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Big Lottery Fund selects Exemplas and Charity Bank to get sector investment-ready

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Release date:
23 5 2013

Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) organisations that are currently missing out on investment opportunities are set to receive more support as the Big Lottery Fund has chosen Exemplas in partnership with Charity Bank to deliver Big Potential*, a £10 million support programme.

Big Potential will launch in summer 2013 with the aim of helping to improve the sustainability, capacity and scale of VCSE organisations in order to deliver greater social impact.

As part of the Big Lottery Fund’s continued commitment to the development of the social investment market in England, Big Potential will provide much-needed support to help organisations achieve their full potential for growth.

The programme is aimed at VCSE organisations at the beginning of their social investment journey and has been designed to complement a range of other initiatives including the Cabinet Office’s Investment and Contract Readiness Fund delivered by the Social Investment Business Group.

Nat Sloane, Big Lottery Fund England Chair said: “Providing support for charities and social enterprises to help them access investment is a key priority of our social investment strategy in England and very important in these difficult times.

“Social investment has the potential to transform how need is met by providing greater financial incentives to improve performance. It offers the prospect of new financing tools and access to new sources of capital that could enable VCSE organisations to operate on a more sustainable footing as they provide their valued services to people and communities most in need. It brings a different model of finance to sustain the development and growth of the voluntary and social enterprise sector. At the same time, it can improve how the public sector commissions by opening up the space for VCSE to compete more effectively.”

Nat Sloane added: “Both organisations, Exemplas and Charity Bank, bring with them a great combination of expertise both in supporting small and medium sized enterprises and the social investment market.”

Jill Barnes, Chief Executive of Exemplas, added: “We are very pleased to be working with the Big Lottery Fund on this key initiative for the VCSE sector in England. The Big Potential support programme, underpinned by a combination of funding and access to specialist expertise, will make a significant contribution to a market sector that needs social investment in order to sustain its activities, achieve growth and increase social impact.”

Jill Barnes continued: “With over 20 years’ experience of managing Government funding and providing high-quality support to UK businesses and Third Sector organisations, we are uniquely placed to ensure that this fund achieves its objectives and delivers real value.”

Patrick Crawford, Chief Executive of Charity Bank said:  “I am delighted that Charity Bank, as Exemplas’ partner, has been selected to deliver the Big Potential support programme.” 

Patrick Crawford added: “As a bank that lends only to VCSE organisations, we are well placed to provide advice to these organisations on how to strengthen their capacity and we know that there is significant demand for such advice. This support programme will improve the capacity and scale of smaller charities and social enterprises, helping the sector to thrive and deliver even greater social impact.”

This development of Big Potential addresses a current gap in investment readiness support identified by a report into the social investment market. The report that was commissioned by the Big Lottery Fund and carried out by ClearlySo and New Philanthropy Capital, shaped the design of this fund.

Big Lottery Fund Press Office: 020 7211 1888
Out of hours media contact: 07867 500 572
Full details of the Big Lottery Fund programmes and grant awards are available on the website: www.biglotteryfund.org.uk
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Notes to Editors
• The Big Lottery Fund (BIG), the largest distributor of National Lottery good cause funding, is responsible for giving out 40% of the money raised for good causes by the National Lottery.
• BIG is committed to bringing real improvements to communities and the lives of people most in need and has been rolling out grants to health, education, environment and charitable causes across the UK. Since June 2004 BIG has awarded over £4.4bn.
• The Fund was formally established by Parliament on 1 December 2006.
• Since the National Lottery began in 1994, 28p from every pound spent by the public has gone to good causes. As a result, over £30 billion has now been raised and more than 400,000 grants awarded across arts, sport, heritage, charities, health, education and the environment.
• * The Big Potential Fund was previously referred to as the Investment Readiness Fund
• The Investment and Contract Readiness Fund is a three year £10 million fund, being delivered on behalf of the Office for Civil Society with support from Deutsche Bank. The Fund aims to ensure that social ventures, with potential for high growth, can access non-grant investment, or bid for and win Government or other public service delivery contracts. These ventures might be tackling social problems and or enhancing or improving lives, communities or areas.