Mersey social businesses urged to grab a slice of remaining £1.8m from £4m fund

Liverpool city region-based First Ark Social Investment launched the £4m Invest for Impact fund 18 months ago and so far it has allocated £2.2m to social businesses in the region. Tony McDonough reports

First Ark Social Investment still has £1.8m remaining out of its £4m fund for social businesses


There is still £1.8m remaining of a £4m fund for social businesses and organisations that are working to inspire positive change in local communities.

Liverpool city region-based First Ark Social Investment launched the Invest for Impact fund 18 months ago. It is backed by the Big Lottery Fund and Big Society Capital.

So far, £2.2m of funding has been allocated with six organisations sharing £800,000 from the latest round of funding applications. They are:

  • The Rare Trust, a performing arts school in Liverpool
  • Liverpool Lighthouse Limited, an urban gospel music and arts centre
  • Raise the Youth Foundation CIC, a specialist youth and education provider in Bolton
  • Manchester Community Solicitors CIC, a not for profit law firm which provides legal advice to those on lower incomes
  • Changing Lives in Cheshire, a social enterprise devoted to improving the lives of local residents
  • Birkenhead Gymnastics Academy, a British Gymnastics affiliated club

The Rare Trust, currently operating from Wood Street in Liverpool city centre, will be using its investment to expand into a new premises and provide a much-needed update to its facilities.

Liverpool Lighthouse is using its investment to refurbish its multi-purpose venue on Oakfield Road in Anfield in order to be able to continue delivering the projects they offer and also provide more services.

Social businesses, social enterprises, not-for-profit bodies and charities are being encouraged to apply before the next round of applications will be approved in mid-January.

Social organisations that feel they need some support to be investment-ready can apply for the Reach Fund.

The funds are available as ‘blended capital’, a mix of grants and loans, and FASI also provide support to applicants throughout the whole process.

Hannah Jones, group head of investment at First Ark, said:Invest for Impact is about enabling social organisations to do more of what they do best, delivering positive change in communities across the North West.

“This is a significant moment as we cross the halfway mark in terms of the investment funding and I want to encourage any social organisation that is thinking of expanding to get in touch.

“Businesses can apply for up to £150,000 which, as we have already seen, can make a huge difference to those organisations and the communities that they work in.”

Anyone interested in speaking to First Ark Social Investment about funding opportunities for their social organisation should call 0800 464 0797 or visit


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