London - 2016

Social investment is designed help organisations increase their social impact. The provision of capital helps many social sector organisations deliver their services, grow and become more sustainable. Social investment is supporting economic growth, encouraging innovation in service delivery and enabling organisations to tackle some of the most difficult social challenges.


The UK Government has played a leading role in supporting the development of the social investment market. This includes:

  • Creating Big Society Capital, the world’s first independent wholesale social investment institution. By the end of 2015, Big Society Capital had invested £261m, matched by £322m from co-investors.
  • Launching the world’s first Social Investment Tax Relief, which is set to unlock £480m worth of investment over the next five years.
  • Launching the £70m Dementia Discovery Fund and the £7m Arts Impact Fund, two structured funds that combine public and private money to create positive social impact.
  • Creating Access, the foundation for social investment, in partnership with the Big Lottery Fund and Big Society Capital, which will provide capacity building support over the next decade. 
  • Incorporating social investment into the Government’s international GREAT Britain campaign, to promote the UK as the global hub for social economy and increase social investment into the UK.

The UK social investment market is now worth over £200m. It helps to support social enterprises that contribute over £55bn to the economy each year and employ over 2 million people.

Find out more about how the UK Government is supporting the development of the social investment market.


At NatWest, we aim to make a positive social impact in the communities where we live and work. That’s why we provide a range of support to businesses set up to tackle social problems.

In 1999 the bank set up its own charity, Social & Community Capital, to help fund social enterprises and community lenders that cannot access mainstream finance and to help them on their path to the financial mainstream. We also have a specialist Community Finance team that run partnerships that promote social enterprises across the UK – including the ground breaking NatWest SE100 index.

We aim to support social enterprises at every stage of the journey and are proud to support the Social Investment Awards.