6 Jan 2015

A London doctor who established an organisation to help young people to volunteer using their professional skills in 2015 has been named a Point of Light by Prime Minister David Cameron.

Dr Na’eem Ahmed set up the Selfless charity, an online volunteering website to promote ‘skillanthropy’, encouraging young people to use their skills to give something back to society, both in the UK and overseas. Selfless received investment and mentoring through Big Issue Invest’s Tech for Good challenge.  The programme targeted social businesses using disruptive technology to support young people to develop their lives and find employment and career opportunities.

The current programme is entitled Corporate Social Venturing (CSV) and will be accepting applications from early stage social businesses from April onwards.

Dr Ahmed, who lives in Wandsworth, is the latest recipient of a Point of Light award, which recognises outstanding individual volunteers, people who are making a change in their community and inspiring others.

Each day, someone, somewhere in the country is selected to receive the award to celebrate their remarkable achievements. Over 1,000 volunteers have now registered with the Selfless website registering their skills you have, the languages they speak and their location.

The site, which has a special focus on healthcare volunteering, matches individuals with volunteering opportunities that will suit them. Na’eem first got a taste for volunteering after securing a place at medical school. He established a network of student health ambassadors to carry out health education projects across London communities, having recognised that the diverse backgrounds of his fellow medical undergraduates meant the network could reach every community. The health ambassadors are still going strong and are now funded by the Mayor of London’s Team London.

Na’eem went on to create an international volunteering project, ‘Elective Aid’, which provides medical students with an opportunity to deliver medical aid to rural Bangladeshi inhabitants through ‘health camps’. Since its inception, the project has enabled over 10,000 Bangladeshi villagers to receive free medical attention.

Dr Ahmed is the 189th winner of the new Points of Light award, which has been developed in partnership with the hugely successful Points of Light programme in the USA and was first established by President George H. W. Bush. Over 5,000 US Points of Light have been awarded and both President George H. W. Bush and President Barack Obama have publicly supported the partnership with Points of Light UK which honours shining examples of volunteering across the country. Regardless of whether it’s a doctor restoring local monuments in her free time, a father teaching young people life skills, or a local musician giving a voice to lonely people, the Point of Light award honours shining examples of volunteering across the UK.

Prime Minister David Cameron said: “Volunteering is a popular New Year’s resolution and using your professional skills is a great way to make a contribution. Dr Ahmed is a fantastic example of what a difference one person can make and, by setting up the Selfless website, he’s making it really easy for other people to find opportunities to get involved too. I am delighted to make Na’eem a Point of Light this New Year’s Day.” Dr Ahmed said: “I feel incredibly fortunate to have achieved these positions and to be in a profession where I can lead change and improvement to communities that are in need. The driving force behind my work has been my father, who immigrated to England as a young boy from Bangladesh, he reminded us of our responsibility to help others and to always remain grateful. My achievements are not unique, this award is dedicated to the many hard-working parents whose efforts have given their children the opportunity to flourish and give back to society. It is the Selfless cycle of change!”

To be matched to volunteering opportunities visit Selfless.

Notes to Editors

1. The Points of Light awards recognise outstanding individual volunteers, people who are making a change in their community and inspiring others.
2. The Prime Minister makes daily announcements of the winners to celebrate, encourage and promote volunteering and the value that it brings to the country.
3. Groups and organisations that are demonstrating the Big Society in their work or activities will continue to be recognised by the Prime Minister through the Big Society awards.
4. If people want to nominate a Point of Light they can do so by writing to the Prime Minister

