Leila Sharland and Tom Crook, Resonance investment managers, manage the social investment fund the Health & Wellbeing Challenge Fund, which has invested nearly £3m into social enterprises across the south west since 2017. Here they describe their first ‘virtual’ marketplace event showcasing the Fund investees.
Every year Resonance holds a celebration ‘marketplace’ event, bringing together the social enterprises that have received investment from the Fund and the organizations that invested, namely The National Lottery Community Fund, Big Society Capital (both via The Access Foundation) and the South West Academic Health Science Network.
Like so many gatherings across the world, the 2020 event was moved to a ‘virtual’ platform due to COVID-19 restrictions. And after an extremely tough year for all, it was decided to host the event in the first week back after Christmas, kicking off the year with a ‘feel good’ celebration of the achievements of the social enterprises.
One of the highlights of the get-together was the opportunity for the social enterprises to hear from the panel of investors. They were able to share their experiences of what had been an incredibly difficult trading year, as well as offer some guidance and encouragement.
Following the panel, were two break-out sessions, ‘Pivoting Impact with Changing Delivery’ – where Dartmoor Community Kitchen and YMCA Plymouth shared how they have adapted their ways of working for COVID-19 with the end-user impact in mind; and ‘Growing Through Challenging Time’ – three enterprises that have grown in 2020 - Co-Cars, BH Support and MiMe Heuristics, explained how they had done so and their future plans.
Rosanna Mead, Founding Director of Musica Music and Wellbeing, shared her thoughts on the event: “I really enjoyed attending Resonance's impact celebration event. In times like this it's even more important that we celebrate the sector and the ways that social enterprises and charities are still reaching their mission. I found it incredibly valuable to hear from the panel, the investors in the fund, about their thoughts on the current climate and the impact on the voluntary sector, this was hugely insightful. Likewise, the breakout rooms provided a great opportunity to connect with other social entrepreneurs and funders, to share our own current experiences, successes and challenges. Shining through was the importance for us to focus on our mission, adapt and flex to the current climate in order to still keep fulfilling that mission. For me, and I know for many others, Resonance's impact celebration event gave us that little boost we need right now!”
After the breakout sessions we gave a short presentation revealing the impact being delivered by the social enterprises (to Mar 2020) as well as the statistics around the Fund itself, including the amount invested, number of enterprises, geographic distribution etc., (to Jul 2020). All of this can be found in the Health & Wellbeing Social Impact Report 2020.
To wrap it up, we handed out award certificates to the social enterprises for their key achievements for the year.
Leila said of the event: “I was delighted how many people took the time out of their busy week to attend the event. In normal times, this is always a very popular event that everyone enjoys. It is so positive and gives our social enterprises a chance to showcase their work and it is a great opportunity for them to network with their peers. Often opportunities come out of the conversations had at these events, so we were thrilled to be able to offer many of these benefits in the new online format.”
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Resonance Impact Investment Limited, a subsidiary of Resonance Limited, is authorized and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Firm number 588462.
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