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 West Midlands... 

The West Midlands is often referred to as ‘The heart of England’ due to its geographic location and the likes of William Shakespeare, J R R Tolkien and Ozzy Osbourne once called this place home. Its metropolitan nature makes it the second most populous county in England after Greater London and the region played a vital role as an epicentre of technological advancements in the industrial revolution. 

In this blog, we focus on all of the content we have from the West Midlands to spotlight and celebrate all the fantastic social investment activity that we have captured there over the years. 

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 West Midlands...

Burley Gate Community Shop and Post Office

Burley Gate Community Shop raised money from the local community using Social Investment Tax Relief (SITR) to ensure they continued to have a village shop after the existing one was closed due to the owner retirement. Read more about their experiences with social investment via the full case study. 

Kidsgrove Sports Centre 

Kidsgrove Sports Centre Community Group is a CIO set up to save and then re-open Kidsgrove Sports Centre. With an unsecured loan from Sporting Capital, they were able to purchase gym and fitness equipment, which has helped them to attract over 45,000 visitors annually. Check out their full case study to learn more. 

Miss Macaroon

Producing over 2.5 million tasty macaroons inn 50 different flavours, Miss Macaroon has helped improve the lives of 82 people, all aged 18 - 35 years old, over the past decade. Read more about how they used social investment from BCRS Business Loans to grow and scale the business. 

Gro-Organic CIC

Citizen Coaching and Counselling took on social investment to meet the challenge of both, the rising number and the increasing complexity of clients who are presenting to them in need of their services. Read more about the solution and impact of this social finance via the full case study. 

Contento Homes

Contento Social Homes exists to improve the support for survivors of domestic abuse and their children by providing safe accommodation and skills to improve their wellbeing. Learn more about how Blended Finance from Social Investment Business enabled them to purchase a property which offered security of tenure. 

West Midlands - Case Studies

Check out our Case Study Mapper and filter by West Midlands 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 West Midlands 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. 

West Midlands Must-Reads 

We also have various blogs, media and news from the West Midlands 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...

Using Social Investment to Scale 

“For those interested in gaining social investment putting a strong business plan together is key.”

Sage advice from Rosie Gindhay, CEO and Founder at Miss Macaroon for anyone interested in exploring social investment. Read the full blog to explore more about how their organisation were able to use repayable finance to scale the impact they deliver for the local community. 

Let’s keep talking Good Finance: Guest blog from Dudley CVS 

In this guest post, Becky Pickin, Group Development Officer at Dudley CVS, shares her thoughts and reflections following the recent Let's Talk Good Finance: Risk, Resilience and Social Investment event! Read now to catch-up on her key takeaways on social investment... 

A regional spotlight on the Midlands

We have also previously celebrated the social investment activity in this area via our spotlight on the midlands blog. This piece spotlights organisations in the wider region, including Innovating Minds CIC, which is Birmingham-based and offers early trauma informed psychological support in schools and the wider community.

West Midlands - Blogs

West Midlands 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 West Midlands...

Listen on the Go: Let’s Talk Good Finance: Coventry

This podcast was created in Coventry and hosted by Social Enterprise UK West Midlands. Listen now to hear from our guest speaker, Keith Foster of Bethel Church, as he shares how the church used social investment to support their services to the local community.

Listen on the Go: Hidden Voices: Eidgah Academy

In this podcast, Murium shares how social investment enabled her to take the next steps with her organisation - furthering the social mission and providing vital services to young people in Perry Barr, Birmingham. You can also read the full case study, here.

Spotlight on: Development for Social Enterprise CIC

When it comes to knowledge on social investment, infrastructure and support organisations in the local area play a vital role in sharing information, signposting to tools / resources and connecting organisations who might be right for social investment with those that can help them with next steps. 

Development in Social Enterprise (DISE) is a specialist social enterprise consultancy which provides bespoke business, enterprise and development support to Voluntary, Community and the Social Enterprise sectors (VCSE). They are based in Solihull, but their services are available nationally. 

We caught up with Chief Executive, Dave Lane, on his reflections on 2023 and hopes for 2024 and beyond...

What’s the social investment space like in your region? 

There was a real lull during Covid and the latter part of last year which has been slowly improving. There is quite a lot of investment available, and more organisations are starting to consider it now that they’ve come through the Covid challenge. They are looking at alternative ways to build greater resilience and improve trading for longer-term sustainability and to ensure similar shocks can be managed. There is still though, a lack of understanding (often at Board level) and a fear of debt particularly in small to medium social enterprises and charities which tend to be the ones who need additional support. Some of these have found it difficult to gain Reach funding to support them to explore social investment and become investment ready.

What has been your highlight for 2023?  

It’s been a very interesting year. A highlight for me is work we delivered in Calderdale with the borough Council. They had a supported employment manufacturing unit that faced closure. We worked with a variety stakeholders to develop a viable transformational plan which gained Cabinet approval late 2022. We supported the council and team to transform the manufacturing unit to introduce new products and services. Seeing c. 20 jobs saved (many who have learning disabilities) and a real fire and entrepreneurial spirit in staff to succeed has been a very positive experience, both for us as a support organisation, but also for the team and Council itself.

Do you have any standout examples or experiences that you think demonstrate the resilience of the charity / social enterprise sector?  

Alongside my day job, I’m the chair of Spitfire Advice and Support Services (Birmingham) which also runs a swimming facility and an upcycling subsidiary. Times have been challenging with the cost of living crisis. Families have been falling into more dept, many have long Covid, and more have fell into poverty. This has increased the demand for its services twofold. Staff and volunteers have risen to this challenge adapting services, creating a warm hub and a community café (the meeting place). The organisation itself has had significant challenges too, not least with energy prices at their swimming baths where they’ve really been felt, trustees and staff have been determined to work hard to ensure these facilities remain open for local residents, schools and local clubs. It’s very tiring at times, but they keep going and keep finding solutions to real challenges, because they’re committed to relieving hardship in their local community. 

What would be your #1 tip for a charity or social enterprise for 2024 and beyond?

Ensure you are led by mission and the needs of your community, build your reserves, and manage your finances well, and perhaps above all, build and trust your team.  

What are your key objectives and goals for 2024? 

•    To build our organisation back to previous levels of work.
•    To advocate for social infrastructure support to be embedded in local/ regional development.
•    To contribute to the region’s commitment to doubling the social economy.
•    To strengthen existing local enterprise.
•    To create new sustainable social enterprises.
•    To develop true partnerships with like-minded organisations.

What do you think will be your biggest challenge(s) for 2024 and beyond?

Ensuring social enterprise is a model Government (national and local) understand and supports with positive economic and social value policy and practice. 

What is one hope that you have for the future for your local area? 

That the community will achieve a greater level of local decision making and gain increased control of their local resources.

What’s one hope you have for the future in general?

Peace and a sustainable planet.  

What is your favourite Festive song?

Fairy Tale of New York.

That’s a wrap for today! We are delighted to celebrate the social investment space in West Midlands, 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 West Midlands 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: South East

- Spotlight series: London

- Spotlight series: South West

- Spotlight series: Scotland

- Spotlight series: North West

- Spotlight series: Yorkshire and Humber

- Spotlight series: East England 

- Spotlight series: North East

- Spotlight series: Northern Ireland 

- Spotlight series: Wales

- Spotlight series: East Midlands