3 Dec 2014

Social Adventures SEUK 2014 awardsBrigade SEUK Awards 2014 caterer

Sue Perkins announces winners of UK Social Enterprise Awards 2014 On Wednesday 26th November 2014, winners of the 16th annual Social Enterprise Awards were announced during a ceremony held at LSO St Luke’s in central London. All of us here at Big Issue Invest (BII) pass on our congratulations to the Winners and those shortlisted, some of who are and have been clients of ours including also, Brigade who provided excellent catering at the event. The Awards, hosted by Social Enterprise UK (SEUK) and sponsored by The Independent on Sunday, recognised the achievements of social enterprises and supporters in 11 categories, including Social Enterprise of the Year, Women’s Champion and Inspiring Youth Enterprise. Host, comedian and television presenter, Sue Perkins entertained guests and presented the winners with bespoke trophies made by social enterprises Impact Arts and Cre8. As part of ‘Buy Social’ – SEUK’s campaign to get more businesses and consumers to buy from social enterprises – the Awards featured a number of social enterprises in its supply chain, including bottled water brand Belu, caterers Brigade Bar & Bistro, beer maker Two Fingers Brewing, and photographers Mediorite, among others. The UK now has more than 70,000 social enterprises. They are businesses with a social or environmental mission, contributing more than £24 billion to the UK economy each year. Peter Holbrook, Social Enterprise UK Chief Executive, said: “Last night’s awards were a fantastic celebration of Britain’s very best social enterprises and champions of the sector. Each year the Awards help shine a light on the extraordinary work social enterprises are doing to help people and planet. Competition was tougher than ever this year and the shortlist was bursting with inspiring examples of how businesses can have a positive impact on society – the winners deserve to be widely recognised and celebrated.” THE 2014 WINNERS Divine ChocolateOverall Social Enterprise of the Year (Sponsored by RBS) Divine is the only Fairtrade chocolate company part-owned by its cocoa farmers, who get a slice of the profits to invest in their communities. In a fiercely competitive retail market, Divine has managed to build and maintain a multi-million pound turnover business. It is transforming the chocolate industry, setting Fairtrade standards for other leading chocolate brands to follow. Monwel LtdOne to Watch (Sponsored by the British Council) Monwel produces signs and provides real employment to people with disabilities and those furthest from the work force. It currently employs 32 full-time people from the local community in the Valleys, 96% of whom manage some form of disability. Furnishing Lives (FRC Group) – Social Impact Award (Sponsored by PWC) FRC Group started out by redistributing unwanted, good quality furniture to those in need. It is now a leading UK enterprise, running commercial businesses that give people in poverty and unemployment the opportunity to change their lives. It has been recognised for driving forward good practice in the sector, with what is believed to be the first truly integrated financial and social value report. City of London Corporation (CoL)Buy Social Market Builder (Sponsored by ExterionMedia) The City of London Corporation (CoL) has contributed significantly to building the market for buying social both through influencing the City’s business community and through changing its own procurement practices. It has spent over £800,000 with social enterprises in the last financial year – more than three times the total of just two years ago. Ethex and PEC RenewablesInvestment Deal of the Year (Sponsored by the Co-operative Bank) In just 7 weeks, Ethex and PEC Renewables rallied investors and local authorities to raise £600,000 in social investment, funding solar panel installations to tackle fuel poverty in the local area. Supported by Plymouth County Council, the deal demonstrates how a national platform, a community-owned organization and local authority can work together to help harness a movement of socially-motivated investors to create real change on the ground. Social adVenturesHealth & Social Care Social Enterprise (Sponsored by Bates Wells Braithwaite) Social adVentures are a Salford-based wellbeing is a social enterprise helping people to lead healthier and happier lives. Through delivering public health and social care contracts and developing a number of subsidiary businesses, its turnover has grown by 300% in recent years, helping it support more than 3000 of the local community’s most vulnerable people. BeluConsumer Facing Social Enterprise (Sponsored by Johnson & Johnson) Belu is the UK’s most ethical bottled water and donates 100% of its profits to WaterAid. In the past year, Belu’s sales have soared and they have beaten their fundraising target for charity partner Wateraid, helping provide access to clean, safe water to roughly 40,000 people in developing countries. PM TrainingEducation, Training & Jobs Social Enterprise (Sponsored by Wates Group) PM Training is a social enterprise that provides new work opportunities to 16-18 year olds through range of training and support services. It is currently the largest provider of apprenticeships for 16-18 year olds in the country, with 75% of those who complete training securing jobs afterwards. Kilsyth Community Market Garden t/a Kelvin Valley HoneyEnvironmental Social Enterprise (Sponsored by SITA) Kelvin Valley Honey (KVH) aims to reverse the decline in Scotland’s honey bee population while improving the lives of people who may be isolated in their communities. Its work has helped increase Scotland’s honey bee population by almost 30 million, as well as provide 100 marginalised people with an income, training and employment.

