC has created an exciting and innovative approach to solving local issues through the coming together of its diverse partners and local stakeholders, and by exploring locally-led and innovative finance solutions. This successful model could be replicated across other regions in the UK, representing a strong market development multiple for the wider social investment market.
- Big Society Capital investment: £250,000