NEWS: Access and Social Investment Business announce the launch of the Reach Fund

24 October 2016
Reach fund logo
  • Major new grant programme to help charities and social enterprises access social investment, funded by Access – The Foundation for Social Investment
  • Fund is designed to work closely with social investors to simplify the process for charities and social enterprises. Ten social investors will participate initially
  • Access announces that Social Investment Business will deliver the programme

A major new initiative to support charities and social enterprises to access the investment they need to grow and diversify their income streams has launched. The two year, £4m Reach Fund will provide grants to organisations who need specific support to be able to take on a loan, and is designed to test a new model of investment readiness support.

The Fund will give a bigger role to social investors in their investment readiness process. A number of approved social investors, called Access Points, will refer charities and social enterprises that they want to invest in, but who are not yet ‘investment ready’, to the programme.

Charities and social enterprises will receive support from the Access Point to identify the work which will result in them being able to secure investment, and support them with a simple application process to receive a grant. Grants of up to £15,000 will be available.

Seb Elsworth, Chief Executive of Access, said:

“Charities and social enterprises have told us that they want to be able to access investment more easily. We have designed the Reach Fund so that social investors don’t have to turn away organisations who have a viable plan to grow their income but need some development support.

“For the charity or social enterprise this means that whether they are ready to take on a loan, or whether they need more support first, the social investor will be able to help.

“The availability of grant support for charities and social enterprises should allow social investors to take greater risks, expand their reach, and should also encourage new organisations to become social investors for the first time.”

To launch the fund, ten Access Points have been selected. They are Big Issue Invest, CAF Venturesome, Co-operative & Community Finance, FSE Group, Key Fund, Northstar Ventures, Resonance, Social and Sustainable Capital, Social Finance and Somerset Community Foundation. Charities and social enterprises seeking investment should continue to apply to those social investors as normal. They will then be able to refer into the Reach Fund if the organisation needs investment readiness support.

In order to test this new model the Reach Fund will first be launched at a limited scale. This will allow the approach to be reviewed and for improvements to be made to the fund design. The fund will then be expanded in early 2017 when further Access Points will be recruited.

The programme is funded through the endowment given to Access by the Government to support charities and social enterprises to be better able to access investment opportunities.

Rob Wilson MP, the Minister for Civil Society said:

“The Office for Civil Society supported the creation of Access with £60m endowment to help charities and social enterprises take advantage of investment opportunities. 

As the social investment market continues to grow, the Reach Fund offers a new and much needed approach to investment readiness support, one which builds squarely on the successes and learning from programmes such as the Government’s Investment and Contract Readiness Fund and the Impact Readiness Fund.”

Social Investment Business will deliver the Reach Fund on behalf of Access. Jonathan Jenkins, Social Investment Business Chief Executive said:

“We are committed to improving the way investment readiness support is delivered so are absolutely delighted to have been appointed by Access to run this new programme.

“The fund is intentionally different from programmes such as Big Potential or the Investment and Contract Readiness Fund so we can compare each approach. We are looking forward to developing the fund with Access and discovering more about the best way help to charities and social enterprises get investment ready.”

The Reach Fund website has now launched at where further information about how the fund will work and how to apply can be found. Charities and social enterprises will be able to register for the Reach Fund from Tuesday 1st November.

A Twitter Q&A, using the tag #AskReach will be held on Thursday 27th October from 1pm – 2pm when Social Investment Business, Access and some of the first Access Points will be on hand to answer any questions.