Big Issue Invest has benefitted from a £325k investment boost from The Places Foundation to support up to 20 social enterprises in England and Scotland over the next five years.
The first round of investment has, in turn, been distributed by Big Issue Invest to nine social enterprises to support them in tackling a range of social issues including young people’s mental health, youth inclusion and social isolation.
For example, Hey Girls, a Scottish based social enterprise tackling period poverty through the distribution of free sanitary products was one of the successful recipients.
Established in 2017, Hey Girls tackles period poverty by giving a girl or woman one pack of products for every pack bought. Over 137,000 children in the UK missed school due to period poverty in 2018. 1 in 10 girls have had to improvise sanitary wear due to affordability issues. In the past twelve months they have donate 2.4 million products.
Celia Hodson, founder of Hey Girls said “We are delighted to receive support from Big Issue Invest which will enable the company to grow and expanded our social reach. The support both financial and non-financial has been fundamental to our achievements to date”.
Danyal Sattar, CEO at Big Issue Invest, said “It is great to be working alongside Places for People. This is a new and exciting relationship which gives us the opportunity to reach and support more communities across the UK. As part of the Big Issue Group with a focus on homelessness we recognise the important role housing associations play in helping to turn around disadvantaged communities. This is a partnership which focuses on the core social mission of both our organisations”.
Making a difference
Marcus Hulme, Social Value Director, Places for People said: ‘Our partnership with Big Issue Invest enables us to provide additional finance to support a wide range of social enterprises that use creative approaches to make a real difference to their communities. The Places Foundation which is supported by the Places for People Group aims to help people to fulfil their potential. The additional finance will be used by Big Issue Invest to provide loans for up to 20 social enterprises over the next five years. The investment builds on our existing commitment to the Corporate Social Venturing programme which has been a great success’.
Other supported social enterprises include:
Talking Mats, that provides tools, training and research for speech therapists received £75K.
£40k -Link Redcar CIC based in Redcar which provides therapeutic services to children, young people and families across the North East
£150k - FC United of Manchester is a community benefit society football club owned by members.
£75k - A Place to Call Our Own is an independent special school and alternative education provider
£257k – Wolverton Community Energy is a community benefit society based near Milton Keynes.
£55k - Campus Skate Park in Bristol.
£135k - Running Deer, Devon based, set up to support long term unemployed people.
For more information, visit bigissueinvest.com.
Supporting Scottish social enterprises
Nineteen early stage social ventures across Scotland have been supported by a programme set up by Big Issue Invest and co-funded by Places for People, Scottish Government, University of Edinburgh, Aberdeen Standard Investments, Experian and Brodies.
Big Issue Invest's Power Up programme, a lending scheme offering investment, support and mentorship to early stage social ventures across Scotland, launched its 2020 Impact Report revealing that 19 social business have been supported to date with a total of £870,000 of investment. Alongside Big Issue Invest, Places for People and the other programme partners delivered pro-bono support exceeding 3,500 hours. The estimated monetary value of time investment from Partner Organisations in kind (through mentorship, panels, pro-bono support given) equalled over £384,000.
The Blankfaces was one of the 19 social enterprises that successfully completed the three-month Power Up Scotland Programme in 2020. The Blankfaces is the UK’s first fashion label aimed at eradicating homelessness. Each design is inspired or created by a homeless person, which forms the backbone of its clothing range. A percentage of every product sold goes directly back to the homeless participant who has shared their story, and 100 per cent of the profits go towards ending homelessness.
Gerard McKenzie-Govan, Founder, The Blankfaces, said: “We have had a long-standing relationship with Big Issue Invest, working closely with their team and even sharing an office space in their Glasgow premises. Their help with Power Up Scotland pre-Covid and during lockdown meant we could keep growing as a business and even open our first shop at 427 Great Western Road! We’re excited for the future.”
Improve the lives of disadvantaged young people
Other social enterprises supported by the programme include Projekt42, the UK’s first wellness centre to combine personal training, group fitness, yoga and mental health services and Scran Academy which works to improve the lives of disadvantaged young people through a cooking school. Both ventures are based in Edinburgh.
Sara Hawkins Director at Projekt42, said: “The Power Up Scotland programme provided a range of support from marketing through to legal advice, which has been invaluable to Projekt 42. Two years on, we are still benefitting from the support networks the programme enabled us to put into place.”
Creating social impact
Danyal Sattar, CEO of Big Issue Invest, said: “We have been inspired by these 19 organisations we have supported with both the investment and the business development expertise that they needed in order to make an even greater difference within their communities. It is our Partners and the valuable social enterprises who go on to create social impact. We could not have done it without them.”
Marcus Hulme, Director of Social Value at Places for People, said: “The organisations have shown that with the right support the vital work that they do can have a significant impact on individuals and entire communities. It is important that businesses continue to support social enterprises in whatever way can so some of the biggest challenges in society can be tackled by those with the expertise and knowledge to take those important steps. We are really pleased to have been able to support Big Issue invest and the 19 organisations who have benefitted from investment, mentoring and support.”
View the 2020 Impact Report, or for more information, please visit www.bigissueinvest.com.