Loans and investments totalled more than £47.5 million
A new report reveals more than 5.4 million people benefitted from the activities and organisations which Social Investment Scotland (SIS) helped to fund last year.
According to the annual Impact Report from the responsible finance provider, between April 2022 and March 2023, loans and investments by SIS totalled more than £47.5 million across 201 social enterprises, an increase of £6.5 million from £41 million in the previous year.
SIS activities, either directly or indirectly, benefited 5.4 million people in Scotland, England and Wales – an increase of more than 20% (1.1 million) compared to 2021-22, reflecting its strategic action plan of ‘Turning up the Volume’ post-pandemic.
Almost one-third of the charities and social enterprises SIS worked with last year secured loans under £50,000, highlighting the important role the organisation plays in connecting smaller, local charities and community groups with critical finance.
Funded activities span all of Scotland’s 32 local authorities, with 98% of customers based north of the border.
Over the past year, more than 900 people participated in training events and workshops provided by SIS’s market-building team. These included Circular Economy 360, a partnership with Zero Waste Scotland, the Ambitions Programme of leadership development, supported by the Postcode Innovation Trust, and CultureXcelerator, which offered strategic support for creative industries, in collaboration with Creative Scotland.
In 2022-23, SIS also led the launch of Financial Inclusion for Scotland, a group of Scotland’s leading policymakers and professionals from the private, charity and not-for-profit sectors who have come together to tackle financial exclusion.
In addition, the Social Enterprise Just Transition Fund – managed by SIS and supported by the Scottish Government – was extended following a successful pilot year, during which seven social enterprises in the North East of Scotland received financial support for sustainable projects.
Alastair Davis, CEO of Social Investment Scotland, said: “If we are going to create a fairer, greener and more equal society, we need to keep turning up the volume, encouraging more stakeholders, social entrepreneurs, businesses and consumers to support Scotland’s transition to a wellbeing economy.
“Over the past year SIS has been bolder and more innovative in the ways we collaborate with our partners and other stakeholders to support organisations making an impact all over Scotland – and beyond. Our increased impact is the result of combined efforts to make a real measurable and sustainable difference to people’s lives.”
In response to the ongoing cost of living crisis, SIS supported Fair for You with a £350,000 loan from the Scottish Community Lenders Investment Fund to help with a pilot programme which has so far directly impacted 280 people living in Glasgow.
The initiative was designed to support up to 1,000 households at risk of financial exclusion to access flexible, affordable credit to purchase essential white goods such as washing machines, fridge-freezers and cookers. Previous independent evaluations of Fair for You's work show that similar schemes deliver significant social impact, including supporting customers' physical and mental health, making it easier for them to seek or remain in employment, and helping them to get in control of their finances.
Simon Dukes, CEO of Fair For You, said: “Social lending requires social investment, and Fair for You has received invaluable support from Social Investment Scotland for many years.
“The lives of tens of thousands of families across all four nations of the UK have been changed for the better as a result.”