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Lord Bird and Nigel Kershaw OBE launch Big Issue Invest Impact Report which shows £10.7 million disbursement to social enterprises and charities in past year

Posted: 3rd May 2018

Programme of investment is run by Big Issue Invest, the social investment arm of The Big Issue

On Wednesday, 2nd May Lord John Bird, founder of The Big Issue and Nigel Kershaw OBE, Group Chair at The Big Issue Group, unveiled the Big Issue Invest Social Impact Report 2018 in the House of Lords.

The report revealed that Big Issue Invest, the social investment arm of The Big Issue, invested £10.7 million in 81 investments into 68 mission-led organisations from 2017-18*.

Big Issue Invest (BII) has a total current investment portfolio of £26.4million into 198 investments into 150 organisations.

The report detailed that of BII’s total investment portfolio, £5.5 million is currently invested in 63 organisations in the 20% of the UK’s most deprived areas, where capital can have the greatest social and economic benefits, including the North East and North West.

BII also reported that of its total investment portfolio, there had been an investment of more than £2 million and the dedication of a further £10 million in outcomes- based investments that reward providers and investors for outcomes achieved.

Almost half of the total number of BII’s current investees (43%) target services at people with significant additional needs or disadvantages.  And more than half – 61% – pay all of their staff at least the voluntary recommended living wage.

The top 5 services offered by the total number of current investees were training (43%), education (42%), employment opportunities for disadvantaged individuals (34%), information advice and guidance (32%), life skills support, budgeting, parenting and personal safety (25%).

Of the total number of investments, 44 investments support people living in poverty, 37 support young people, 12 support the long-term unemployed and 11 support people with mental health needs. Other investments included organisations who support older people, people with learning disabilities and children.

Lord John Bird, founder of The Big Issue, said: “It’s brilliant to see the difference that Big Issue Invest is making right across the UK. It’s also been fantastic to hear from investees about the positive impact they’ve been able to make in their local communities as a result of our investments.”

Nigel Kershaw OBE, Group Chair at The Big Issue Group, says, “Big Issue Invest is the UK’s first ‘social merchant bank,’ by social entrepreneurs, for social entrepreneurs. Everything we do is about helping social enterprises on the front line to create an impact.

“Our investments empower and resource society to take responsibility for positive change. The past twelve months have been unprecedented for us. We have made more investments than ever before and expanded our offer to meet the growing needs of the market. We are very proud of what we have achieved in such a short amount of time. Follow the mission not the money and the social impact will follow that”.

BII provides finance and support to social enterprises and charities seeking to dismantle poverty and create opportunity for people across the UK.   It invests between £20K and £3 million in organisations seeking repayable financing options, helping them to scale up and maximise their social impact. Since launching in 2005, BII has have invested in over 330 organisations, all of which have positively influenced the lives of people across the UK. BII currently manages or advises on £170 million of social funds.

All of the funds disbursed by BII are sourced from a wide range of partners, including major financial organisations such as Barclays and Aberdeen Standard Investment. None of the funds BII handles are generated from sales of The Big Issue magazine.

For more information, and to download a copy of the report, visit

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