Social investments

Social investments deliver our charitable objectives and contribute to JRF’s long-term purpose of a reduction in poverty and disadvantage.

Why we make social investments

Our social investments achieve a direct social impact (such as affordable homes, employment, low cost finance, affordable energy) and an expectation that the money can be returned, so it can be invested again. JRF’s definition of poverty is when a person’s resources are not sufficient to meet their basic needs, which includes the need to be part of society. Our social investments help solve poverty.

As a society, we believe that supporting each other is the right thing to do. To that end, since 2015, JRF has been making social investments that contribute to our vision, for a prosperous UK without poverty.

Current portfolio

At 31.12.2019 we have committed around £10 million to social investments. We have made direct investments into charities and social enterprises such as Glasgow Together, Fair For You, Timewise and RefuAid. We have made investments into specialist funds such as Big Issue Invest and the North East Social Enterprise Fund. We have backed affordable housing in the form of the London Community Land Trust and the National Homelessness Property Fund.

Our largest social investment is a £3m commitment to the Fair by Design Venture Fund. This is a fund, managed by Ascension Ventures, which directly invests in early stage ventures that are aimed at eliminating the poverty premium. This is where people in poverty pay more for the same goods or services than others do. Our co-investors in Fair by Design include Big Society Capital, Social Tech Trust, Comic Relief and Barrow Cadbury.

Alongside the Venture Fund is the Fair by Design Campaign, which is managed by Barrow Cadbury Trust and is supported by a range of grant funders including JRF. The Campaign works with government, regulators, business and the social justice sector to design out the poverty premium and raise awareness amongst the public to bring about change.

A full list of our social investments can be found below.

JRF Social investments (committed funds) at December 2019
Name Description

Size of investment (£)

Affordable Housing
National Homelessness Property Fund £44m national fund to buy property to house formerly homeless people with the support of St Mungos Broadway 500,000
London Community Land Trust £0.45m of development funds for affordable homes in London 100,000
Funding Affordable Homes £44m fund to fund affordable housing and other social purpose property 500,000
York Refugee Housing £0.5m direct investment to purchase homes for refugees in York 500,000

Hartlepool Housing Heroes

A loan to purchase and renovate a house for care leavers to refurbish and live in 75,000
ACH £0.5m fund to purchase houses and flats for refugees in Birmingham


Total 1,875,000
Social Impact Funds
North East Social Investment Fund £10.2m fund to invest in charities and social enterprises in North East England 500,000
Big Issue Invest SEIF II £22.4m fund to support growth of social enterprises nationally 500,000
Bridges Evergreen Fund £50m fund to hold long term investments in established mission led organisations 500,000

Mustard Seed

A managed account to invest in for-profit social businesses tackling UK poverty


Fair by Design

£10m+ fund managed by Ascension Ventures to invest in solutions addressing the poverty premium 3,000,000
Total 5,000,000
Financial Inclusion
Leeds Credit Union Subordinated debt to underpin the capital base of this major Yorkshire based credit union 250,000
Fair For You Charity providing loans for white goods and essential household items, as an alternative to high cost rent to buy 500,000
Fair Finance Support for personal microloans in London 130,000

Five Lamps

Funding as part of a £5m investment raise to help the North East based micro-lender expand its operations across the UK

Bristol Credit Union To provide long term patient funds to underpin growth of the credit union’s savings and loans service into underserved areas



A flexible revolving credit facility to support Moneyline’s seasonal cash flow and further extend its provision of affordable loans


Total 2,230,000
Other social investments
Shared Lives Development funding for replication of shared lives schemes nationally 350,000
Glasgow Together £2m charity bond to purchase land and derelict property for renovation by ex offenders 250,000
Timewise Growth capital to enable this flexible working consultancy to expand 250,000
RefuAid Supporting access to licensing or training for refugees in the UK 210,000
Total 1,060,000

For more information on social investment, please contact Jonathan Levy at [email protected]