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 South East...
The South East of England is like a treasure chest full of stories, from the rolling hills where sheep graze to the busy streets of its towns. It's a place where history meets the future. Famous writers like Jane Austen and Charles Dickens found their inspiration here, and today, it's a lively area full of new ideas and adventures.
This region isn't just about its beautiful places or its past. It's also home to amazing projects that help people in many ways. From community energy to vibrant record labels, these projects are all about making the South East an even better place to live.
In this blog, we focus on all of the content we have from the South East to spotlight and celebrate all the fantastic social investment activity that we have captured there over the years.
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 six stories from the South East...
Wolverton Community Energy
Wolverton Community Energy are based in Milton Keynes. They develop and manage community-owned solar PV and supply greener, cheaper solar energy to local businesses, the majority of which are charities and social enterprises. Read more about their journey with social investment via our case-study.
InHouse Records is the world's first fully functionally record label launched in prison. As a label for change, their mission is to see safer communities, fewer victims of crime and rehabilitation and employment for ex-offenders with a focus on dignity and aspiration. Check out their full case study to learn more.
Readipop is an innovative music and arts charity with a strong reputation for inspirational, engaging arts projects that make a positive difference in people's lives. They provide access to music for vulnerable young people from hard-to-reach areas, including young offenders, the long-term unemployed, Special Educational Needs students, individuals from pupil referral units, and those who are not able to access conventional education.
Trust Links is a local independent charity for wellbeing and mental health based in South East Essex. Here's how a secured loan from Charity Bank helped them take on a community asset to grow their services and saving them from having to rent another premises. You can also listen to the podcast, to hear from CEO Matthew King on their 'Warts and all' journey of social investment, via our Podcast Channel.
Acorn Early Years Foundation
With now 13 nurseries across 3 countries, the Acorn Early Years Foundation continues to grow it's mission in inspiring and leading the early childhood sector. Creating change through four levels, the child, the family the community and the natural environment. Read through their case-study.
Furniture is a furniture re-use charity that supports lower income families. They used social investment to buy their own premises. With a permanent base, they can now run their business selling second-hand furniture and provide emergency support to those that need it most in their community. Read the full case study here.
Check out our Case Study Mapper and filter by the South East 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 email@example.com to arrange content collection.
South East Must-Reads
We also have various blogs, media and news from the South East that help to provide a place-based perspective on the region. From guest blogs and opinion pieces to interviews with investees, here’s three must-reads...
What is Match Funding and How it Can Double Your Money
Uncover the secrets of match funding and its power to boost community projects in our blog 'What is Match Funding and How it Can Double Your Money'. Learn how this approach can help local groups turn places like parks and libraries into community-owned spaces, with fascinating case studies like East Boldre Community Stores, in Hampshire.
Building Back Greener: How Two Community Organisations Used Social Investment to Help The Planet
Explore the inspiring journeys of two community organisations in our blog 'Building Back Greener'. Discover how these community organisations are using social investment to combat climate change and make a real difference in their local areas. Learn from their experiences and see how social investment can be a powerful tool for environmental projects, and check out the Good Finance Energy Resilience Hub for more information.
The Generation Medics Story
Dive into the remarkable story of Generation Medics in our blog, 'The Generation Medics Story'. Learn how Dr. Rafique and her team are transforming healthcare careers through innovative and inclusive programs. Discover their journey through the pandemic, their unique approach to funding, and their impactful work in supporting aspiring healthcare professionals.
South East: Listen and Watch
Over the years, we've ran various events, both in-person and online and captured some of our amazing 'Hear From a Peer' speakers as they reflect on their experiences with social investment. We also have over 75 Podcasts, all of which are available to listen to via the streaming service of your choice. Here's our pick for the South East...
Celebrating Changemakers: Greater Change
Listen to the first of our 'Celebrating Changemakers' podcast series, in conversation with Jonathan Tan. Jonathan is CEO of Greater Change, a Community Interest Company that helps individuals to become free of homelessness. The organisation is based in Oxford, and they took on social investment to grow and scale the impact they deliver and expand into other areas.
Celebrating Changemakers: ThinkForward
In this episode of the Celebrating Changemakers podcast series, join Ashley McCaul, CEO of ThinkForward, as she delves into how their charity is empowering young people for the workforce. Discover ThinkForward's unique approach to long-term coaching, skill development, and employability activities, and learn about their impactful use of social investment to support and inspire the youth in Kent and other areas.
Let's Talk Good Finance Brighton
Explore social investment insights with Kayla Ente from Brighton & Hove Energy Services Cooperative in the 'Let's Talk Good Finance Brighton' podcast. Also featuring Mark Parsons from NatWest Social and Community Capital, discussing social investment and its practical use for community organisations.
Let's Talk Good Finance Oxford
Listen in as Paul Roberts, CEO of Aspire Oxford, discusses the impactful role of social investment in the 'Let's Talk Good Finance Oxford' podcast. He shares how Aspire Oxford is utilising this tool to create more job opportunities for individuals who encounter barriers to employment.
Spotlight on: John Murray, Senior Lending Manager and Green Investment Lead at Charity Bank
Charity Bank is a savings and loans bank with a mission to use money for good.
We caught up with Senior Lending Manager, John Murray, on his thoughts and reflections from 2023 along with hopes for the future and his festive 'favourites'....
What has been your highlight for 2023?
Visting Social Enterprises and Charities and seeing the great work that they do first hand.
What would be your #1 tip for a charity or social enterprise at the very start of their journey with social investment?
Engage with sector support organisations - Good Finance – Hear from a Peer sessions and Locality, if you can - attend a sector conference to see Social Enterprise in action.
What’s one myth that you hear about social investment that you’d like to debunk once and for all?
That social investment is the same as high street banking. In my view we are more impact focused, responsive, and supportive.
Is there anything specific about the social investment space in the South East you’d like to mention?
From my experience of South East and social enterprise – the people there are hardworking, engaging, down to earth and resilient.
What are your key objectives and goals for 2024?
To provide blended funding for energy efficiency improvements.
What do you think will be your biggest challenge(s) for 2024 and beyond?
Supporting charities and social organisations that are navigating an array of challenges at present. I feel that I am up for the challenge!
What is one hope that you have for the future of social investment?
That we develop a broader range of funding and support to the sector
What’s one hope you have for the future in general?
Continuous growth and wider development of social enterprise and the charity sector
What is your favourite Festive song? Festive film? Festive food?
The Pogues featuring Kirsty MacColl – Fairytale of New York, Elf, Roast dinner with all the trimmings
That’s a wrap for today! We are delighted to celebrate the social investment space in the South East, 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 South East on Good Finance, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’d love to chat further!
Catch-up on the areas we've already spotlighted...
Have a browse off various regional and national spotlight's across the UK!
- Spotlight series: East Midlands
- Spotlight series: South West
- Spotlight series: London
- Spotlight series: North West
- Spotlight series: Scotland
- Spotlight series: Yorkshire and Humber
- Spotlight series: East England
- Spotlight series: North East
- Spotlight series: Northern Ireland
- Spotlight series: Wales