Swinney scores with Social Growth Fund at Spartans

Posted on 10/05/2014 by


john swinney at the spartans2

John Swinney launches new £16 million fund at Spartans

Cabinet Secretary John Swinney and Social Investment Scotland (SIS) visited The Spartans Community Football Academy on Thursday to formally announce the launch of a new £16m Social Growth Fund.

The Social Growth Fund, run by Social Investment Scotland (SIS), brings together an investment of £8m from the Scottish Government and a further £8m from Big Society Capital, the independent financial institution set up to develop social investment in the UK.

SIS is using the fund to expand existing investment activity within Scotland’s third sector, and to launch a new risk capital product for the Scottish social investment marketplace. This will provide long-term finance from £10,000 to £1m with repayments tailored to each organisation’s needs.

Alastair Davis, chief executive of SIS, said the new fund will enable it to provide considerably more support to social enterprises and community businesses across Scotland.

He said: “This funding support will in turn help these local organisations improve the lives of people within their communities by making them much more self-sufficient and sustainable.”

John Swinney said Spartans, which currently receives SIS support, is a good example of how this kind of funding works to better communities.

The Cabinet Secretary said: “I am delighted that the new Social Growth Fund for Scotland is now open for applications. This is an exciting opportunity for third sector organisations in Scotland, allowing them to continue their vital work within our local communities.

“Today I have seen the great work that has been achieved by the Spartans Community Football Academy in the local area, with police and youth groups noting a huge reduction in call outs and antisocial behaviour. The facilities here at Spartans show what can be done with the type of funding the Social Growth Fund will provide.

“Through schemes such as this, social enterprises will be able to have a greater role going forward, bringing more benefits to the communities they serve.”

In tandem with this new funding, SIS has also launched a Great Social Enterprise Tour – visiting five cities in five days next week – to raise awareness of the Social Growth Fund amongst local social enterprises across Scotland. The events will provide social enterprises with a chance to speak directly to an investment manager about how social investment can support the sustainability of their business.

Monday 12 May – Glasgow: The Lighthouse, 10am till 12pm

Tuesday 13 May – Edinburgh: Out Of The Blue, 10.30am till 12.30pm

Wednesday 14 May – Inverness: The Spectrum Centre, 1 – 3pm

Thursday 15 May – Aberdeen: Transition Extreme, 12.30 – 2.30pm

Friday 16 May – Dundee: The Factory Skatepark – 12.30pm till 2.30pm.

Alastair Davis, Chief Executive of Social Investment Scotland, added: “The Social Growth Fund will enable us to provide considerably more support to social enterprises and community businesses across Scotland. This funding support will in turn help these local organisations improve the lives of people within their communities by making them much more self-sufficient and sustainable.

“However, we also recognise that applying for funding can be a daunting prospect for many organisations, as it frequently represents a change in the way they do business, moving from grant dependency to a mix of income streams. Our Great Social Enterprise Tour is aimed at addressing this uncertainty by providing social enterprises with the answers they need to start moving their organisations on to the next level to create longer lasting social impacts.”

Nick O’Donohoe, Chief Executive of Big Society Capital, added: “Social Investment Scotland is a leading example of how regional social finance managers can play an important role in helping charities and social enterprises to access social investment, through their deep knowledge of the needs and challenges of a local area. They have an exceptional track record of delivering social investment support to organisations in Scotland, and we are pleased to have been able to help them to continue doing this.”

Big Society Capital’s investment in Social Investment Scotland is the first of its kind in Scotland since its formation last year, and will increase Social Investment Scotland’s funds under management by a third. It is the largest investment in SIS for twelve years and the largest ever investment by an external organisation.

Organisations who are looking for investment should call a member of SIS’ investment team on 0131 558 7706 to discuss possible funding or support.


Case Study: Spartans Community Football Academy

The Spartans Community Football Academy is a social enterprise and charity located at Ainslie Park in North Edinburgh which uses sport to deliver social change. Their local community includes some of the most deprived post codes in Scotland. With support from Social Investment Scotland, the Spartans have invested £4.5m in the last 5 years to build first class facilities and services which generate commercial income, the profits from which are re-invested to deliver their charitable objectives.

In the past 15 months, Spartans business has continued to grow, enabling them to increase their social impact. Some recent highlights are:

  • Delivery of 1000+ hours of youth work based provision in 2013, including the Friday FooTEA club, where young people can enjoy a ‘hot meal’, take part in various activities and develop/grow at their own pace (a model which has been rolled-out & replicated elsewhere across the country)
  • Delivery of 850+ physical activity and coaching sessions in local schools in 2013, helping them to meet their 2 hours of PE target per week
  • Creation of 4 x Homework Clubs – using a ‘Game of 2 Halves’ model – in local primary schools, helping local schools to increase academic attainment levels
  • Over 1200 sign-ups for our community coaching programmes in 2013, catering for recreational -> elite players
  • Over 100,000 users of our range of Academy facilities in 2013
  • Runner up in the Scottish Social Enterprise of the Year 2013 awards