Cabinet Office support fund helps charities and social enterprises win £115m in deals

A support fund launched by the Cabinet Office has helped charities and social enterprises win contracts worth more than £115m, Minister for Civil Society Rob Wilson has announced.

The Investment and Contract Readiness Fund, managed by the Social Investment Business, has helped 51 charities and social enterprises win deals using £4.5m in grants.

Deals include Steps to Work winning a £27m contract from Walsall Council with the help of a £91,600 grant, and City and Hackney Mind winning a £10m tender to become the lead provider of mental health services in the boroughs of Hackney and City of London.

The ICRF was set up as a three-year pilot programme in March 2012 to help social ventures secure investment and compete for public service contracts by providing grants to purchase support such as legal advice, financial management and bid writing.

Organisations looking to raise at least £500,000 in investment or win contracts worth £1m or more could apply for grants of £50,000 to £150,000 to purchase the support they need from a list of approved providers. Since launch the ICRF has made grants worth £13.2m to 154 ventures.

Wilson said the fund had a significant impact on the charities and social enterprises that have received funding, and on the wider social investment market.

“Throughout the country there are fantastic charities and social enterprises, providing invaluable services to their community and making significant contributions to the national economy, and the ICRF is helping them scale up their activities rapidly. I am pleased that this fund - the first of its kind anywhere in the world – has been such an indisputable success.”

Wilson said the government plans to direct an estimated £60m in available capital from the Futurebuilders loanbook over the next decade to similar programmes.

Social Investment Business chief executive Jonathan Jenkins said the ICRF had “over-achieved”.

“Its success shows how, with specialist business support, charities and social enterprises can scale up rapidly and create much greater impact in their communities. There is a clear need for this type of funding and we will continue our work to develop this type of finance.”

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