Firstport and Icecream ArchitectureInspiring Youth Enterprise Award (Sponsored by Real Ideas Organisation)

Firstport supports start-up social entrepreneurs in Scotland. Icecream Architecture CIC is a team of community-led facilitators, environmental artists, designers and illustrators who aim to boost regeneration, enterprise, youth engagement and civic pride. Together, the two organisations have created Beyond the Finish Line, a unique campaign getting young people in Glasgow to regenerate local high streets using social enterprise. June O’Sullivan MBE, London Early Years FoundationSocial Enterprise Women’s Champion (sponsored by Santander) Under June O’Sullivan’s leadership, London Early Years Foundation has become the UK’s largest social sector childcare provider, operating 26 nurseries and providing high quality childcare to 3,000 children. It supports disadvantaged families that struggle to afford the often high costs associated with childcare; 46% of the children who attend do so through free or subsidised places. June is a leader in her field: influencing government Early Years policy, cited by UNICEF as an international exemplar, and driving campaigns for change in early years provision. SPONSORS The Independent on Sunday is headline sponsor of the Awards. Category Sponsors are RBS, British Council, PwC, Exterion, The Co-operative Bank, BWB, Johnson and Johnson, Wates Group, SITA, Real Ideas Organisations, Santander. Social Enterprise UK worked with partners in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to find the best people and organisations from across the UK’s social enterprise sector. For more information about the awards click here.

3 Dec 2014


On Monday 24th November 2014, the RBS SE100 Index announced the winners of its 2014 awards. Big Issue Invest were in attendance at the RBS SE100 awards, highlighting the UK’s top Social Enterprises.

Congratulations to all those who took part and to those winners listed below, especially our client Goodwill Solutions –  winners of the Growth Champion award. Take a look at a video of them in action here. Five winners were chosen from 1,365 social ventures listed on the RBS SE100 Index in the UK. The awards highlight the strength of the social enterprise sector and its ability to create both social change and economic growth nationwide.

The 2014 winners are working to tackle some of the UK’s most pressing social problems, helping to get people from disadvantaged backgrounds back into work and addressing their educational, training and wellbeing needs. These inspiring organisations now share over £30,000 in prize money awarded today at the Good Deals social investment conference, in recognition of the contribution that these social enterprises have made to society.

Growth champion £10k prize: Goodwill Solutions – East Midlands Goodwill Solutions offers bespoke logistics and warehousing solutions to retailers and global manufacturers. It uses the infrastructure and surpluses generated to run ‘back-to-work’ courses for ex-military with PTSD, ex-offenders, and other disadvantaged individuals.

Impact champion £10k prize: Wellbeing Works  – East Midlands Wellbeing Works delivers a specialist behavioural change programme to improve emotional and physical wellbeing in Derby, working particularly with NEETs, people in poverty, people with chronic pain and mental health issues and people who have been victims of crime and abuse.

Trailblazing newcomer £5k prize: Realise Futures CIC  – East Realise Futures operates across Cambridgeshire and Suffolk providing careers advice and community learning for adults, therapeutic services for people with learning disabilities and supporting disabled and disadvantaged people to gain employment across the region.

Resilience award £5K prize: FRC Group – North West FRC Group runs three social businesses including furniture recycling and waste management projects. These produce financial profits and create a social dividend by giving people in poverty and unemployment the opportunity to change their lives.

Storyteller award £2.5k prize: John Taylor Hospice – West Midlands John Taylor Hospice’s purpose is to ease the personal and financial cost of illness and death. They were nominated for their ‘Benjamin’s Brothers’ campaign, aiming to raise awareness of prostate cancer in Afro-Caribbean men buy taking a prosthetic bottom into the local community. Ian Cowie, Chairman SME banking at RBS who presented the growth award commented: “RBS has supported the SE100 Index since it first began five years ago, and it has now become an integral part of RBS Inspiring Enterprise, through which RBS is committed to unlocking and nurturing entrepreneurial talent – and giving social enterprises access to finance, markets and expertise. Congratulations to all 5 of the 2014 winners, it is a privilege to be recognising such fantastic and deserving organisations.” Rob Wilson, Minister for Civil Society who presented the Trailblazing Newcomer award said of the RBS SE100: “Social enterprises play an important role in supporting the economy and strengthening local communities right around the UK. Key to their continued growth will be their ability to demonstrate clearly the vital impact they are making and so I would encourage all social enterprises and charities to sign up to the RBS SE100, which will help them to do this.” Contacts for RBS SE100:

