City Bridge Trust and UBS help London organisations step into social investment market with cash boost

Over £600,000 has been awarded to support charitable organisations across the capital looking to get their foot on the ladder of the social investment market.

The City of London Corporation’s charitable funder, City Bridge Trust, and UBS have awarded a total of £617,000 to 16 London organisations through the fourth round of the social investment programme Stepping Stones. This brings the total awards given to £2,802,100 to 65 organisations since the launch of the fund in 2015.

City Bridget Trust, which is London’s biggest independent grant giver, and UBS launched the Stepping Stones Fund over two years ago to support charities and social enterprises in London who want to access the social investment market. Funding helps organisations develop their ideas, bring in new technical assistance and get products ready for market.

The latest round of grantees range from projects looking to protect the environment and tackle climate change to community initiatives designed to strengthen local employment skills and education.

One grantee, Naked House, is addressing London’s shortage of housing for low earners by working with under-used local authority-owned sites to build homes for local people.

Another, Pure Leapfrog, will help with the country’s transition to a low carbon economy by providing social investment, professional advice and information to community energy projects in the UK.

Alison Gowman, Chairman of City Bridge Trust, commented:

“We received a lot of interest in this round of funding, which really shows how the market is growing.

“We understand it takes hard work to develop a new market and the simple provision of capital is rarely enough to encourage the quality and diversity of product to emerge. This funding will allow charities to move forward with their visions and make substantial progress with their social investment initiatives.

“City Bridge Trust is committed to tackling disadvantage across the capital and making London a fairer and better place to live.”

Claire Hanratty, CEO of grantee Pure Leapfrog, added:

“With CBT’s support we will build a fund that underpins the growth of community energy in London.

“Renewable energy built and owned by communities delivers on the need for London to grow its renewable energy base and helps to address fuel poverty, which affects a significant portion of London’s population. Doing this through community groups also helps build resilient, connected communities.

The initiative is designed to support the GLA’s recently announced Environment, Fuel Poverty and Solar Strategies.”

The success of the Stepping Stones Fund is underpinned by a strong partnership between City Bridge Trust and UBS. It is an exciting and very effective combination of the Trust’s grant making expertise, and the skills and insights of UBS’ volunteers. The role that the non-profit and private sectors play in working towards the public good is ever more important when public finances are under pressure.

Nick Wright, Managing Director, Corporate Responsibility and Community Affairs at UBS said:

"Such collaboration and cross sector working is essential if we are to address the gap between the grant finance available to charitable organisations and the requirements needed to secure the first social investment.

“By improving understanding, capacity building, and making finance more accessible we hope not only to help support London’s voluntary, community and social enterprise sector organisations realise their potential, but also support the growth of the social investment market more broadly.

"The Stepping Stones portfolio is a powerful group of organisations. We wish them success and look forward to seeing the social impact brought about in their communities as a result of their work."

City Bridge Trust makes grants totalling around £20 million per year towards charitable activity benefitting Greater London.

The charitable funder has awarded more than 7,700 grants totalling over £370 million since it first began in 1995. It helps achieve the City Corporation’s aim of changing the lives of hundreds of thousands of Londoners

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Notes to editors:

Full list of grantees:

Age UK East London £45,000

Causeway Irish Housing Association £40,000

Family Action £46,000

Four Corners £37,000

Khulisa £28,500

London Play £20,000

London Youth Support Trust £10,000

Longfield Hall Trust £29,500

Migrant Helpline £45,000

Naked House £45,000

Pure Leapfrog £49,000

St Michaels Fellowship £39,000

Streets of Growth £49,000

Teens and Toodlers £40,000

Trees for Cities £45,000

Women’s Aid £49,000


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