Leila Sharland, Resonance Senior Investment Manager loves investing in innovative social enterprises and here she talks about the exciting progress of the second Health & Wellbeing Challenge Fund (South West), despite the challenges of the pandemic.
The original Health & Wellbeing Challenge Fund (HWCF) provided investments totalling £3.5m to pioneering social enterprises seeking to scale their impact in the health and wellbeing space. Investments were made into 32 exciting and innovative social enterprises, making a significant difference in their communities. You can read about many of them in our social impact report released at the end of 2020.
My colleague Tom Crook and myself were delighted when the National Lotteries Communities Fund and Big Society Capital agreed to provide a follow-on investment fund of £1.2m in Summer 2020. We have been privileged to work with so many exceptional social enterprises over the past five years, so the opportunity to continue that work was an amazing prospect.
Of course, none of us saw COVID-19 on the horizon or could have anticipated the devastation caused to so many. Nor how social enterprises would, against all odds, step up to help those in need and fill gaps where provision was lacking. The Fund was able to provide emergency grants and investments to help our investees continue to work in those tough times. Having the facility of this new funding too, was a huge benefit. It meant that despite the pandemic, we could still respond to the needs of growing social enterprises.
We have until January 2022 to deploy the second fund and can work with a wider range of enterprise with the expansion from the original geography of Cornwall, Devon and Somerset, to include Dorset, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, Bristol and Bath. One year in and we are already 50% deployed in a range of health and wellbeing focused social enterprises, so encourage anyone interested not to wait to get in touch.
Two examples of our most recent investments are Good Boost and MiMe Heuristics, whose stories I am sharing.
GOOD BOOST is a social enterprise that provides affordable and accessible therapeutic exercise programmes, through cutting-edge technology. Their rehabilitation programmes are designed to be beneficial and fun for people with a wide range of musculoskeletal conditions, including arthritis and back pain. Their mission is to better treat, manage and prevent musculoskeletal conditions through world-leading technology, transforming any place into a therapeutic space. ‘We want everyone to love looking after their musculoskeletal health by moving more, having fun and feeling better.’ The HWCF 2 invested £150,000 into Good Boost to help them continue to deliver their swimming-pool specialist tablets to public pools and to further develop their new mobile phone-based apps, which are accessible to everyone on-land or in the water. Read more about Good Boost.
MiMe HEURISTICS - Have taken £150,000 of HWCF 2 investment to launch a new school for children and young people with social, emotional, and mental health needs. Located on the outskirts of Exeter, The Wildings, caters for a small number of pupils at any one time. At the Wildings, they aim to connect with the young people and their families that join their community and help to build resilience within them that will prepare them for a happy and successful life. They are committed to helping young people shift from a pathway of poor functioning to a pathway of recovery and growth. Their vision is for young people and their families to feel they belong to a safe and supportive community that is built on positive connections and enables us all to thrive. Read more about MiMe Heuristics.
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