Sarah Gilbert:

Emily Benbow:

 T: +44 (0)208 8533 8893 / +44(0)7854 712 319

1 Dec 2014

Since it opened its doors in 1972, Brewery Arts has been a shining beacon in the Cumbrian arts scene. This part of the world might be more famous for mint cake, Withnail and I and The Monocled Mutineer but this cultural hub off Highgate in Kendal is where locals flock, drawn by the bright lights of its Malt Room stage, gallery, cinema and café bar, as well as its art and drama classes.

“I have been coming here regularly since it opened in the 1970s,” says Roger Harvey, one of the 20 volunteers who set time aside every month to tend the gardens and help with front-of-house. “I used to bring my children here for the youth arts classes such as clog dancing, and I’ve seen so many shows and gigs here. I’m one of a team who give up their time once a month to help out. We all enjoy each other’s company and always find time for a coffee and a chat!”

Thanks to the longstanding loyalty of volunteers like Roger, and the Brewery’s 400-strong ‘friends’ membership scheme, the venue maintains its high standards. But now Big Issue Invest is helping it to dazzle even more, with a loan that will go towards the installation of LED lighting. As the loan will eventually be repaid through energy savings and maintenance fees, it’ll help Brewery Arts to save an amazing 85 per cent on lighting in its main public areas – and keep it going strong in the future.

We recently invested in Brewery Arts and a feature appeared in The Big Issue which you can read here.

1 Dec 2014

For young people who don’t go to university, or into the ubiquitous fishing industry, opportunities are scarce. And despite the backdrop of boats and B&Bs, social isolation, unemployment and homelessness can loom large. “Brixham’s not a big place, but where I lived there were a lot of older people, and I kept myself to myself,’ says 16 year old Rhianan Moore. “I never used to go out and I didn’t have any friends.”

That was before she went to Brixham YES, a remarkable and dynamic charity that is transforming lives. After discovering their drop-in centre, the Edge, three years ago, Rhianan is chatty, infectiously enthusiastic, and about to embark on organising her own community event.‘And I’ve learned an instrument – the ukelele.’ she adds.

Not bad for a formerly unhappy, shy girl with no mates. Brixham YES (which stands for Youth Enquiry Service) began in 1994, as part of a government led slew of youth initiatives, many of which didn’t survive. Its main purpose is to provide information and advice about accommodation, sexual health, and emotional issues.’

With funding from Big Issue Invest and the Empty Homes Community Grant Programme (EHCGP), YES are currently refurbishing two buildings which will become five-bedroom flats, as well as a one-bed flat which will provide supported accommodation for homeless young people, backed up by practical advice on paying bills, cleaning and cooking.

Daniel Wilson, Senior Investment Analyst of Big Issue Invest says: “We are delighted to support this housing project which makes good use of previously underutilised buildings and provides desperately needed affordable accommodation for young people.” A feature on Brixham’s incredible work appeared in The Big Issue, read the full article here.

28 Oct 2014

Currently at an expectations breaking £59million Big Issue Invest (BII), the social investment arm of the Big Issue, and Threadneedle have created a Social Bond Fund, the first in the UK. The Fund offers both a competitive financial return and positive social impact by investing in listed bonds issued by organisations that support socially beneficial activities and balanced economic development, primarily in the UK.

The Fund invests in listed bonds that deliver social outcomes including: affordable housing, education, employment and training, health and social care. 33% of bonds focus on deprived communities, 70% favour regional development outside the Greater South East (London, South East and East of England) and 40% of bonds are financing investment in the North of England.

The Fund complements The Big Issue Group’s mission to prevent and tackle poverty and create opportunity for people and communities, which to date has seen BII commit over £25million into more than 300 social enterprises. This has improved the lives of 1.8million people through providing finance to social enterprises and charities from £50,000 to £1.5million.

