By Roger Aitken — Social impact investment company Resonance that has pursued a mission over the last fifteen years to “connect capital with social enterprise”, has published the first annual social impact report for the Resonance Bristol SITR Fund. It is the first impact investment fund of its kind that uses Social Investment Tax Relief (SITR) to build a portfolio of investments into social enterprises in the region.
[Pictured above: the Future Fives Youth Council, representing the South Bristol Sports Centre, which was the first investment from the Fund. They presented their story to the investors at the marketplace event, at which the social impact report was first shared. Photo: Jon Craig]
The fund, which to date has raised £2.1m, is invested in by individuals, either directly or through their Independent Financial Advisor (IFA) or wealth manager.
They receive a tax benefit and financial return on their investment and can also see the tangible effects their investment is having on the complex roots of poverty in Bristol, the 7th largest city in England that is projected to see the number of residents increase by 10.5% to 473,000 by 2021 (from 2011’s figure). Around 16% (69,000) live in the 10% most deprived areas in England, including 17,800 children and 10,500 older people.
The first £900,000 invested during the first year from the £2.1m raised has been channelled into five social enterprises, all of which are described as “all very different” according to Resonance, whose team have expertise in community-led projects, homelessness, education, health, social care, criminal justice, agriculture and renewable energy.
The enterprises include South Bristol Sport Centre (with construction of six new five-a-side all-weather pitches reaching for young people in the city and used by 3,000-4,000 people a week); PAPER Arts (that has created 24 extended work opportunities); Bristol 24/7 (creating work experience and career opportunities); Bearpit Bristol (seeking to reducing antisocial and criminal activity); and, Chandos House, that helps people towards an alcohol and drug-free lifestyle.
While the investments from this first year of the Fund’s operation are quite recent, the report pointed out that all five social enterprises have “increased their social impact or have made steps towards doing so.”
Seventy investors, 10 wealth managers and IFAs (and their clients) have invested in the fund so far, with the composition of investors being 57% from Bristol or the surrounding area, 8% from the wider South-West region, and 25% from London and the South East.
Simon Chisholm, Resonance’s Investment Director, commenting in the wake of the 28-page report: “This is about real investment in enterprises that are intentionally setting out to address some of the most complex social issues we face. It’s about individuals deciding to put some of their investment portfolio to work for a good return, but also a purpose beyond that.”
He added: “We’re delighted with the evidence of how investment has already helped these amazing social enterprises to start scaling up their impact, and excited about what the Fund will be able to do with further investment it is seeking to raise over the coming year.”
The fund continues to raise investment roughly on a quarterly basis and is committed to investing in social enterprises in Bristol and the surrounding areas, for as Resonance remarked, “as long as there is a need for investment to help these organizations scale up their impact.”
Resonance, which has offices Bristol, Birmingham, Manchester, London and Launceston with around £150m under management across its seven operational impact investment funds, is understood to be already in “advanced discussions” with the next group of investees and many more social enterprises that are an early stage of development.
For more information about the social impact from the first year of the Resonance Bristol SITR Fund see