Launch of Local Access Bradford District
10 June 2022 - Imran Ali

Launch of Local Access Bradford District marks another chapter in Bradford’s ongoing legacy of social innovation

Local Access Bradford District (LABD) has brought together a diverse partnership of social and business leaders to imagine and create a social investment loan fund to support the VCSE sector and improve the lives of people in Bradford. Organisations representing social investment, enterprise support, corporates, social enterprises and local communities – including Impact Hub Bradford CIC, Key Fund, City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council, University of Bradford, Inspired Neighbourhoods, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Airedale Enterprises and OnTrak – have pooled their talents to create an inclusive and collaborative partnership with the district’s citizens to tackle its biggest challenges and create a culture of social innovation.

In 2019 Access (The Foundation for Social Investment) and Big Society Capital invited twelve cities to submit proposals to their ten-year £33m programme of support for charities and social enterprises. Together, a consortium of Bradford organisations led by Impact Hub Bradford CIC developed a concept and proposal that led to the city’s selection, unlocking £6.6m of funding to build resilience and provoke social innovation. This initiative is now launching as Local Access Bradford District, providing a foundation for social innovation in Bradford in the coming decade.

In April 2019, the consortium published a concept paper on the role of Bradford district as a “lab for social innovation”, followed by a detailed proposal in December of that year. This opened a period of consultation and codesign – extending through 2020 and 2021 – across the district, listening to communities, responding to their needs, and developing a deeply collaborative proposal shaped by the future beneficiaries of the partnership.

Some of the highlights of this codesign process included a series of public Codesigning Social Impact workshops on:

  • Values, inviting the city’s communities and organisations to collectively shape the partnership’s values, needs and ambitions.
  • Governance: bringing communities together to designing the governance model, principles and structures of the partnership.
  • Define a Social Enterprise Support Programme, exploring investment models and ethical finance.

The partnership will be focussing on supporting organisations, which have investable ideas, to move along the pathway to investment with three main interventions…

  • Introductory workshops – Presenting potential investees and VCSEs with the investment products on offer.
  • Training programmes – Business support & equipping organisations with the skills to grow and build their ideas.
  • Grants – Resources for organisations needing support to take the final steps on their investment journey.

With a blended investment offer, the partnership has looked to build on Key Fund’s knowledge and expertise of the products that might be needed by the target market of organisations, including:

  • Short-term overdraft style products, to support short-term cash-flow needs of organisations
  • Larger investment to fund organisations to purchase capital assets
  • Sharia-compliant and certified products offering repayable finance
  • Working capital products to support early-stage organisations

Ultimately, the partnership’s vision for the programme is that by 2030, Bradford district is…

  • An inclusive investment ecosystem for social innovation
  • A dynamic, compassionate and inclusive ecosystem of support for social enterprise
  • A destination for social innovation and enterprise, that kick starts social innovation.
  • Proactively and inclusively enables people, communities, organisations and institutions to grow existing or new ventures to better tackle our current and future societal challenges, such as COVID-19 recovery and climate change.

The Chair of Inspired Neighbourhoods Lucy Mairs said:

“This investment of £6 million in Bradford District will provide a much-needed support to VCSE sector organisations.  This work will significantly contribute towards delivering high impact aligned with City of Culture Bid, Bradford Economic Strategy and Sustainable growth.”

Kamran Rashid, CEO of Impact Hub Bradford, said he is:

“excited to secure this investment and now pass the baton to Inspired Neighbourhoods who will support the partnership to deliver the programme and change lives.”

Anyone interested in finding out more about the programme can contact Local Access Bradford District at:

Notes to Editors

  • The delivery partners include Key Fund delivering blended finance and sharia-complaint products; Bradford District Community Foundation delivering investment readiness grants; University of Bradford delivering learning, development and evaluation, Airedale Enterprise Services delivering enterprise support; Impact Hub Bradford delivering investment readiness support and market development and Inspired Neighbourhoods as programme managers.
  • Tasif Khan Boxing Academy, The Khidmat Centre, the Race Equality Network and Scholemoor Beacon are represented respectively by Tasif Khan, Sofia Buncy, Humma Nizami and Susan Moreland as community organisations on the Partnership Board.

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About Big Society Capital

Big Society Capital exists to improve the lives of people in the UK through social impact investing. We unite ideas, expertise and capital to create investment solutions for the UK’s social challenges, supporting organisations that deliver both positive social impact and sustainable financial returns. So far, we have helped channel £2.2 billion* into investments tackling a wide range of problems such as homelessness, mental ill health and childhood obesity.

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About Access

Access – The Foundation for Social Investment works to make charities and social enterprises in England more financially resilient and self-reliant, so that they can sustain or increase their impact. Access does this by supporting the development of enterprise activity to grow and diversify income, and improving access to the social investment which can help stimulate that enterprise activity.

Access is a ten year spend-down foundation, but the need for this work will continue well beyond that. So the approach of the Foundation is to work through others to create partnerships which can outlive us, test and learn from new approaches, and generate knowledge which improves the work of others seeking the same goals. Set up in 2015, Access was endowed with £60 million by the Government to support more organisations to access social investment. It also runs the Growth Fund, a blended finance programme supporting small scale lending to the sector, on behalf of the National Lottery Community Fund and Big Society Capital. Over the last three years Access has received a further £40m of funds from dormant bank accounts to develop blended finance programmes in six communities around England and support the sector recover from the pandemic.

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