24 Jan 2017

Big Issue Invest has launched Impact Loans England, a new £5 million lending scheme aimed at enabling social enterprises to access loan funding of between £20,000 and £150,000. The programme is funded by Access – The Foundation for Social Investment, with finance being provided by its partners Big Lottery Fund and Big Society Capital.

The Impact Loans England programme is now available to organisations across England with the £5 million to lend over the next three years. The funding is available to organisations keen to do more of the good work they do – whether its buying equipment, hiring new talent, or progressing with business development plans.

Daniel Wilson-Dodd, Head of Lending at Big Issue Invest says, “A lot of great organisations struggle to access small and medium-sized loans, so we wanted to provide support for those exciting social enterprises and charities.”

The Impact Loans England programme is a continuation of what Big Issue Invest has been doing over the past few years in other schemes aimed at helping social enterprises grow, often by accessing finance for the very first time.

Email with an expression of interest and someone from the team will get back to you.

Impact Loans England IMAGE


30 Jun 2015

Pile of stones generic

Big Issue Invest is working in partnership with Life Changes Trust, a charity that works to improve the lives of young people who have had experience of the care system and people affected by dementia to roll out the Corporate Social Venturing (CSV) programme in Scotland.  The programme launches today (June 30) and ideas are being sought from any social businesses who have creative concepts for new ventures that would impact positively on one or both of the aforementioned groups.

Similarly to CSV England the programme offers a combination of investment and business support from corporate partners to the successful applicants with the main objective being to develop sustainable businesses that tackle some of society’s biggest challenges.

Alongside Big Issue Invest this initiative is being supported by SCDI (Scottish Council for Development and Industry) and several other corporate partners who will provide mentoring and business advice, and who will have the opportunity to invest in unique and innovative businesses that can deliver not just financial returns, but sustainable social good.

The corporate partners supporting this initiative in Scotland are: Mitie, Barclays and Places for People Scotland Care & Support.  Other corporate partners are being recruited.

Maddy Halliday, Chief Executive of Life Changes Trust, said,

‘The Life Changes Trust has a mission to drive transformational improvements in the quality of life, empowerment and inclusion of two groups in Scotland – people affected by dementia, which also includes unpaid carers, and young people who have experience of the care system.  CSV Scotland is an exciting opportunity for the Trust to invest in new businesses who are going to use their skills, expertise and imagination to deliver improved quality of life for our beneficiary groups.  We are delighted to be working with Big Issue Invest, SCDI and our corporate partners to bring this exciting initiative to Scotland.’

John Montague, Managing Director at Big Issue Invest said,

‘We are proud to partner with the Life Changes Trust on CSV Scotland.  It is exciting to branch into new territory with the programme, both in terms of region and sector.  Our method of pairing early stage social businesses with corporate mentors who assist them with business planning, finances and pitching for investment is a proven way of creating a sustainable social impact.  We are very much looking forward to seeing similar results in Scotland with the Trust who have done some outstanding work with care experienced young people and those affected by dementia’.

Further detail and information on how to apply can be found here.

Two CSV Scotland briefing events are also being held for anyone who wishes to know more and who may be interested in applying, please see dates and locations below.

  • 7th July in Glasgow, 1-4 pm
  • 13th July in Perth, 1-4pm

Places can be reserved now by emailing
If you have any media queries, please contact or on 0141 212 9606

29 Jun 2015

June 2015_The Big Issue Experian Barclays

Big Issue Invest CSV was covered in The Big Issue recently.  The piece focused around the value that both corporate partners and social businesses gain from being part of the programme.

Read the full article here.

23 Jun 2015

The Rental Exchange is an innovative partnership between Big Issue Invest and Experian that is transforming the lives of social housing tenants throughout the UK.  The scheme sets out to tackle social, digital and financial exclusion faced by those who cannot access affordable credit due to a lack of a mainstream credit history.  Rising house prices and stricter mortgage lending criteria has resulted in an increase in families left with no other option than to rent.  In collaboration on the Rental Exchange, Big Issue Invest and Experian have been working with registered social housing providers to incorporate tenants’ rent payment history into their credit file, with no cost to either the housing provider or the tenant. This allows tenants with a history of little or no credit, to build a credit score in the same way that mortgage holders do.


The following BII Rental Exchange White Paper reveals some key findings on how the scheme has performed over the past five years.


12 Jun 2015

June2015_New Starts


NewStarts, a charity that provides practical support to homeless people and those in financial crisis, has secured its long term future in Bromsgrove, thanks to a combined loan from Charity Bank and Big Issue Invest to buy its premises.

