UK social impact investments climb 19%

Big Society Capital finds market grew to £9.4bn last year

Investment in UK social impact was up by £1.5bn last year, according to Big Society Capital’s annual sector survey.

The social impact investment market was worth £9.4bn at end of 2022, the firm’s market sizing data survey found, up from £7.9bn in 2021.

“The continued growth in social investment in this challenging environment is welcome and demonstrates an increasing investor appetite for creating positive change to people’s lives,” commented Stephen Muers (pictured), CEO of Big Society Capital.

Social impact investment has increased more than 10-fold since 2011 – when it was £830m. Over this time more than 5,000 organisations have used the capital from social investment to deliver key services and support to communities throughout the country.

The research also claims social impact investment is increasingly reaching the areas that need it most – with 82% of organisations receiving social lending based outside London; and 62% targeted at the UK’s most deprived communities according to the IMD Index.

But Muers pointed out that “significantly larger amounts of private capital are badly needed” to help tackle social problems.

Innovative private-public funding mechanisms are part of the solution to unlocking that, Big Society Capital has said.

One example of innovative funding is the Greater Manchester Young Person’s Homelessness Prevention programme, which uses social outcomes funding to work with 1,500 young people at risk of homelessness to stabilise their housing or find alternative accommodation.

“The funding model is completely innovative when compared to traditional public service commissioning, it gives us the flexibility to place the young person at the centre of everything we do,” said programme manager Rachel O’Connor.

“If we want to improve the lives of people facing complex, interconnected challenges, we need a more targeted, holistic approach and this model enables us to do this, so they have the choice and control of their interventions.”