Our sustainability stories

Legal & General’s award-winning fund completes rounds of investment into Social Enterprises in Wales and Greater Brighton

An innovative social investment initiative supported by Legal & General and managed by CAF Venturesome has completed two rounds of investments over a busy summer.

25 Oct 2018

In June and July we held our annual pitch days for our place-based fund for start-up social enterprises in Greater Brighton and Wales. This has been our 5th round of investments in Greater Brighton (previously Sussex and Croydon) and 3rd round of investments in Wales, with an overall capital commitment of over £800,000 across the fund.

The SE-Assist fund helps social organisations with a clear social or environmental impact that has an annual turnover of less than £500,000 and is working towards a sustainable business model.   We offer interest free loans of up to £30,000 (interest bearing up to £60,000) repayable over 3 years to help social organisations with cashflow to build long-term sustainability or development finance to help them grow.   Working with our local delivery partners, we offer our investees access to a bank of experts and an experienced mentor who provides business experience and guidance.

Based on collaborative partnerships between business, the public sector, and community stakeholders, which include Legal & General, the Welsh Government, the Institute of Directors Wales, the Wales Co-operative Centre, Business in the Community Wales, The Pebble Trust, Coast to Capital LEP, Brighton & Hove City Council, The Goodall Foundation and Mary Nixon Trust. SE-Assist is locally focused. The investment decisions are made by a locally based Social Investment Committee ensuring support is responsive to needs in the community.

This year we are delighted that a selection of organisations we have offered financial support to in Greater Brighton are:

  • The Sussex Peasant A community of Sussex farmers operating a mobile farm shop and restaurant to provide sustainable, local produce to their customers that is both socially and environmentally minded.
  • Make Good Trouble A start-up social enterprise that aims to give teen girls the resilience, tools and courage to make a difference in their locality and in the world. Its programme inspires teens and parents everywhere to understand each other better and to be the change they want to see in society.
  • Crisis Classroom A social enterprise taking education to refugees, asylum seekers and migrants, people in remote communities, the homeless and all those for whom traditional schooling is inaccessible to provide them with the tools to rebuild and live satisfying lives.  

And in Wales:

  • Greenstream Flooring A community interest company that supplies and fits both new and used flooring.   Their reused carpet tiles are saved from landfill and have plenty of use left in them. Reused carpet tiles save carbon and enable them to provide low cost flooring to people and organisations who could otherwise not afford flooring. Several times a year they give away carpet tiles completely free to support the local community.
  • Beaufort Theatre A community theatre, which hosts a wide range of performances and events throughout the year as well as arts activities and workshops. The loan is to improve the income generating facilities at the theatre.
  • Caban CYF A social enterprise established to bring rural economic development to North Wales. It aims to manage a sustainable community building that generates its own income while supporting local businesses, to create quality employment opportunities. Their café serves high quality food at an affordable price, cooking a healthy mix of organic products, and local suppliers from the on-site kitchen garden. 
  • Pennysmart CIC A community interest company that aims to reduce financial exclusion and poverty by delivering money, debt and benefits advice, money education into communities, schools and workplaces and training for staff and volunteers. They work with community facing partners, trusted intermediaries who help them to reach the most vulnerable and excluded.

We look forward to getting to know these social organisations well over the next few years as part of our growing SE-Assist portfolio of 36 organisations.  

We are proud that through our SE-Assist Fund we can offer social organisations affordable, flexible, repayable finance. This means that our investees can find new and better solutions for challenges within their local community, which results in stronger social organisations sustaining and growing their social impact on real people’s lives.