Our 'UK regional and national spotlight' campaign focuses on ‘Place’, spotlighting the power of social investment from each and every corner of the UK. Today, we’re spotlighting the North West... 

The North West of England, known for its dynamic cities like Manchester and Liverpool and the serene Lake District, is a blend of cultural richness and community spirit. This region, pivotal in the industrial revolution, continues to foster innovation and cohesion. 

In this blog, we spotlight the North West's remarkable social investment stories. From food-based organisations to vibrant music, these initiatives showcase how social investment is shaping a brighter and more inclusive future in the North West. 

Case studies 

One of the best ways to learn more about social investment and how it can be used is through examples. Good Finance has 115 case studies and counting – here we spotlight just five recent stories from the North West... 

Projekts Manchester 

Projekts MCR is a skatepark and community development organisation in Manchester that provides a space for young people and their families to enjoy skateboarding, meet and connect with others, and access wider social support. It’s one of the largest outdoor, concrete skateparks in the UK. Discover how social investment has helped them to increase attendance three-fold, while growing the proportion of female skaters from 1% to over 24% via our brand-new case study. 

Homebaked Bakery 

Homebaked Bakery, based in Liverpool, is more than just a bakery; it's a community landmark. They revitalised a derelict building into a thriving bakery and community hub, using a blend of grants and loans. Discover their story of transformation and community engagement in our case study

Inner City Music 

Inner City Music, the driving force behind Manchester's iconic Band on the Wall venue, champions the city's vibrant music scene. They secured vital finance to expand and enhance their cultural impact. Learn how Inner City Music is fostering musical talent and enriching Manchester's cultural landscape in their case study. 

Collaborative Women 

Collaborative Women in the North West empowers women through collaboration and creativity. They've made significant strides in supporting women's growth and development, backed by social investment. Dive into their case study to see how they're making a positive impact on women's lives. 

Kendal Mountain Events Ltd

Kendal Mountain Events Ltd, located in the picturesque town of Kendal, hosts the renowned Kendal Mountain Festival. They've used social investment to scale their event, attracting outdoor enthusiasts globally. Explore how Kendal Mountain Events Ltd is bringing together communities through adventure and storytelling in their full case study. 

Festive Campaign

Check out our Case Study Mapper and filter by the North West to view all of the case studies we have from organisations that have harnessed the power of social investment in the region. 

Have you got a social investment story to tell? We’d love to spotlight more examples of social investment in action in the South East to support organisations that are currently exploring repayable finance. You can submit your experiences online here, alternatively email aconstable@goodfinance.org.uk to arrange content collection.

North West: Must-Reads 

What is Match Funding and How it Can Double Your Money 

Discover the power of match funding in our latest blog. Match funding is a way to amplify your fundraising efforts, where every pound you raise is matched by an external source. This approach can be a game-changer for community projects, turning spaces like parks and libraries into vibrant, community-owned hubs. Learn how projects like The Raven Inn in Cheshire, successfully harnessed match funding to double their financial resources and impact. Dive into our blog for insights and real-life success stories. 

What is the Recipe for Social Investment Success? 

In 2021, our festive campaign was entitled 'Festive Feasts' and we explored 12 top tips from Social Enterprises and Charities that have ‘been there’, ‘done that’ and ‘got the T-shirt’ when it comes to securing social investment. Interestingly, this blog featured many organisations from the North West, including Farm Urban, Homebaked Bakery, The Brick in Wigan and Open Kitchen in Manchester - so read today to explore the full recipe for social investment success! 

Highlights from Good Finance Live

Good Finance’s Project Manager, Ishita Ranjan, shares her highlights and reflections from Good Finance Live held in Manchester in 2019 in partnership with GMCVO. Catch up now via the blog! 

North West: Watch and Listen 

Let's Talk Good Finance: Manchester 

In the 'Let's Talk Good Finance: Manchester' podcast, delve into engaging conversations about social investment in Manchester. This episode features insightful discussions with local social enterprises and charities, shedding light on how they are utilising social investment for impactful community development. Tune in to gain valuable perspectives from Manchester's vibrant social investment scene. 

A Changing World: Steam Hubs and Pubs CIC

In this episode, which is part of our 'Changing World' series,  hear from Craig Thomas of Steam Hubs and Pubs CIC - a live music community pub that braved taking on repayable finance as the Covid-19 pandemic hit....yes, their investor thought they were ambitious too! Listen now to discover how lockdown truly transformed The Old Abbey Tap House into the community pub it always aspired to be.

