LCR Social Investment Pathfinder

“Liverpool City Region has all the ingredients to be the UK’s Social Investment Pathfinder, leveraging the contribution of social businesses to wider economic and social development. This is something that we should all seek to support” said Lord Victor Adebowale at the launch of the Commission for Social Investment in 2022.

And now, organisations including Fusion 21, Livv, Kindred, Capacity Lab, Power to Change, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and the city’s educational institutions are collaborating to create a ‘social investment pathfinder’. It’s designed to use social investment to foster economic growth, stimulate innovation and create positive social impact across Liverpool City Region, transforming our communities by funding dynamic, grassroots development from businesses with social value at their heart.

The programme builds on the city region’s recent Social Enterprise Place accreditation, which recognises that social enterprise is thriving here. The city region is the first to become a Social Enterprise Place, demonstrating a history of community-led housing and urban regeneration, focusing on heritage, social issues, affordable housing and local job creation.

Kindred started with £5m to support social businesses in Liverpool City Region, but the ambition now is to work with partners to build it to £50m. It brings together national and local investment, broadening the types of money available for socially-trading organisations, from those starting out to those scaling up. 

It will:

  • Put people at the heart of economic development, redirecting wealth back into local economies
  • Boost social businesses, creating 4,500 jobs directly – with at least 2,250 of these in underserved areas
  • Make the most of the region’s community asset transfer model to drive responsible, sustainable growth in our communities
  • Transform social investment by reducing barriers for underserved groups

It places social value at the heart of development and is designed to transform our social economy, transform our communities and level up Liverpool City Region. Lord Adebowale has agreed to become the Pathfinder’s patron and Joanne Anderson is driving the project. 

An element of the Pathfinder includes community property ownership to enable STOs’ growth. Research by the Heseltine Institute proposes a Liverpool City Region Asset Holding Company, to support diverse asset contributions, funding sources, the integration of social value and alignment with local policies, as lack of access to suitable property hinders social organisations. Asset transfer keeps money otherwise spent on rent in the local economy, allowing STOs to expand and make sure that they’re not forced out of the communities they serve.

The ingredients to create a blueprint for success – the right people, property, money and governance – are aligned.