Revealed: City Corporation’s social investments change thousands of lives across the UK

Disabled people, ex-offenders and people on the brink of homelessness are among thousands helped by a string of social investments over the last five years, figures reveal.

A report by the City of London Corporation’s Social Investment Fund shows its 20 investments, totalling nearly £13m since 2012, have helped marginalised people right across the UK, with particular successes in London.

Since 2012 it has achieved a return of 4.7%, exceeding its initial 2% target.

The City Corporation is the governing body of the Square Mile and a major public services provider for the capital.

Its Social Investment Fund invests in charitable bodies who access funding through social investment. These organisations have gone on to tackle some of the UK’s most pressing problems.

Social investments benefit society because they seek a social outcome as well as a healthy financial return.

They range from ethical investments which incorporate environmental and social factors when selected, to funding products which make a real difference to society by focussing on good causes, such as affordable housing for homeless people.

The City Corporation’s targeted investments have funded social schemes combatting rough sleeping, employing ex-offenders and improving access to public buildings for disabled people.

Its Social Investment Fund has spent over £5m London and £7m across the wider UK.

Peter Hewitt, Chairman of the City of London Corporation’s Social Investment Board, commented:

“We are extremely pleased to see such good results from the last five years’ work. We have had some really successful investments that have made a real difference to many lives.

“We are showing that by making socially responsible investments it is possible to have a positive social impact without compromising on financial returns.

“I am confident that over the coming years, increasing awareness of social impact investing will mean it will become a mainstream class of investment in the future.”

The City of London Corporation manages the £20m fund to support charitable organisations that want to access funding through social investment and to develop the social investment market in the UK

The City Corporation’s vision is for London to become the global hub of social investment, as a key driver of economic growth.

Case study 1: Ex-offenders

Around a quarter of people released from prison reoffend within a year of leaving custody.

The Fund has invested in two organisations which are both part of the Together housing group that operates in three regions across the UK.

The group’s model involves the construction or purchase and refurbishment of empty properties. Ex-offenders are employed full-time in each project and provided training and mentoring. Completed properties are then sold on, with the proceeds recycled to purchase additional properties.

Example - Glasgow Together

Following the Together model highlighted above, this organisation aims to develop 3-4 projects per year. In addition, it is also planning to begin work on a new build project employing a minimum of five people. In total it will work with 100 offenders and ex-offenders

To date, the project has purchased six properties and worked with 15 ex-offenders producing 997 client days.

Case study 2: Housing and homelessness

Access to affordable and specialist housing is limited in certain parts of the UK, leading to rising levels of homelessness.

The Fund has invested in eight organisations working in this sector. They are primarily targeting those in the greatest need and those who require additional support such as people with learning disabilities, people who were previously homeless, young adult carers, and vulnerable migrants.

These are groups who often cannot find suitable housing in the private rental sector.

Example - Real Lettings Property Fund

This Fund, a partnership with homelessness charity St Mungo’s, was developed in response to the lack of private rented accommodation accessible to rising numbers of people living in temporary accommodation or otherwise atrisk of homelessness in London.

To date, it has purchased 260 properties in London helping 650 tenants with ‘move on’ accommodation.

John Williams, Senior Investment Manager, Resonance Ltd, said:

“Resonance recently celebrated having housed 1,000 people who would otherwise be vulnerable to homelessness. This kind of result can only be achieved through the trust in our processes and commitment to support, shown by investors such as the City of London Corporation, who over the last four years have invested £2.5 million in our Affordable Homes Rental Fund, Real Lettings Property Fund and the National Homelessness Property Fund. Furthermore, we are very grateful that this support has given others the confidence to invest and we look forward to further partnership, bringing even more social impact.”


Report -

Notes to Editors

In addition, to help charities in Greater London access the social investment market, the City of London Corporation’s charitable funder, City Bridge Trust, established the Stepping Stones Fund in 2014, a grant programme supporting early stage enterprise ideas and building investment readiness. This programme is delivered in partnership with UBS.

Funding is now available for charitable organisations and social enterprises across London looking to get their foot on the ladder of the social investment market as the latest round of grants is now open for applications. For more information visit:

Kristina Drake| Media Officer, Public Services

City of London Corporation

M: 07710860884

D: 020 7332 1125