Big Lottery Fund
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Big Potential to expand support and grants to VCSEs looking to raise social investment

Big Lottery Fund has announced an additional £10m for its investment readiness programme, Big Potential, meaning that a total of £20m is now available to Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) organisations. The expansion will see a new “Advanced route” added to the programme, supporting organisations at a more advanced stage in their social investment journey, looking to raise larger investments of over £500,000 as well as win contracts over £1m. The new advanced route of Big Potential will be available to those that are clear about how social investment could work for them and can describe a potential deal or interest from investors and need help to close that deal. Grants of up to £150,000 will be available.

The original £10m fund will continue, offering in-depth support and grants to VCSEs looking to raise smaller amounts of repayable investment of up to £500,000 that are at an earlier stage in their social investment journey with a realistic investment proposition that can fund their growth and development but yet to determine what type of investment or deal will be appropriate. This existing support will now be delivered through the breakthrough route of the programme which includes preliminary and investment plan grants up to £75,000.

Geeta Gopalan, Vice Chair of the England Committee at Big Lottery Fund: “In these challenging times for the sector we believe that this increased investment will help even more VCSE organisations to access social investment, enabling them to grow their trading activity and hopefully become more sustainable.  We are committed to ensuring that VCSE’s are able to get the right support at the right time, and so the enhanced Big Potential programme is a very important piece of the wider investment readiness offer, that will complement a number of other programmes.”

Jonathan Jenkins, Chief Executive of the Social Investment Business said: “There is more and more evidence that this kind of targeted investment readiness support is delivering results. When delivered at the right stage it can help transform VCSEs and can open up a range of opportunities offered by the growing social investment market. We are delighted that Big Potential will now offer end to end support to those ambitious VCSEs and help them raise investment most appropriate to their needs enabling them to grow their impact on their communities and beneficiaries.“

Grants and support under the advanced route for Big Potential will be available from summer 2015. Interested VCSEs can register their interest now to different website to receive an email update as soon as information about the launch dates becomes available.  The breakthrough route is already open and VCSE organisations can apply via the Big Potential website.

Big Potential is administered by the Social Investment Business in partnership with Locality, Charity Bank, Social Enterprise UK and University of Northampton, on behalf of the Big Lottery Fund.

Notes to editors

  • The Big Lottery Fund supports the aspirations of people who want to make life better for their communities across the UK. We are responsible for giving out 40% of the money raised by the National Lottery and invest over £650 million a year in projects big and small in health, education, environment and charitable purposes.
  • Since June 2004 we have awarded over £6.5billion to projects that make a difference to people and communities in need, from early years intervention to commemorative travel funding for World War Two veterans.
  • Since the National Lottery began in 1994, £32 billion has been raised and more than 450,000 grants awarded.
  • The Social Investment Business is one of the UK’s leading social investors and has invested over £340 million in charities and social enterprises since 2002. We provide simple finance to help them grow and transform the communities in which they work. We pioneer new finance solutions to increase the funds available for social investment. to different website @TheSocialInvest.
  • Information on how to apply to Big Potential is available to different website


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