Headlines: August 3rd, 2011

The Big Society Bank has been launched under the name of the Big Society Capital Group. It will help social enterprises and other groups to grow and expand their work. The Group has already made its first investment.

The Big Society Capital Group will play a major role in injecting significant resources and financial innovation into social enterprises, while at the same time attracting further funding from charitable foundations, private individuals and other investors. It will do this by supporting organisations that invest in the sector, helping them to provide a greater range of financial services to social sector organisations and to raise more money for onward investment into the sector.

The Group will be monitored by the Big Society Trust which will ensure that it is true to its mission. The Big Society Foundation has also been launched as a charitable foundation able to receive philanthropic donations.

The initial funding of £600m will enable the Group to attract additional capital to the social sector from charitable foundations, institutional investors, companies and private individuals.

The big four banks will commit to provide equity investment over 4 years to be drawn down alongside the dormant accounts monies as they are received. It is estimated that some £400m in unclaimed assets left dormant in bank accounts for over 15 years will become available to the Group.

The Big Lottery Fund has set up an Investment Committee to make some initial investments to support the early development of the Group. The Investment Committee’s call for proposals has generated a high level of interest, with 40 proposals in so far. The Committee has agreed to make its first investment of up to £1m in a social investment fund run by the Private Equity Foundation to help disadvantaged young people into employment, education or training.