The Prince’s Regeneration Trust (PRT) has been awarded a £200,000 Big Lottery Fund development grant to establish an innovative new social enterprise fund that will boost capacity, confidence and wellbeing in deprived communities across the UK through the adaptive reuse of at-risk locally important buildings.
The fund is aimed at the growing number of investors seeking to use their capital to generate social impact as well as financial return. It will invest in social enterprises based in deprived locations to enable them to acquire empty or neglected important local assets before they fall further into disrepair. These buildings will then be redeveloped in partnership with their local community to once again become relevant, engaging and accessible spaces, restoring a sense of purpose, pride and possibility to an area.
The PRT social enterprise fund will be the first of its nature and scale, targeting large and complex regeneration projects in challenging locations, which need greater financial and non-financial support in order to succeed. The fund will demonstrate how social enterprises undertaking such projects can make the transition from a purely grant based model to combine a range of funding sources including social investment. It will also build the capacity of the social enterprises it invests in so they undertake more projects in the future, creating wider social impact in their local region.
In the next six months PRT will develop its concept into a detailed business case for investors, demonstrating the financial viability of the fund, how its social impact will be assessed and how PRT will work in partnership with other organisations to maximise the fund’s effectiveness.
PRT’s work to establish the fund is supported by The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), which has provided a full time resource to the project since September 2013. RBS has been supporting the social enterprise sector for many years. Its ambition is to increase the size and strength of the sector and its involvement in the development of the PRT fund has been invaluable.
Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive of PRT, said, 'The Prince’s Regeneration Trust has a strong track record of providing expert advice to communities seeking to unlock the potential of their much loved local buildings. The launch of our social enterprise fund will combine this support with direct financial investment, significantly increasing the likely success of these projects. We are very excited to be creating a strong proposition which will attract new sources of capital into the social investment market.'
Paul Coates, Managing Director RBS Real Estate Finance UK, commented: 'We are delighted to be able to offer our support to PRT’s great work. RBS recognises the importance of the social enterprise sector in helping to rebuild the UK’s economy. This fund, through investing in social sector organisations, will in turn help local communities. It is a win win.'