The Connect Fund

The Connect Fund has been set up to strengthen the social investment market in England to better meet the needs of charities and social enterprises.  

The fund provides grants to develop shared infrastructure resources for a market that supports mission. The Connect Fund supports tools, partnerships and initiatives that advance a more open and accessible social investment market.

What is the Connect Fund?

The Connect Fund, previously known as the “Social Investment Infrastructure Fund” is a £3 million fund  that the Barrow Cadbury Trust manages in partnership with Access – the Foundation for Social Investment. The fund supports intermediaries and infrastructure organisations to make social investment work better for a wider range of charities and social enterprises.

The Connect Fund seeks to build a better social investment market by:

  • Improving the connection of social investment to charities and social enterprises
  • Connecting existing voluntary sector infrastructure organisations to the social investment market
  • Better connecting social investment intermediaries through shared data and resources

Our latest funding dashboards provide a snapshot of the proposals we received in our first funding round and second funding round.

What funding is available?

The Connect Fund provides grants and may consider selected investments:

  1. Feasibility grants to test approaches for sectors or places to engage with social investment to explore models of enterprise-driven funding solutions via voluntary sector infrastructure, networks, community foundations or membership bodies.
  2. Grants to address gaps in the architecture of the social investment market. The fund seeks proposals that will foster collaborative, open source solutions for shared benefit. The fund will support a range of organisations with initiatives that include, but are not limited to, themes of: data management; skill development; sector networks; or other shared resource solutions.

You can view the launch event presentation to learn more about the Connect Fund.

Who Can Apply and Timescales

  • Please note:  funding rounds are currently closed.

An initial expression of interest (EOI) was held in June 2017 for grants to address gaps in the infrastructure of the social investment market in England. This funded shared initiatives proposed by fund managers, advisors, brokers, interest groups, or organisations working or engaging with the social investment sector.

A second EOI was held in November 2017 to test approaches for sectors or places to engage with social investment via voluntary sector infrastructure, community foundations or membership bodies.


Further Information

Please sign up to our newsletter, ‘The Connection’,  follow us on Twitter, or contact us to register your interest in future funding rounds.

The Connect Fund is not intended for frontline charities or social enterprises working directly with beneficiaries. If you would like more general information about social investment please see Good Finance. For programme grant funding, please refer to the main Barrow Cadbury Trust website.

The Connect Fund is recruiting!  We are currently recruiting for an Assistant Director and a Programme Officer.  If you would like to receive updates about the Connect Fund please email Jessica Brown to have your name added to the mailing list.

The Connect Fund Manager is Jessica Brown.  You can email her directly with questions relating to your application or submission to the fund.