Join Our Network

Social Investment in Action

On Monday the 24th June, I spent the day in sunny Sheffield with fellow grantees from the Connect Fund. The Connect Fund funds my post of Social Investment Officer and has a mission to grow the social investment market.
As most of us didn’t know much about each other and our projects, we were given a playing card and told to sit on the table of the corresponding suit. This worked really well in getting us chatting which was reinforced with a round of ‘Speed Dating’. Although initially cringe worthy, this worked brilliantly in getting to know all the other delegates. If you want to know any more about this, please let me know. I will be using it in my training soon!
Projects covered almost the whole of England and what was very interesting was that no matter how big or small each project was, the issues were pretty much the same:
• Social Investment is a term very much misunderstood, it is not a panacea for VCSE organisations
• Social enterprise as a concept is a flexible one with some organisations defining themselves as thus when they are not and vice versa.
• There is still a need for more understanding of certain language and concepts used in social enterprise / social investment, as well as the need for signposting to good resources.
• There follows the issue of getting these resources out to the people and organisations who could benefit.
• Mismatch between what social investors want to invest in and what the VCSE sector wants/needs financing.
• Lack of support for the initial stages when organisations are full of enthusiasm and ideas but don’t have the resources to test out the viability of an idea.
That’s not to say that the event was focused on problems, there were presentations from NAVCA about how they were embedding the Legacy of the Connect Fund amongst their membership and the importance of infrastructure organisations in getting the word out to the sector
It was also interesting to here from Access, the Foundation of Social Investment about the pilot work they have been doing with Youth and Homeless organisations and how they are going to change the way their fund to be more widely accessible to the sector…watch this space!
There is a lot of investment money ‘out there’ so please contact me if you would like to know more so that we can grow the social investment sector here in Suffolk.