Liverpool city region social businesses share almost £1m

An organisation funded by Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram is investing almost £1m in 22 ‘socially-trading organisations’ across Liverpool city region. Tony McDonough reports

Cycle of Life
Ibe Hayter, founder of Cycle of Life


Liverpool city region ‘social economy lender’ Kindred is investing almost a £1m in 22 socially-trading organisations (STOs).

And STO is a commercially trading businesses that also aims to deliver social benefits for the local community. There are around 1,300 such organisations in the city region generating an estimated £2.9bn a year and employing more than 50,000 people.

Funded by Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram and Power to Change, Kindred’s mission is to support these businesses. It lends between £10,000 and £70,000 at a time, interest free. percentage of the investment can also be repaid in social repayments, by calculating the social value of each organisation’s work.

Kindred has now committed to invest £495,500 in its first 14 STOs and discussions are under way about a further £455,000 with another eight first-round STOs. The money aims to increase the impact of these organisations that create huge social value, but struggle to attract conventional investment.

Based on detailed research, Seebohm Hill estimates that in 2019 a total of £11.3m was invested in 43 social organisations. Estimates by the Kindred team of unmet demand for social investment across the region indicate 740 organisations in need of £35m. Among the beneficiaries of the latest round of funding are:

  • Grow Wellbeing builds confidence and resilience in nature through a programme of forest schools, horticulturalists, educators, artists and nature therapists.
  • SHOP is a new approach to adult social care, helping older people strengthen their independence at home, following a hospital stay or illness.
  • Cycle of Life removes barriers to active transport delivering community cycle rides, repair workshops and maintenance training with a focus on marginalised communities.
  • Future Yard uses music to create a cultural ecosystem and opportunities for young people, and will be the UK’s first carbon-neutral grassroots music venue.
  • Beautiful New Beginnings supports parents to become the primary educators in their child’s life, with a blended business model helping families across the globe.
  • Café Laziz is a pioneering pop-up café in St Helens, building skills and confidence for refugees and asylum seekers.

Kindred also encourages those who receive investment to collaborate with each other, rather than compete, as its wider aim is to create a fairer local economy. Cycle of Life founder Ibe Hayter, said: “The innovative, social impact-focused terms of the loan will enable us to reach new markets and provide long term sustainability.”

Beautiful New Beginnings
Beautiful New Beginnings supports parents to become the primary educators in their child’s life


Helen Heap has conducted research into LCR’s social economy with the University of Liverpool’s Heseltine Institute. She is deputy chair of Kindred’s Board, and said: “Kindred offers an innovative approach to funding and supporting socially trading organisations.

“By working in partnership with STOs to co-design the terms on which money and support is provided, including recognising social return and sharing risk and reward, Kindred enables STOs to play their full part in delivering social and economic impact.”

The 22 organisations are all experiencing growth. 64% of Kindred’s community have developed a new product or service as a result of COVID-19, whilst 67% have also collaborated as a result of their involvement in Kindred, responding to need in their communities.

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