Social Investment Business publish learnings from Futurebuilders England Fund

11 August 2020

Social Investment Business (SIB) and its Social Economy Data Lab (SEDL), with support from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), have today published the data and learnings from the £142m Futurebuilders England Fund.

Futurebuilders England was a ground-breaking, Government-backed social investment fund that provided loan financing to social sector organisations in England to help them bid for, win, and deliver public service contracts. Created in 2004, Futurebuilders was the first social investment fund in the UK and SIB has been running the Fund since 2008.

The analysis of the Futurebuilders portfolio has provided answers to longstanding questions around ‘what makes social investment work’ in the form of three key messages:

  1. Patience: the average loan length was 13.9 years, with longer loan terms corresponding to higher returns.
  2. Flexibility: financial and non-financial variations were applied to a significant number of investments, representing the long-term commitment to supporting investees through difficult times.
  3. Investing where most in need: with over 40% of investment going to the 20% most deprived areas in the country, ensuring social impact objectives remain at the heart of social investment decision-making.

Alongside these key messages, there are six further key lessons presented in the learnings, covering the areas of employment, financial performance and financial returns, and subsidy, risk, and affordability.

Nick Temple, Chief Executive at SIB, said:

 “We are delighted to publish the learnings from Futurebuilders England after many months of hard work from the data team at SIB. We believe Futurebuilders has been a success, and provides a useful model to guide the future of repayable finance for the social economy. If we want to build stronger, more resilient organisations that help create fairer local economies, improve and increase employment, and shape connected community spaces, then social investment should play a substantial and significant role in the recovery.”

Kirsten Mulcahy, Head of the Social Economy Data Lab at SIB, said: 

“The Futurebuilders data deep-dive showed us the enterprising nature of social sector organisations, and the importance of subsidy in social investment. But the data (and importantly, lack thereof) also highlighted gaps and areas of inequality within social investment, which we as a sector need to better understand and address. Informing these conversations is exactly why the Data Lab is so pleased to share the Futurebuilders learnings openly, and in detail. It is a step towards building the social investment evidence base, and the impetus needed to inform data-driven decisions on how to most effectively prioritise limited resources in support of those most vulnerable communities. Never has there been a more critical time, than during the current pandemic.”


You can read the Futurebuilders data and learnings in full via the microsite. You can also read our policy briefing, along with more in-depth analysis via our data pack here.

For further information, please contact:

Miranda Love

Marketing and Communications Lead

Social Investment Business


About Social Investment Business

Social Investment Business provides finance to create fairer communities and improve people’s lives. They do this by providing the money and support they need directly, partnering to support them effectively and, using their knowledge to inform their own work and influence others.  

Since 2004, SIB has deployed and managed over £400m of loans and grants into over 2,000 organisations and enabled almost 1,000 more to get dedicated support through programmes.

About the Social Economy Data Lab

The Social Economy Data Lab (SEDL) is Social Investment Business’ Data Lab. SEDL is a data resource for the social economy. SEDL’s core aim is to support the social economy to access and make better use of data to inform decisions.


CAN Logo
BSI ISO 9001 & UKAS Logo

The Social Investment Business is the trading name for the Social Investment Business Foundation, Registered Company No. 05777484 (England), Registered Charity No. 1117185 (England & Wales), The Social Investment Business Limited, Registered in England No. 06490609, VAT No. 927456693, Futurebuilders-England Limited, Registered in England No. 05066676 and Forward Enterprise FM Ltd, Registered in England No.11238102. Registered Office: CAN Mezzanine, Borough, 7-14 Great Dover Street, London, SE1 4YR.

We use cookies to improve your experience using this website. Learn more