Unique social impact bond fund reaches successful £25m close

Bridges Ventures has announced the final close of the £25m social impact bond fund, aimed at providing investment and support for social care programmes across education, employment, housing, and care for vulnerable young people.

The Bridges Social Impact Bond Fund will provide capital for public sector-commissioned projects on a payment-by-results basis. Therefore, investors only receive returns if specific social improvement outcomes are achieved.

The fund reached first close at £14m in April 2013, and was oversubscribed for its £25m final close. New investors include the European Investment Fund, Great Manchester Pension Fund, Merseyside Pension Fund, Deutsche Bank, The Prince of Wales's Charitable Foundation, Trust for London, and The Highwood Foundation.

Two UK early intervention schemes have already received funding from the bond. Antony Ross, partner and head of social sector funds at Bridges Ventures said the growing track-record of improved social outcomes delivered by SIBs has attracted new socially aware investors to the fund alongside committed social investors.

"By using SIBs to fund early intervention, society benefits on several levels: commissioners save money by paying only for outcomes that improve the lives of beneficiaries; social outcomes are improved; and the total bill on society is reduced. With all the advantages we are seeing increasing levels of demand for SIBs from the government commissioners, charities and social organisations, and, encouragingly, investors."

The first project to receive funding from the bond, 'It's All About Me", is a programme developed by 18 voluntary adoption agencies that will support local authorities' adoption services by finding, training and supporting families to adopt children who are recognised as harder-to-place, and who otherwise would probably remain in care.

Another project commissioned by Manchester City Council and run by Action for Children is the first social impact bond to fund multi-dimensional treatment foster care placements, helping young people with challenging emotional and behavioural difficulties move back into family settings.

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