Big Issue Invest has four objectives with this pioneering new Fund, which has just won the New Markets Award, for the most successful strategy to provide investors access to the social investment market.

  1. To mainstream social investment by creating a financial product that achieves a social and financial return, whilst being a Fund you can take money in and out of at any time.
  2. To encourage more bond issuance and increase investment in charities, local authorities and social purpose bondsto increase the flow of capital to socially beneficial activities.
  3. To build awareness of how mainstream commercial finance can be used to tackle the UK’s most pressing social problems.
  4. To help finance the work of The Big Issue and Big Issue Invest through the Fund’s fee sharing arrangement between BII and Threadneedle.

Nigel Kershaw, Chief Executive of Big Issue Invest, said:

“A great award to win. It is a real endorsement of The Big Issue’s mission to prevent and dismantle poverty in the UK by focusing on investments that create jobs and economic development where it’s needed. Threadneedle has been a great partner and together we have created a mainstream fund that gives ordinary people, as well as institutional investors, an opportunity to invest for both a social and financial return. For the first time in the UK, Big Issue Invest and Threadneedle have brought the mainstream into social investment.’’

For media enquiries please contact:         

Big Issue Invest

Emily de Groot

+44 207 526 3436

Notes to Editors

 About New Markets Award

Threadneedle Investments (Threadneedle) and Big Issue Invest (BII) are proud to announce that The Threadneedle UK Social Bond Fund (the Fund) has won the New Markets Award for the most successful strategy to provide investors access to the social investment market. This award came on the evening of Monday 27th October at the Social Investment Awards, hosted by The Cabinet Office and RBS and is the third award won by the Fund this year. Other awards are: Innovative New Idea Award by Finance for the Future and Corporate Social Responsibility Award by Incisive Media.

About the Threadneedle UK Social Bond Fund

Launched in January 2014, the Fund aims to achieve both an investment return and a positive social outcome by investing in fixed income securities of organisations which support socially beneficial activities and economic development, primarily in the UK. Available to retail and institutional investors, the Fund invests in companies, associations, charities and trusts in eight social outcome areas: affordable housing; community services; employment and training; education, learning and skills; financial inclusion; health and social care; transport and communications; and utilities and the environment.

The Fund’s minimum investment amount is £2,000 when accessed via UK platforms. It has an Annual Management Charge (AMC) of 0.30% for both retail and institutional investors, and there is no performance fee. The AMC is split between Threadneedle and Big Issue Invest, further supporting the work of Big Issue Invest and its parent The Big Issue in financing business solutions to social problems and tackling homelessness. Threadneedle contributes a portion of its fee to the Threadneedle Foundation, a dedicated entity through which the company provides support for charitable activities.

Managed by Simon Bond, Credit Fund Manager at Threadneedle, the Fund targets an annual gross return in line with that of a UK corporate bond index such as the Merrill Lynch £ Non Gilt Index, which is currently generating a yield of circa 4% per annum.

In making investment decisions, the Fund Manager is guided by the Social Assessment Methodology to determine suitable investments. The social outcome generated by the resulting portfolio is monitored and verified by a Social Advisory Committee, made up of six members, including Nigel Kershaw, Iain Richards, Head of Governance and Responsible Investment at Threadneedle, and John Hale, former Manager of Investment Affairs at the Association of British Insurers.

About Threadneedle Investments

Threadneedle is a leading international investment manager with a strong track record of outperformance across asset classes. They actively manage £92.8 billion (as at 30 June 2014) of assets, investing on behalf of individuals, pension funds, insurers and corporations. They are the 4th largest UK retail fund manager1 and the 10th largest UK fund manager¹ by AUM. In Europe they rank in the top 50². Established in 1994 in London, Threadneedle has a presence in 16 countries.

Threadneedle’s distinctive investment approach is based on creative thinking, sharing of ideas and rigorous debate. Our c.150 investment professionals invest across developed and emerging market equities, fixed income, commodities and UK property. As at 30 June 2014, 57% of Threadneedle funds outperformed over 1 year, 76% over 3 years and 82% over 5 years3. In 2014, Threadneedle has won over 60 prestigious fund management industry awards globally4. 

