West London Zone
Bridges Social Impact Bond Fund
Education & Skills
Date of Initial Investment
Louisa Mitchell (CEO)
Nigel Ball (Chief Dvpmt Officer)
Danny Kruger (Chairman)
Louisa Mitchell, CEO
“We want to make sure that we work with the right children at the right time in the right areas – over a long enough period that they can improve their own lives, and positively influence other young people in the local area. This new funding partnership can help us achieve this ambitious goal.”
Challenge: Nearly 800,000 16-24 year olds are currently classified as ‘NEET’ – not in education, employment, or training. A period of being ‘NEET’ often leads to negative long-term employment and health outcomes, all of which carries a huge cost for the individual and society as a whole.
West London is characterised by cultural diversity and high levels of inequality, with some of the poorest neighbourhoods in the country next to some of the richest. It is home to about 66,000 children, around 20% of whom are at risk of negative outcomes in adulthood. There are a great deal of assets in the area to support young people, including good schools and non-profit organisations – yet there are still young people who are falling through the gaps.
Solution: West London Zone (“WLZ”) is a registered charity that works with schools and families in the Hammersmith and Fulham area to identify children that are struggling – either academically or otherwise – and then connects them to local services that can help. It is aiming to work with about six hundred local children over a five year period, helping to improve their wellbeing, learning and character.
The programme is structured as a ‘collective impact bond’ (the first such programme in the UK). WLZ only gets paid if the children achieve certain positive outcomes (see below) – and these outcomes payments are co-funded by local schools, councils, central Government (via Big Lottery Fund) and private philanthropists. Bridges is providing the necessary up-front working capital, and supporting WLZ on delivery.
Bridges met the West London Zone team when they were first designing their programme in 2016. After going through the Commissioning Better Outcomes process, the West London Zone team approached Bridges for investment; and we closely worked with the team to design and launch the service in Hammersmith and Fulham.
Target outcomes: WLZ receives outcomes payments if young people on the programme improve their attendance and behaviour at school, achieve educational qualifications, and/or move on to further education or employment.
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