West Midlands Police & Crime Commissioner invests in Resonance social enterprise fund, helping to deliver their crime prevention strategy

The Resonance West Midlands Social Investment Tax Relief Fund (WMSITR Fund), launched earlier this year, has just received a boost from the West Midlands Police & Crime Commissioner’s Office (WM PCC), which has agreed to invest £100,000 into the Fund, to help deliver the commitments made in its Police & Crime Plan 2016-2020.  Key priorities in this plan include creating opportunities for young people to realise their potential, tackling mental health issues and strengthening local communities through developing more active citizens and improving pathways to employment – the intention being to prevent crime and reduce re-offending.

The Resonance WMSITR Fund is dedicated to tackling poverty and disadvantage across the West Midlands, through investment in successful, high impact social enterprises. The Fund gives some types of investors the opportunity to generate a financial return and tax relief benefits (for individual investors only, not institutions such as the WM PCC), whilst investing in a diversified portfolio of businesses that are committed to bringing about positive social change for some of the most deprived communities in the region.

Resonance, which has over 16 years experience in this kind of social impact investment, has identified an initial £2m of investment need from a wide range of social enterprises in diverse sectors, which require investment to grow the social impact they can deliver. The investment from the WM PCC will play a crucial part in meeting this need, with the Fund currently on track to achieve its first investment close of around £1.5m at the end of July.  This investment will therefore not only help the WM PCC to achieve its own targeted strategy around crime prevention and reduced re-offending, but will also play a crucial role in catalysing other investors into action, with the aim of dismantling poverty across the region.

There are already a number of organizations seeking investment from the Fund whose own social impact strategies clearly align with that of the WM PCC.  One such is Jericho Foundation, which operates eight social enterprises in Birmingham creating supported training and employment opportunities for vulnerable groups – ranging from ex-offenders to survivors of human trafficking.  Another is Citizen Coaching which offers specialist counselling and anger management interventions, with a particular specialism in supporting young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Challenge Academy, another enterprise looking to scale its impact in the area, offers alternative education and employability interventions through outdoor challenge opportunities, and is already using their programmes to work with the youth offending service, young people facing exclusion from school, and back to work programmes.

Grace England, Investment Manager for the Fund, explains why this latest investment is so exciting:  “This investment is ground-breaking – the West Midlands PCC is now leading the way as the first PCC in the country to a make an investment into a social investment fund like this, which is committed to making a long term impact in the region. This shows not only the PCC’s innovative approach, but also a real commitment to deliver on what it’s set out to achieve in the region, by investing in local organisations already achieving brilliant outcomes in some of the region’s most deprived communities.”

David Jamieson, WM PCC explains why this approach makes sense for their strategy for crime prevention and reduced re-offending: “Giving young people the opportunities they deserve is crucial to reducing crime.

“By investing in social enterprises that help to get young people into work and away from crime we are making everyone safer.”

The Resonance West Midlands SITR Fund is accepting applications for investment from high impact social enterprises that are deliberately helping to dismantle poverty in the region and the Resonance team would be delighted to hear from them. Applications from individuals wishing to invest in the first close of the Fund will continue to be accepted until 31 July 2018, with the Fund continuing to raise investment on a quarterly basis after that.

For more information about the WMPCC please visit our website:  www.westmidlands-pcc.gov.uk/

For more information about SITR please visit the gov.uk website.