Blog written by Jenny Wildblood, Development Officer (Funding).
We were very pleased to learn this Autumn that the Barrow Cadbury Trust Connect Fund had awarded Voscur a grant to enable “Project 2020”, a peer-learning and support programme for charities and social enterprises to help them access social finance.
For those not in-the-know, social finance is another name for loans; people and organisations that want the world to change for the better can lend money at special terms to organisations that can prove they can use it to make a real impact.
The idea of social finance has been around for a while, but lately there’s been a lot of investment in this area - perhaps because the amount available in grants or from statutory sources has sunk like a stone. I’ll admit that this situation worries me; there’s no way that lending (and the income-generation activities that pay for it) can ever completely replace these key traditional funding sources. I shared these concerns with Sara Llewellyn, Barrow Cadbury’s CEO, at a meeting for all Connect Fund grantees, and to my surprise she completely agreed.
So if, like me, she has her doubts about how much this funding model can really deliver, why does her Trust support it? Sara’s answer was very straightforward: if the sector is to survive and thrive, any organisation that could use social finance for part of its income has a duty to do so; that way the grants are left to fund activities and groups that can’t be supported by other means.
We’ll always need grants, but your organisation could develop the ability to attract new funding sources that in turn will help you to secure and increase your impact. Sign up for Project 2020 and we’ll support you to explore your wider income options.