Threadneedle is owned by Ameriprise Financial (NYSE: AMP), a leading US diversified financial services company with US$810 billion in assets under management and administration. As its international investment platform, Threadneedle provides Ameriprise and its retail and institutional clients with world class investment solutions.

1 UK IMA ranking, Jun 2014, see

2 Europe ranking, Morningstar Rankings ex MM, ex FoF and ex Master/Feeder, May 2014

3 All funds managed by Threadneedle, including segregated accounts/portfolios. The data does not include funds sub-advised by third parties or guest funds on a Threadneedle platform. All figures are as at 30 Jun 2014, in GBP unless stated otherwise. Total value of funds outperforming their relevant benchmark expressed as a percentage of total assets under management. This information aims to demonstrate the overall performance capabilities of Threadneedle’s asset management team. It is not intended to indicate the performance of individual funds or products. Please refer to product specific documentation in relation to individual funds. The value of investments and any income is not guaranteed and can go down as well as up.

4 For details see:

22 Sep 2014

At their premises in Birmingham on Wednesday 25th September. “Funding for Growth: An Alternative to High Street Banks”, presented by Big Issue Invest and Unity Trust Bank, is aimed at socially minded organisations who are interested in or seeking loan finance (£50k – 10m) in order to grow and expand.

The workshop will inform attendees of the benefits of using social financial providers like Big Issue Invest and Unity Trust Bank and their available support packages, as well as information about what is expected of attendees and their organisations.

Attendees will also be given the valuable opportunity to listen to the experiences of organisations who have received funding from Big Issue Invest and Unity Trust Bank and network with those in similar stages of development.

Figures of interest that will be at the workshop include Kevin Lloyd-Evans of Big Issue Invest, Head of Lending at Unity Trust bank, Steve Cronin and Founder and CEO of Midlands Psychology, Angela Southall.

For more details, directions to the event and to RSVP, please click here.

Click here for more information on Unity Trust Bank. To visit Anthony Collins Solicitors’ website, please visit here.

3 Sep 2014

Thirty years ago King’s Cross wasn’t the vibrant, regenerated area it is today. You were more likely to find prostitution and drug abuse than Carluccio’s and super-trendy bars specialising in Andalusian sherry (yes, there actually is one of those). But back in 1984 social deprivation meant cheap rents, which encouraged start-ups and artists studios – and went on to create the ideal conditions to establish Centa, a long-running social enterprise that in turn offered affordable workshop and office space. It was also intended to help preserve and grow local manufacturing namely the long established jewellery quarter at Hatton Garden.

And with a loan from Big Issue Invest, Centa has now managed to secure five workshop spaces for a new generation of jewellery designers and technicians to hone their craft. One tenant is Brett Afshar, who runs the successful jewellers Hearts of London. Centa has been a vital force in helping them grow since they began trading six years ago. “They gave us very favourable rent, they were on our side from the beginning and they’ve been pretty instrumental in our growth,” he says. “As a small business it’s essential to find support. We needed space to expand our business and they’ve given us that.”

Continue reading the full article here.

19 Aug 2014

The Big Issue headquarters has gone green. The premises decided to support the environment through the use of office stationary company Wiles Greenworld, who offer “a complete green business solution” by selling sustainable and eco-friendly products. Ranked in the Top 50 out of 4200 leading office suppliers across the UK, Wiles Greenworld have a variety of products available ranging from office stationary basics to computing and printing consumables and even tea and coffee. They also offer a free of charge recycling service within London, which they collect when delivering the office supplies; they even use alternative fuel vehicles.

The decision ties in with The Big Issue’s support of the Buy Social campaign. Being a social enterprise itself, The Big Issue is committed to the growth and increased use of social enterprises. Created by Social Enterprise UK, the campaign encourages the trading of goods and services between social enterprises. It also targets the private sector and consumers, generating profit for social enterprises and highlighting how they can “use their purchasing power to make a difference”.

For more information on the Buy Social campaign, visit the website at or Social Enterprise UK.

For more information on Wiles Greenworld and to order their products, visit their website at

Social Enterprise UK is the national membership body for social enterprise. They work with government, the private sector and general public to create opportunities for their members. From local grass-roots organisations to multi-million pound businesses, what unites their members is their commitment to changing the world through business.

