By Max Clarke

BIG Fund, the group who each year hand out tens of millions of pounds worth of National Lottery funding to community and art projects across the UK have launched a campaign to share a £5 million pool from ‘dormant’ bank accounts to social investors.

The £5million Big Society Social Investment Fund will invest funds from dormant bank accounts in England into social investment intermediaries while the Big Society Bank is being set up. Delivered by the BIG Fund, the Fund will help build a dynamic social investment market that provides robust financial products to better support frontline social sector organisations.

“We want this Fund to begin the process of building the diversity and resilience of the social investment market by investing in well managed, ambitious and financially sound social investment intermediaries,” said John Kingston, Director of CAF Venturesome and chair of the Investment Committee. “By doing this, we want to help charities and social enterprises access capital so they can work more effectively in our communities and together address the needs of our society.”

The proposals follow directions from Government for BIG to establish an Investment Committee in order to use dormant account money to start making investments from this summer. The Investment Committee is an interim body that will be wound up once the Big Society Bank has become fully operational following State Aid approval from the European Commission and Financial Services Authority authorisation.

The Investment Committee will be wound up once the Big Society Bank has been fully established and is in a position to start using dormant account money. The Investment Committee investment portfolio will be transferred to the Big Society Bank at that point.

It will act as a wholesale investor for social investment and champion the sector to the public, stakeholders and investors. It will invest capital in intermediaries so that they are able to invest in frontline organisations. It will not make grants. It will also invest in developing a powerful infrastructure for the social investment sector.

Nat Sloane, Chair of the BIG’s England Committee said: “A social investment market has begun to develop in the UK, with social investment intermediary organisations seeking to match the supply of finance with the financial needs of the social sector. Through this fund we want to help this market to flourish and grow.

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