As a result, NewStarts is able to continue to provide affordable furniture and household goods, as well as an emergency food-bank, enabling individuals and families to take up or keep existing tenancies without risking debt. In addition, it runs a volunteering and training programme, offering relevant work experience to improve the employment chances of those looking to find their first job, or re-enter the workplace. Approximately one in five of NewStarts’ volunteers goes on to employment or further training.

Established in 2005 as a result of a partnership between a local resident and NewSong Community Church, in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, NewStarts’ furniture project works by collecting good-quality used furniture and household items, including computers and other IT equipment from people who no longer need them and donating or selling them at low-cost to people who have been referred by local agencies.

Marion Kenyon, CEO of NewStarts, says: “People often turn to NewStarts at the point when they have exhausted all other avenues. For us, the reasons they find themselves in a difficult situation isn’t relevant; we will help them if we can.

“The support we have received from Charity Bank and Big Issue Investment has, without doubt, allowed us to continue to respond to local need – reusing furniture, resettling people and restoring communities. Without this kind of financing, we would never have been able to purchase our current premises. We faced the prospect of having to find a new location due to possible rent increases, yet today we have a secure future and can start helping even more people.”

Peter Hughes, regional manager of Charity Bank, an ethical bank that lends solely to social sector organisations, says: “The case for providing loan finance to NewStarts was compelling. Its impact within the community is vast – alleviating poverty, providing valuable work experience, training and debt advice to the most financially disadvantaged people. By buying its premises outright, NewStarts has secured its long-term sustainability and has a platform on which to grow. Its ability to deliver greater impact to benefit society has increased and Charity Bank is proud to be supporting it.”

Kevin Lloyd-Evans, investment manager, Big Issue Invest, says: “We are delighted to work with Charity Bank to find innovative solutions to the financing challenges faced by charities and social enterprises like NewStarts. This investment will help create employment opportunities and ensure the good work of NewStarts continues. Social Investment focuses on helping to sustain and create social impact by investing in sustainable organisations with business models.”

In 2014/15 NewStarts directly supported 1,044 people in the following ways:

  • 430 households received free household items.
  • 332 households were provided with emergency food.
  • 105 volunteers were given work experience.
  • 41 people had training across a variety of courses (woodwork, basic IT and arts and crafts).
  • 136 people received financial management training and debt advice.

For further information please contact: Cal Bull-Edwards 01732 441972 or 07879998927 or Claire Kidman 01732 441970 or 07789 755686



20 Apr 2015

Big Issue Invest are calling upon early stage social businesses throughout England to apply for the Corporate Social Venturing (CSV) 2015 programme which officially launches today.  The CSV programme is specifically tailored for early stage social businesses who often face challenges when it comes to securing finance.

Against the current climate of cuts and austerity, developing sustainable businesses that tackle some of society’s biggest challenges is more important than ever.

It is not necessary for applicants to be trading however proof of concept is essential.  To be considered, ventures must operate in the following sectors: arts & culture, education, employment & training, tackling homelessness, sustainable & community transport, health & social care, environment and financial inclusion.

Successful applicants will have the opportunity to pitch for up to £50K investment.  Alongside this they will be assigned at least one lead mentor from the programmes’ investment & support partners, attend professionally designed workshops and learn to how measure their social impact.

Candidates will also have the opportunity to network, work with and learn from other social entrepreneurs both on the current programme and those who have gone before.

Thirteen social businesses received investment and mentoring in 2014.

CSV 2014 investee, Alice Lacey founder & CEO of Now>Press>Play who promote learning through movement to children by immersing them in experiences delivered through wireless headsets, commented; ‘The CSV programme has been incredibly valuable to the evolution of Now>Press>Play. Apart from the loan, which is enabling us to expand and scale up our social impact, the corporate mentors have helped us to focus our vision and strategy for the company. Big Issue Invest have been on hand to support Now>Press>Play and the mentors throughout the process and we’re looking forward to continuing to work with them as we build our business together.’

Circle Sports another CSV 2014 success story have just launched the, ‘Jobs for the Jobless’ campaign.  With backing from Deborah Meaden and a provocative youtube clip they are appealing to UK employers to hire young, unemployed candidates.

The CSV programme is an innovative partnership between Big Issue Invest and Barclays (as part of their commitment to impact five million young futures by 2015) with investment and support from five partners: Experian, First Ark, Fusion 21, Places for People and The University of Northampton.  CSV is also supported by the Cabinet Office, as part of the £10m Social Incubator Fund.

