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24 October 2023

Social enterprises and charities set to benefit from £4 million Cost of Living Fund

Social Investment Business has announced the Cost of Living Fund aimed at charities and social enterprises supporting people impacted by the cost-of-living crisis in the 30% most deprived areas of England.  

The announcement comes in the wake of The Institute of Government report showing that the poorer households in the UK are the worst affected by the cost-of-living crisis because they spend a higher share of their income on energy and food, the prices of which are increasing fastest. Multiple studies find that not being able to afford these essentials has wide-ranging negative impacts on mental and physical health and well-being.  

A survey conducted by Social Investment Business on behalf of the Social Investment Forum found that charities and social enterprises are facing a significant increase in demand for services such as mental health support, financial support, free meal provision and the creation of ‘warm banks’ for people to come to stay warm in the winter.  

Social Investment Business has designed the Cost-of-Living Fund (COLF) supported by Access – The Foundation for Social Investment, to provide grant funding alongside Recovery Loan Fund (RLF) loans to eligible charities and social enterprises. Organisations can only receive a COLF grant if they are successful in applying for a RLF loan. 

The blend of Cost-of-Living grant will range from £10k to £250k in size, and range from 20% to 50% of the value of the loan – this will be for organisations supporting people affected by the cost-of-living crisis, and enable them to:

  • Continue existing products or services
  • Increase the number of people supported
  • Launch new products or services
  • Improve the quality or efficiency of products and services.

The Recovery Loan Fund provides loans of £150k and £1.5m. The minimum loan size is reduced to £50k for BAME-led1 organisation or for organisations based in Wales and Scotland.  

“Charities and social enterprises were instrumental in supporting people in their communities through the pandemic. Once again, they are working on the front-line of an emergency response and need rapid funding to increase the number of people they can support. The Cost-of-Living Fund will help to fulfil some of this need at a critical time as household food and energy costs remain high as we head into the winter.” 

Rob Benfield – Director of Grants and Investments – Social Investment Business 

“Access is very pleased to make a grant award to Social Investment Business from our Cost-of-Living programme. The programme aims to get rapid finance to work to support impactful and enterprising charities and social enterprises addressing cost of living issues in communities, and we feel that the Recovery Loan Fund will be a great route to achieve that aim.”  

Greg Woolley – Programme Manager – Access – The Foundation For Social Investment 

How to apply 

Further details, including full eligibility criteria, product details and FAQs, visit: