Big Issue Invest launches Impact report 2020 to mark 10 years since the launch of its first ever investment fund

Big Issue Invest’s total assets under management and advisory reached over £200 million at the end of March 2020, supporting over one million customers across the UK.

Today (Wednesday, 16th December) Big Issue Invest (BII) launched its Impact Report revealing that between April 2019 and March 2020, the social investor supported 160 investees with a total of £41.7 million.

In turn, collectively, the social enterprises were able to provide services to over 1 million customers in the UK that are often marginalised from mainstream support and opportunities or live in the most deprived areas.

St Helena’s Hospice (SHH) is just one of the social enterprises supported by Big Issue Invest. SHH helps local people facing incurable illness and bereavement, supporting them and their families, friends and carers to bring comfort and relief to tens of thousands of people. With persons aged 85+ predicted to nearly double between 2018 and 2043 from 1.6 million to 3 million, BII are supporting St Helena’s Hospice to grow their lottery business and hospice provision through a £1.5 million commitment out of their Social Enterprise Investment Fund II.

Brian Bolt from St Helena’s Hospice, said: “The investment from Big Issue Invest has enabled St. Helena’s to achieve its ambition of accelerating the pace and scale of our unique lottery partnership offer. We now provide lotteries for 20 different charities across England and Wales raising vital funds for St Helena to help local people facing incurable illness and bereavement, but also generating financial returns for 20 other diverse good causes. In addition to the funding, the team at BII provided invaluable advice and support in developing the business case and helping us as an organisation to further strengthen our governance, including moving to a risk-based reserves policy”.

Other social enterprises supported by BII include the Mental Health and Employment Partnership (MHEP). MHEP received £1.7 million investment and have supported over 1,000 people with severe mental illnesses, drug and alcohol addictions, or learning disabilities into paid employment. 100 people gained employment during the pandemic.

YMCA Cornwall received £150,000 of investment to provide homes for the vulnerable young people and Five Lamps Trading received £1.25 million to support them in boosting financial inclusion through affordable short-term credit.

Danyal Sattar, CEO of Big Issue Invest, said: “In the worst recession and pandemic in modern history, our social enterprise and charity sector has responded brilliantly. Even while their own income fell, organisations redirected themselves, innovated and changed, to do their absolute best to provide services to the people and communities they exist for. I am proud that we were able to support our sector by investing and granting more money this year than we ever have. That’s our job – getting money from those that have it, to those than need it.”

The report documents BII’s collaborative work, in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and how investees were supported to continue delivering impact in their communities. BII worked with The National Lottery Community Fund to provide £3.2 million of grant funding to 118 grantees across England. Partnering with Social Investment Business to deliver the ‘Resilience and Recovery Loan Fund’, BII worked with 14 social enterprises to access over £4.1 million of investment out of a total £12 million given from the UK Government-backed Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS). There are an additional 5 applications still in progress.

In addition to highlighting the social impact delivered by investees, the organisation has also published its own diversity, equality and inclusion findings in this report. BII surveyed their portfolio and found that women-led organisations made up 69% of investees, and over 50% of leaders receiving investment had lived experience of social challenges. However, Black-led organisations are underrepresented, making up only 2% of leaders/founders, whilst disability was the characteristic least likely to be measured. These findings will be the basis of a 2021 diversity, equality and inclusion strategy. The organisation has also published gender pay gap data for the first time.

Download the 2019- 2020 Impact Report here