Kathleen Britain, Head of UK Community Investment at Barclays, said: “Our partnership with Big Issue Invest is an important part of Barclays’ broader commitment to impact five million young futures by 2015. This programme, one of many we run as part of our wider community investment work, will see Barclays invest not only money, but colleagues’ time and expertise in helping social enterprises develop and grow. The CSV programme will help support a talented pool of people in developing the skills they need to fulfil their potential while adding real and significant value to society.”

The programme is particularly focused on developing social businesses outside London and the South East targeting 80% of applicants based outside of these areas.

While the process is a competitive one, it is collaborative too.  It is about bringing people with diverse skill sets and backgrounds together who have one aim; helping fledgling social businesses unleash a profound and sustainable impact.

To apply, please visit

Closing date for applications is Monday, May 25th, 2015.

9 Mar 2015

On Friday night the Big Issue Invest team fundraised for #BigNightWalk, a 20k walk during the night throughout London. The Big Issue Foundation run the event each year to raise vital funds to help vendors.

  • £9 funds a flu vaccine to keep a vendor healthy through winter.
  • £20 buys a supermarket voucher for their vendor of the month award, increasing motivation and aspiration.
  • £77.50 helps buy a passport, needed as ID to open a bank account, get a library card or access to basic healthcare.
  • £150 funds the support needed to help a vendor complete an application to secure safe housing.

If you’d like to take part next year you can register your interest here. It was a lot harder than we anticipated!




9 Feb 2015

Big Lottery Fund has announced an additional £10m for its investment readiness programme, Big Potential, meaning that a total of £20m is now available to Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) organisations. The expansion will see a new “Advanced route” added to the programme, supporting organisations at a more advanced stage in their social investment journey, looking to raise larger investments of over £500,000 as well as win contracts over £1m. The new advanced route of Big Potential will be available to those that are clear about how social investment could work for them and can describe a potential deal or interest from investors and need help to close that deal. Grants of up to £150,000 will be available.

The original £10m fund will continue, offering in-depth support and grants to VCSEs looking to raise smaller amounts of repayable investment of up to £500,000 that are at an earlier stage in their social investment journey with a realistic investment proposition that can fund their growth and development but yet to determine what type of investment or deal will be appropriate. This existing support will now be delivered through the breakthrough route of the programme which includes preliminary and investment plan grants up to £75,000.

Geeta Gopalan, Big Lottery Fund Board Member said: “In these challenging times for the sector we believe that this increased investment will help even more VCSE organisations to access social investment, enabling them to grow their trading activity and hopefully become more sustainable.  We are committed to ensuring that VCSE’s are able to get the right support at the right time, and so the enhanced Big Potential programme is a very important piece of the wider investment readiness offer, that will complement a number of other programmes.”

Jonathan Jenkins, Chief Executive of the Social Investment Business said: “There is more and more evidence that this kind of targeted investment readiness support is delivering results. When delivered at the right stage it can help transform VCSEs and can open up a range of opportunities offered by the growing social investment market. We are delighted that Big Potential will now offer end to end support to those ambitious VCSEs and help them raise investment most appropriate to their needs enabling them to grow their impact on their communities and beneficiaries.“

Grants and support under the advanced route for Big Potential will be available from summer 2015. Interested VCSEs can register their interest now at to receive an email update as soon as information about the launch dates becomes available.  The breakthrough route is already open and VCSE organisations can apply via the Big Potential website.

Big Potential is administered by the Social Investment Business in partnership with Locality, Charity Bank, Social Enterprise UK and University of Northampton, on behalf of the Big Lottery Fund.


28 Jan 2015

Tynedale train

In a high-speed world of social media and super-fast broadband, the South Tynedale Railway is a delightful reminder of another era. Handsome steam engines putter down the three-and-a-half miles of narrow gauge railway, stopping at three stations between the Cumbrian village of Alston and Lintley in Northumbria.

Last summer the station café at Alston brimmed with visitors eager to try the homemade cakes. But beneath the old-fashioned façade, this little railway is planning full-steam ahead for the future. As well as attracting tourists, it is also linking up isolated rural communities, encouraging social inclusion and helping to give young people the experience they need to find work.

The power behind the community railway, the South Tynedale Railway Preservation Society (STRPS) is working hard to maintain and restore this line. To help them in their quest, Big Issue Invest has offered to finance the refurbishment of the Grade Two station house at Alston into an HQ with a one-bedroom flat and caretaker on site. “STRPS is so much more than a fantastic day out in a beautiful part of England,” says Daniel Wilson, BII’s senior investment manager. “They have such a positive impact on their local community and this is at the heart of the Big Issue Invest mission.”

If you’d like to read the full feature which appeared in The Big Issue you can here.

12 Jan 2015


The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, is forming a partnership with Big Issue Invest to renovate empty properties into new affordable homes, whilst creating work opportunities for adults with a history of homelessness or long-term unemployment.

