Bridges Ventures and Big Society Capital support UK’s first local authority Social Impact Bond aimed to improve outcomes for vulnerable young people

Bridges Ventures (Bridges) and Big Society Capital today announced they are lead investors in a new Social Impact Bond (SIB) commissioned by Essex County Council and developed by Social Finance, to fund an intensive intervention programme to help vulnerable young people at risk of going into care.

The Essex SIB, the first local authority SIB in the UK, will fund a £3.1 million, five-year programme that will deliver intensive support to 380 vulnerable adolescents and their families through Multi-Systemic Therapy (MST).

MST, an evidence-based programme with a 30-year international track record, delivers family therapy focusing on improving parenting and rebuilding positive relationships so that families can manage future crisis situations, resulting on sustained, long-term impact. Adolescents are the single largest age group within looked after children overall in the UK and life chances for children who enter state care are typically bleak: A quarter of all prisoners have been in care compared to 2% of the population overall and one third of previously looked after children are NEET (not in education, employment or training) at age 19.[i]

The programme, run under a payment-by-results contract, will be managed by Social Finance and delivered by Action for Children, one of the UK’s largest children charities. Bridges Social Entrepreneurs Fund and Big Society Capital will be investing alongside other social investors.

The Bridges Social Entrepreneurs Fund is already leading investments in three payment-by-results programmes under the Department of Work & Pensions’Innovation Fund – set up to support disadvantaged young people improve their education, employment and training outcomes.

Big Society Capital has announced investment commitments of £37 million since its launch in April, including a £10 million commitment for a Results Fund to enable social sector organisations to compete for payment- by-results contracts.

Antony Ross, Head of Bridges Social Entrepreneurs Fund, said: “The MST programme has a track record of delivering real benefits to vulnerable children and the Social Impact Bond mechanism will enable Essex to pilot this level of targeted intervention. We are delighted to be a cornerstone investor supporting the Authority’s first SIB-funded intervention.”

Nick O’Donohoe, CEO of Big Society Capital said: “The launch of this SIB by Essex County Council is a major breakthrough and shows the potential for the development of the market in social investment. We hope that Essex will pave the way for other local authorities to follow.”


Contact information

Bridges Ventures

Hannah Randall – Capital MSL


0207 255 5177

Big Society Capital

Alastair Ballantyne – Head of Communications


020 7186 2503

Notes to Editors

About Bridges Ventures

Bridges Ventures LLP (“Bridges Ventures”) is specialist fund manager dedicated to using an impact-driven investment approach to create superior returns for both investors and society at-large.

It was established in 2002 with a mission to use its commercial expertise to achieve focused social or environmental benefit, as well as attractive returns for investors. Bridges Ventures has raised six funds to date which total almost £275m: Sustainable Growth Funds I, II and III, the Bridges Sustainable Property Fund, CarePlaces Fund and the Bridges Social Entrepreneurs Fund.

About Big Society Capital

Big Society Capital is the world’s first social investment bank. BSC formally launched in April 2012, with an estimated £600 million of equity to be paid-in over 5 years, of which £400 million will be from unclaimed assets left dormant in bank accounts for over 15 years and £200 million from the UK’s largest high street banks.

Big Society Capital seeks to support the growth of a social investment market in the UK by revolutionising the way in which the social sector is funded. Through supporting the growth of social investment finance providers, BSC will improve access to innovative forms of financing, and connect the sector to capital markets.

[i] DfE: Outcomes for Children Looked After by Local Authorities in England, as at 31 March 2010.