Opportunities to raise millions to tackle social, environmental and community challenges set out in report

Opportunities to raise millions to tackle social, environmental and community challenges set out in report

A REPORT shows Cambridge could benefit from millions of pounds in “place-based social impact investment” – funding provided by investors dedicated to solving social problems such as homelessness and through projects such as affordable housing or helping people with the work to make a positive impact.

Cambridge City Council, AchieveGood and It Takes A City CLT have worked with City Council to explore how to secure funding to improve the lives of local people and build a better and more sustainable city for the future Our Cambridge Program.

The report, Coming Together: The Role Social Impact Investing Can Play at Cambridgeoutlines ways to raise millions of pounds that can be invested to address some of the key social and environmental challenges in the greater Cambridge area.

These opportunities were identified by partners and organizations who contributed local insights as part of an evidence consultation call that took place in the summer of 2022.

The partnership will now move into a second phase of the project, which includes developing a financing model and securing investments. This second phase will end in spring/summer 2023.

Funding could come from a mix of philanthropic individuals or organisations, the public sector and low-cost patient capital from investors – an approach used at Bristol and Camden.

For more information on registering interests as an investor, please visit the Council’s website at www.cambridge.gov.uk/our-cambridge.

The report states that social investment is directed towards projects such as helping charities and social enterprises build and buy housing, reducing homelessness, nurturing skills and helping people prepare for employment, and fostering community resilience, biodiversity and combating environmental damage.

The Council, It Takes A City and AchieveGood are now working with local charities and social enterprises, as well as potential investors who can make a significant positive impact.

The report details how Greater Cambridge has a growing economy, with strong levels of employment benefiting from world-renowned universities, thriving industries in key sectors such as deep tech, life sciences, research and finance, and a dynamic social and community service sector.

The impact of Covid-19 and the nature of the local economy means that Greater Cambridge faces a complex set of stresses, with severe inequality between the wealthiest and poorest communities. There are inequalities in outcomes, particularly in relation to education, social mobility and life expectancy.

Robert Pollock, Chief Executive of Cambridge City Council, said: “Initial research suggests we have the right conditions in place to bring together private and public sector funding to create a positive long-term impact.

“Greater Cambridge has an excellent track record of supporting innovation and growing start-ups. If we can apply this rich experience to social and environmental businesses and charities, everyone can benefit.”

Dominic Llewellyn, Founder and CEO of AchieveGood, said: “There are some brilliant examples of place-based investing with social impact in the UK and around the world, notably Bristol with its £10m City Fund.

“It’s exciting to see that Cambridge as a city can come together and use its fantastic assets to address some of its biggest challenges in the areas of homelessness and housing, inequality, skills, education and employment, community resilience and environmental change.”

Martin Clark, Board Member at It Takes A City CLT said: “Social investment is a powerful tool when used well, but also one that has yet to reach its full potential to achieve social and environmental impact, so this initiative is real welcome and should work well in a place like Cambridge where there is a combination of great needs and great resources.

“I really hope this project will help get the resource where it’s needed most, and in the form that makes the biggest difference.”

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