New investment into GM to help grow the social economy and tackle inequality

Greater Manchester will receive a share of a new £33 million investment programme launched today aimed at tackling inequality through boosting the social economy.

Local Access, a partnership between Access – The Foundation for Social Investment, and Big Society Capital, will provide money for six places in total: Bradford; Bristol; Gainsborough; Greater Manchester (Bolton, Oldham, Stockport and Wigan); Hartlepool, Redcar & Cleveland; and Southwark in London.

The Greater Manchester Boroughs of Bolton, Oldham, Stockport and Wigan each formed successful partnerships between local authorities, social enterprises and charities, housing providers and infrastructure organisations etc and joined with GMCVO to bid for the investment. The money will support charities and social enterprises in Bolton, Oldham, Stockport and Wigan grow the local social economy to tackle local issues.

The partnership in Greater Manchester will develop social investment products based on the needs of GM social enterprise blending loans, grants and support. They will now begin a co-design process with Access and Big Society Capital to refine their plans with the aim to launch in the second half of this year.

Ian Taylor, Director of Business Development - GMCVO, said:
“Greater Manchester has a history of social innovation and enterprise. The Local Access programme is a responsive investment that will enable four local partnerships to stimulate the social economy in their district through a broad collaboration of organisations.

“The aspiration is to create a full spectrum of support from inspiring new entrepreneurs to scaling up social enterprise, blended with a menu of social investment that will stimulate growth, the local economy and social impact.

“The shared learning generated by different challenges and responses in the pilot areas will help transform the social economy across Greater Manchester and inform peer learning across the national programme. It’s a brilliant opportunity.”

Seb Elsworth, Chief Executive of Access - The Foundation for Social Investment, said: 
“We all know charities and social enterprises do good work in our communities, but the sector’s power as an economic force, one which can help reshape local economies and in so doing tackle the most entrenched inequality, is often overlooked. 

“We are delighted to be working Greater Manchester to help them to realise this potential and grow their local social economy through the tools of enterprise support and access to investment through blended finance.”

Cliff Prior, Chief Executive of Big Society Capital, said: 

“Where you were born should not affect your opportunity to live a happy and fulfilling life. But there are many areas in the UK that have experienced high levels of deprivation for many years, and even in relatively prosperous areas there can be pockets that reveal huge levels of inequality. 

“We believe the Local Access programme offers an innovative approach to levelling up the disparity between places through developing the social economy. Crucially it is a pilot programme, and so we look forward to gathering the learning emerging from each of the places as the programme progresses.”

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