Walk the Plank

At Let's Talk Good Finance in Salford, Alexis Johnson from charity Walk the Plank talks about their experience of taking on social investment via a bridging loan from the Arts Impact Fund. Listen to hear what it involved as well as the opportunities and challenges they have faced to be more sustainable in the long-term.

FRC Group share their thoughts & experiences of social investment

Shaun Doran, CEO FRC Group, shares the good, bad and ugly story of their road to social investment. FRC Group used social investment to tackle furniture poverty.

Gorton Monastery

Find out how social investment from The Architectural Heritage Fund helped Elaine and Paul Griffiths put Gorton Monastery back at the heart of their community in Manchester. A case study video looking at social investment in action!

Let's Talk Good Finance: Greater Manchester 

in 2020, we held a virtual Let's Talk Good Finance event with GM BAME Social Enterprise Network. Watch now, on demand, to catch up on the event and to hear directly from leaders in the region on their 'Warts-and-All' journey of social investment.  

Spotlight on: John Haines, Director and CEO at Projekts Manchester 

Projekts Manchester are a skatepark and community development organisation based in Manchester and they were featured in the case study section above.

Having been able to visit and have a go at skateboarding ourselves in May 2023, we were delighted to capture the case study and catch up with John, on his experiences of social investment. You can also hear directly from John, as he was a 'Hear from a Peer' speaker at our recent Let's Talk Good Finance: Sport for Social Impact event, which is now available on demand. 

What social impact does your organisation deliver?

Projekts MCR aims to improve lives through skateboarding and is focused on giving as many people as possible the opportunity to learn to skateboard. We do this in part through our skatepark facility in Manchester city centre, offering classes for a range of groups who have traditionally struggled to take part in skateboarding - women and girls, people experiencing social deprivation, people with physical and mental disabilities - and in part through our schools progamme that reaches hundreds of children a week in areas across Greater Manchester. 

Projekts supports skateboarders in other ways, too. We offer training, volunteer opportunities and employment opportunities and are currently employing around 25 skateboarders in coaching roles, cafe and reception roles, social media, administration and promotion. 

How did you first come to hear about social investment?

I think I first came across the social investment in 2014/15 through a group called Locality. At the time, we were considering expanding the skatepark and I was looking for avenues to secure funding and social investment kept popping up. It wasn't a very appealing proposition at first but three or four years later it turned out to be crucial in helping us grow.

What was the process like for you from start to finish?

I remember it being a complex process, far more so than a standard funding application. Social investment relies upon having a sound business plan as well as a secure, sustainable financial position in the present. In our case, the social investment was just one source of project funding among many and all were to some degree dependent on the others to ensure the capital project could succeed.

It felt a little like trying to hit a moving target since the work involved in developing the project and securing the funds had a real financial impact on the organisation. There was a real pressure to move quickly and get everything in place but with limited resources that can be extremely difficult. For example, one potential investor who assessed our business plan and financial position at the beginning of the development planning stage had given us an in-principle offer but a year or so later when we went back to try and secure the finance, they reassessed our position, saw that we were making losses and felt it was too high risk to invest and we were forced to look elsewhere, which delayed the project further.

What has the social investment enabled your organisation to do?

Social investment enabled Projekts to make significant improvements to its facility, increasing its capacity, creating new income streams, and making it more attractive to potential customers. We have a wonderful new cafe, more skate space and a much larger spectator area overlooking the skatepark ramps. Not only has it helped us achieve our core social aims, but we've also succeeded in creating one of the most beautiful, visually striking skateparks in the world. 

That’s a wrap for today! We are delighted to celebrate the social investment space in the North West, and we know this is just tip of the iceberg in terms of all the fantastic activity that is happening.

If we’ve missed anything or you’d like to chat to us about featuring more content based in the North West on Good Finance, please email aconstable@goodfinance.org.uk and we’d love to chat further! 

Have a browse off various regional and national spotlight's across the UK!

- Spotlight series: West Midlands 

- Spotlight series: East Midlands

- Spotlight series: South West

- Spotlight series: South East

- Spotlight series: London

- Spotlight series: Scotland

- Spotlight series: Yorkshire and Humber

- Spotlight series: East England 

- Spotlight series: North East

- Spotlight series: Northern Ireland 

- Spotlight series: Wales