Bridges Social Sector Funds honoured for their catalytic impact

5th May 2016

We are delighted to announce that the Bridges Social Sector Funds won two (out of five) awards at the prestigious Cabinet Office Social Investment Awards 2016. Now in their second year, these awards are intended to “highlight the innovation and dedication of world-leading social investors and enterprises”.

The Bridges Social Entrepreneurs Fund (SEF) won the ‘Institutional Social Investment Award’, which recognises “an investment deal or product that has created demonstrable social impact at scale”. SEF was honoured not only for the impact it has achieved through its own portfolio of investments (such as high-growth social enterprises HCT and CASA), but also for the catalytic effect it has had on the broader social investment market. Its success in helping ambitious social sector organisations grow through the provision of quasi-equity, coupled with strategic and operational support, has inspired a number of similar funds since its launch in 2009. Its investments into some of the first UK social impact bonds have also helped to catalyse that nascent market.

Bridges and Career Connect won the ‘Public Service Transformation Award’ for their SIB-funded programme on Merseyside. As you may remember, Bridges first backed Career Connect’s ‘New Horizons’ intervention programme (which aimed to stop young people becoming NEET, i.e. not in education, employment or training) as one of our first ever social impact bond investments in 2012. The programme was so successful – delivering over £9m worth of positive outcomes to the Department of Work & Pensions at a cost of just £4.5m – that it became one of the first SIBs in the world to repay investors in full and ahead of schedule. It has since been recommissioned for a second iteration – and has demonstrated a brand new way for the Government to tackle the NEET issue.

See here for a full write-up in Pioneers Post.