The Buy Social campaign has one aim: to get people to buy from social enterprises.  From high street banks and construction firms to the UK Parliament, more organisations are bringing social enterprises into their supply chains, and more people are buying social enterprise products in their daily life. #buysocial


19 Aug 2014

Big Issue Invest (BII) the social investment arm of The Big Issue magazine has made its first social investment in the North West of England using money from the Regional Growth Fund.

A loan investment of £75,000 has been made to Salford based social enterprise Social adVentures.  The funding is being used to acquire a local day care nursery – Cheeky Monkeys.  The aim of the purchase is to help promote local jobs and pursue social objectives which meet the needs of local families.

Scott Darraugh, Chief Executive of Social adVentures said “Without the involvement of Big Issue Investment we would not have been able to put this deal together. It is great for the local community, Social Adventures and the staff and children of Cheeky Monkeys.  Social enterprise is a new way of doing business. We improve local services by re-investing any profits into the community.  This acquisition is part of both our social and financial objectives. We are delighted to be working with Big Issue Invest”.

Social adVentures is an award winning social enterprise jointly owned by service users, staff and local people. Originally set up as The Angel Healthy Living Centre it was hosted by NHS Salford for ten years. During the last three years it has grown and developed innovative services promoting health and wellbeing. The organisation works with some of the city’s most vulnerable groups. Services are diverse and range from healthy cooking classes to crisis management psychological sessions.

Ed Siegel, Director of Investments at Big Issue Invest said ‘’We’re really excited to have this opportunity to invest in Social adVentures, an organisation we’ve been talking to about a variety of issues over the last few years.  Social adVentures has been a leading voice amongst the first wave of public sector ‘spin outs’, promoting the collective cause and bringing themselves to our attention at a very early stage.  They’re meeting the challenges confronted by newly created public service mutuals, demonstrating added value in contract delivery and diversifying income and impact.  This investment into a new line of business – early years education in their local community – is a perfect example of that diversification and growth.

Funding support which included a £260,000 loan was provided by NatWest.

NatWest Relationship Manager Janet Morrishsaid: “We are delighted to support Social adVentures as it embarks on this new stage in its development. It’s an exciting business which offers a unique resource to the community and we wish the business every success for the future.”

-ENDS- Notes to editors

Press contacts:

Big Issue Invest

Big Issue Invest is the social investment arm of The Big Issue, helping prevent poverty and inequality by backing sustainable social enterprises, charities and ventures. It is a specialist provider of finance to social enterprises led by social entrepreneurs and staffed by social financiers. Since 2005 BII has invested £25m in more than 310 social enterprises, directly benefitting over 1.8m people, sustainably employing 3,200 and training 14,000. Big Issue Invest understands how to develop innovative finance – helping social enterprises to tackle poverty and inequality.

BII is born out of a social enterprise itself and is led by social entrepreneurs and experienced social financiers who have first-hand experience of setting-up and running profitable social enterprises in both good and difficult times.

Regional Growth Fund

The Regional Growth Fund (RGF) is a flexible and competitive £3.2 billion fund operating across England from 2011 to 2017 and creating jobs into the mid-2020s.

For further information visit:


Social adVentures

Social adVentures are a social enterprise jointly owned by service users and staff that supports people into healthier, happier lifestyles. Their thinking is that staying healthy and happy is as much about keeping people active and fulfilled as it is about colourful assortments of pills.

They work with GPs and healthcare professionals to move people away from a dependence on prescribed medication, they deliver health and care contracts for public bodies and run a healthy living centre, a garden centre and a children’s day nursery – all with a public health mission at their core.

Happiness: enjoyment of a full and meaningful life

Health: a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being

Social adventures is a team of 30 people and growing – all driven and ambitious in their different roles. The diversity of their skills and experience allows them to offer a wide range of services – from “being well” coaches and fitness instructors in one of their gyms, to horticulturalists and mental health workers.

Most of their team is based in the north west of England but they’re committed to sharing their social enterprise approach across the UK. The chief executive Scott Darraugh is a Cabinet Office-appointed ‘Mutuals Ambassador’ and one of the founders of a new Mutuals Network to support social enterprises that have ‘spun out’ from their local public sector bodies.

For further information visit: