Melanie Mills (Big Society Capital), Richard Beard (Jericho Foundation) and Grace England (Resonance)
A Birmingham social enterprise has secured £100,000 of Social Investment Tax Relief (SITR) investment from social investment company Resonance to help it expand its ‘upcycling’ venture.
This is the first investment from the Resonance West Midlands SITR Fund, launched earlier this year with £1.25m initial investment dedicated to providing affordable finance to social enterprises committed to dismantling poverty in the region.
Richard Beard, CEO of the Jericho Foundation, is using the cash injection to help it take on a third building in Sutton Coldfield for its ReUsers business, which takes unwanted stuff heading to the tip and turns it into items that people want to buy.
It should help it increase turnover by 25% over the next 12 months and create an extra six apprenticeships and volunteering positions for people who have significant personal or occupational barriers to employment, training or social inclusion.
Richard, who has been at Jericho Foundation for fourteen years, explained: “This is our second experience of SITR investment and both times it has given us access to vital funding that can be paid back at a much smaller rate of interest than we have been able to access previously.
“The investment from the Resonance Fund will increase our footprint at ReUsers by 25%.
“This means we should be able to grow the business and build on the fact that we have so far saved 650 tonnes of unwanted items going to landfill and supported 70 people with apprenticeships or voluntary positions – this simply would not be possible without SITR.
“It represents a significant growth in our impact and it’s great to work with investors that are so aligned with our social mission.”
Grace England, investment manager at Resonance, added her support: “I am delighted that Jericho is receiving the first investment from our new regional SITR Fund.
“It has been leading the way in supporting vulnerable people here in Birmingham for many years now, and we’re really excited to support it to do more of what it does best.
“Jericho’s social mission is aligned with that of the Fund, as we know that barriers to training and employment continue to be significant contributors to the poverty and disadvantage that persists in our region.”
Big Society Capital, which improves the lives of people in the UK by connecting social investment to charities and social enterprises, has launched the GET SITR campaign to help raise awareness of what it is and how you can access it.
The idea is to encourage individuals to support charities and social enterprises by helping them access new sources of repayable finance, with backers receiving a 30% tax break when investing into an eligible organisation.
To date, more than 50 organisations have successfully been able to secure over £10m, but with more investors coming forward and the threshold of what you can raise rising to £1.5m, there could be a larger pool of finance to tap into.
Melanie Mills, Social Sector Engagement at Big Society Capital, commented: “SITR is really an undiscovered opportunity for the third sector and the aim of our campaign is to get people talking about it and then starting to use it as one of the most cost-effective ways of raising finance.
“It is proving increasingly popular with high net worth individuals and sophisticated retail investors, who are attracted to the significant tax break and a number of other advantages around capital gains tax.”
She went on to add: “Then you have a growing army of investors, who want much more than just a financial return.
“They care about a social issue or are passionate about a local area and want to bring more than money, often bringing their skills, volunteer time and networks to the investee.”
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