The Mayor has selected Big Issue Invest for an investment of £10 million from his Housing Covenant Fund. Big Issue Invest will invest in social enterprises which are seeking to renovate run down, empty homes or buildings and convert them into good quality affordable housing for Londoners to buy or rent.

The funding will revolve over a 10-year period and result in over 300 empty homes being transformed into good quality low cost housing. In addition it will provide long term unemployed people, veterans and out of work young people from across London the opportunity of employment and training in construction.

The Mayor’s Housing Covenant supports organisations proposing innovative ways of delivering affordable housing through a Revolving Fund and is one of a number of housing schemes the Mayor is delivering to boost affordable housing, stimulate building and fast track the delivery of thousands of much needed new homes.  The proportion of empty homes in the capital has fallen dramatically under the Mayor, and at 0.7 per cent is now at the lowest level since the 1970s. Over 5,000 empty homes has been brought back into use through GLA housing programmes since 2008.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson said: “With the huge demand for housing it’s essential we get empty properties back into use, which is why I’m helping innovative projects renovate them back into much needed affordable homes. Big Issue Invest are masters of boosting community social enterprise and delivering key employment and training skills to the homeless and unemployed people who need our extra support. This funding sits alongside my affordable home programme which is on track to deliver 100,000 new low cost homes across the city.”

Speaking about the Fund, Big Issue Group’s Chair, Nigel Kershaw, said “This is really exciting, the Fund helps to extend The Big Issue’s mission of preventing and dismantling poverty and creating opportunity. That we are offering homes and employment opportunities to vulnerable people makes this so important to us, as it’s all about preventing people ending up on the streets.”

Big Issue Invest is a specialist provider of finance to social enterprises. It provides investment from £50,000 to £1.7million and develops innovative financial solutions which help organisations tackle poverty and create opportunity.

Since 2005 BII has invested over £27m across the UK in more than 330 social enterprises, directly benefitting over 1.8m people, sustainably employing 3,200 and training 14,000. Amongst the successful projects they have supported is the Southwark based charity PHASES who have helped many former homeless people back into work by renovating empty homes, including  ex- Ghurka,  Bhakta Dhenga who was living in hostel accommodation and searching for work as a labourer.

Bhakta Dhenga said: “Since I started training with PHASES I have learnt so many things. I felt proud to be offered a full-time job in construction. People believed in me and gave me a chance to go ahead on a good path. I had the chance to move out of the hostel and finally get my own place. I am slowly building myself back up again, but I know that if I need help, there are people I can turn to so I’m not alone. “

The new loan will allow Big Issue Invest to finance and support more innovative housing projects undertaken by social enterprises and charities, like this one by PHASES. These projects will serve to increase the volume of affordable housing available in London, whilst creating employment and training opportunities for vulnerable people. The Mayor’s commitment to getting empty homes back into use and boosting affordable housing is part of a package of wider measures he is promoting to stimulate house building.

The Mayor also supports a number of rough sleeping services to help ensure no one should sleep rough on the capital’s streets. These services No Second Night Out, which has seen around three out of four new rough sleepers spending just a single night on the street since the project started, to the £5m Social Impact Bond programme helping long-term rough sleepers rebuild their lives over three years.  Last Friday night the Mayor visited a number of these services across London and met a number of people with a history of homelessness the schemes are supporting.

Notes to editors:

1, Big Issue Invest Started in 2005 as the social investment arm of The Big Issue, Big Issue Invest (BII) extends the Group mission by backing social ventures and charities, that prevent and tackle poverty and create opportunity. It has invested more than £27 million in over 330 organisations to improve the quality of life in communities throughout the UK. To date, its investments have directly benefited over 1.8 million individuals, sustained 3,200 in employment, and trained over 14,000 people. BII Lending – Lending to social enterprises was BII’s first activity and still remains core to its social value proposition. It provides loans from £50,000 to £250,000 to trading charities, community organisations, and other social enterprises. .BII Fund Management – BII currently manage one Social Enterprise Investment Fund LP which provides growth capital up to £1.7m to high impact, scaleable social enterprises. This Fund raised £9.25 million from 22 investors and has made 20 investments and begun making distributions back to investors. For more information about Big Issue Invest please go to;

2, The Mayor is on track to see 100,000 low cost homes built over his two terms, with more affordable homes being built this year than since 1980, as well as helping 50,000 Londoners into low cost home ownership through his FIRST STEPS scheme, and has introduced a range of innovative new measures including new Housing Zones, Purpose built Private Rented Schemes and a new London Housing Bank. For more information on the Mayor’s housing schemes visit