Triodos raises Social Impact Bond for new social enterprise

Triodos raises Social Impact Bond for new social enterprise
Charity Times, Andrew Holt

Ethical investment group Triodos Bank announced it has arranged the initial funding for Bristol Together, a social enterprise that supports a programme of job creation for ex-offenders in Bristol.

Triodos acted as lead advisors for the initial fundraising from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and a private individual, successfully securing a £600,000 investment to purchase and renovate empty properties in Bristol.

The investment will allow Bristol Together to buy empty, sub-standard properties.

These properties will then be fully repaired and refurbished.

Over the next five years the social enterprise expects to create full-time jobs for over 200 of some of the most excluded people in and around Bristol.

Bristol Together will partner with social enterprises, such as the Restore Trust and Aspire. The enterprises will employ the ex-offenders and the long-term unemployed to repair and refurbish a range of several more properties.

The sale proceeds from developed properties will be utilised to acquire further properties in need of renovation – and thus create even more employment opportunities.

This endorsement of the Bristol Together concept by Esmée Fairbairn underpins the additional £1 million fundraising campaign planned to commence in Spring 2012, when a tax-efficient social impact bond will be offered to a selection of high net-worth individuals.

In time it is the intention of the directors of Bristol Together to replicate this model in other large UK cities.

Bristol Together began employing ex-offenders at the beginning of October, and has already won the award of ‘Social Business of the Year’ at the ClearlySo conference in London.

“We believe that this project will add-value to UK society as a whole – demonstrating the effectiveness of social impact bonds, and giving real assistance to vulnerable individuals in the Bristol area,” said Lydia Westmore, corporate finance manager, Triodos Bank.

“There is an urgent need to create jobs for ex-offenders” said Paul Harrod, founder and CEO of Bristol Together.

“The cost to the tax-payer of people reoffending is huge – but we have already proved that, given the right opportunity, we can help people leave their criminal past behind them, and develop their skills and employability. At the same time we are bringing empty property back into use."