Social investment

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

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.

Why we make social investment

Our approach is to Research, Demonstrate and Influence. We research to understand the causes of poverty. We demonstrate by supporting the solutions identified by our research. We then influence, based on our research and demonstration findings, taking our findings to policy makers and the wider public. Our social investments fit firmly into the middle of this strategy, demonstrating solutions to poverty.

Current portfolio

At 31.12.2017 we have committed £10,975,000 to social investment. We have made direct investments into charities and social enterprises such as Glasgow Together, Fair for You and Our Power. We have made investments into specialist funds such as Big Issue Invest and the North East Social Enterprise Fund. We backed affordable housing in the form of the London Community Land Trust and the National Homelessness Property Fund.

Our most significant social investment is our £3m commitment to the Fair by Design Venture Programme. This is a fund, managed by Ascension Ventures, which directly invests in for-profit businesses, social enterprises and charities that are aiming to solve the poverty premium. This is where people in poverty pay more for the same goods or services than others do. We have invested alongside other founder investors Big Society Capital and Nominet Trust in this fund. It has a target size of £15m.

Alongside the Venture Programme is the Change Programme. This aims to take the findings from the investments in the fund, and turn them into advocacy and policy change recommendations. Initial research work at JRF is now being taken forward in an independent programme managed by Barrow Cadbury Trust and supported by a range of grant funders including JRF. The Change Programme will become fully operational in 2018. 

A full list of our investments can be found below.

JRF Social Investments (committed funds) at 31.12.2017
Name Description

Size of investment (£)

Affordable Housing
National Homelessness Property Fund £30m+ national fund to buy property to house formerly homeless people with St Mungos Broadway 500,000
Affordable Homes Rental Fund £5.2m fund for affordable rental property for community land trusts 500,000
London Community Land Trust £0.45m of development funds for the London CLT for affordable homes in London 100,000
Salamanca Funding Affordable Homes £44m fund, target size £200m to fund affordable housing and other social purpose property 500,000
York Refugee Housing £0.5m to purchase houses for refugees in York 500,000

Hartlepool Housing Heroes

A 25 year loan to purchase and renovate a house for care leavers to refurbish and live in 75,000

Hartlepool Refugee Housing

£0.5m to purchase houses for refugees in Hartlepool

Ashley Community Housing £0.2m-£0.5m to fund ACH to purchase houses and flats for refugees in Birmingham


Total 3,175,000
Social Impact Funds
North East Social Investment Fund £12m fund to invest in charities and social enterprises in North East 500,000
Big Issue Invest SEIF II £20m fund to support growth of social enterprises nationally 500,000
Bridges Evergreen Fund £20m+ fund to hold long term investments in charities and social enterprises 500,000

Mustard Seed

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


Fair by Design - making life affordable

JRF with Big Society Capital and Nominet Trust to solve the poverty premium, £15m fund target managed by Ascension Ventures 3,000,000
Total 5,000,000
Financial Exclusion
Leeds Credit Union Subordinated debt to underpin the capital base of this major Yorkshire based credit union 250,000
Fair for You Charity to provide loans for white goods and beds, as an alternative to high cost rent to buy 500,000
Fair Finance Personal Loans Support for personal microloans in London 130,000

Five Lamps

Funds towards a £5m investment raise to help grow the leading North East based micro-lender expand its operations across the UK

Fair Finance Business Loans Support for microbusiness loans 50,000
Street UK Investment to loan portfolio (repaid in full) 250,000
Total 1,680,000
Other social investments
Shared Lives Development funding for replication of shared lives schemes nationally 350,000
Our Power Provision of affordable energy 500,000
Project Snowball Collective management of social investments across trusts and foundations creating a pooled fund 20,000
Glasgow Together Charity Bond £2m bond to purchase land and derelict property for renovation by ex offenders 250,000
Total 1,120,000
Total Social Investment Portfolio 10,975,000

Interested in social investment?

For more information on social investment, visit the Good Finance website. This includes background information, case studies and a list of advisors and providers of social investment. If you feel your proposal fits our anti-poverty mission directly contact our Head of Social Investment, Danyal Sattar.