Several North East social enterprises have secured a near-£125,000 share of the Government’s Impact Readiness Fund.
Dealmakers at Newcastle-based business advisory firm UNW helped Sunderland Association Football Club’s Foundation of Light charity, Age UK North Tyneside and community resource centre Meadow Well Connected to secure the money.
The £2m Impact Readiness Fund (IRF), managed by the Social Investment Business for the Cabinet Office, is intended to fund social enterprises in better measuring their social impact and demonstrating it to investors and commissioners.
On launching the IRF last year, Jonathan Jenkins, chief executive of the Social Investment Business, said: “This fund helps us build on the success of the Investment and Contract Readiness Fund to offer more targeted support to ambitious social ventures who want to demonstrate their social impact more effectively to investors and commissioners to improve their chances of closing the investment deal or winning contracts.
“Our model enables ventures to buy in support they might otherwise not been able to access, giving them a real competitive advantage.”
UNW partnered with Social Enterprise Acumen CIC in Durham, to secure £124,111 of the national IRF pot for the North East, with a further £33,625 won for Rotherham-based deaf-led charity Deafinitions.
The firm’s corporate finance team senior manager Jo Powell said: “Commissioners and funders need evidence about an organisation’s social impact before they will consider appointing contracts or offering repayable investment. Without the right systems and experience, many worthy social ventures struggle to evidence their impact.
“We are delighted our social enterprise experts at UNW have been able to help social enterprises in our region solve this problem by securing them grant funding.”
Social Enterprise Acumen CIC chief executive Kate Welch said: “These grants will play an important role in strengthening the social enterprise sector. The development of impact measurements in the four organisations will enable them to develop more evidence of their positive community contribution.
“Social Enterprise Acumen is delighted to work with UNW and provide their experience and insight to the needs of the social enterprise sector.”
The Foundation of Light was established in 2001 by former Sunderland AFC chairman, Sir Bob Murray. It set out to use football as vehicle to change the lives of children, young people and their families.
Development director Ken Teears said: “We are delighted to have secured funding from IRF. We have almost 40,000 course registrants on our award winning programmes each year and we use multiple tools and processes to track and report on the fantastic outcomes that we help people achieve.
“The IRF funding will enable us to take our ability to demonstrate impact to the next level, making us more efficient and helping us to provide relevant information to our stakeholders to show the difference we are making through their donations and help us to secure new funding to help more people.”