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.  Our vision is to facilitate the development of a strong, sustainable, collaborative community of social investment providers that work together to build a better market.  

What is the Connect Fund?

The Connect Fund, previously known as the “Social Investment Infrastructure Fund” is a £1.8 million fund for grants and investments 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
  • Better connecting social investment intermediaries through shared data and resources
  • Connecting existing voluntary sector infrastructure organisations to the social investment market

What funding is available?

The Connect Fund provides grants and will consider selected investments:

  1. Grants to address gaps in the infrastructure 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.
  2. Data gathering to evidence demand for investment required by existing social investment intermediaries. To enable them to increase capacity, effectiveness, grow their business or reach new markets, in ways that increases resilience and sustainability.
  3. 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, community foundations or membership bodies.

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

Who Can Apply and Timescales

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

Grant funding from the Connect Fund is intended for organisations operating in the social investment market in England. This might include fund managers, advisors, brokers, platforms, networks, interest groups, charities or social enterprises working or engaging with the social investment sector.

The Connect Fund first round of grant funding to address gaps in the infrastructure of the social investment market has now closed.

Further funding rounds will be held according to the table below:

If you are thinking of applying, please read our funding guidelines. The fund seeks proposals that will foster partnership, collaboration, and open source solutions for shared benefit in the social investment market in England.

How to Apply

Step 1: Complete a short online enquiry form.

Step 2: We will review all EOIs and get back to applicants following the close of the funding period.

Step 3: Selected applicants will be asked to submit a full application form.

Step 4: We will assess the full grant applications, and may ask you for further information.

Step 5: Final decisions will take place at the Barrow Cadbury Trust Investment Management Committee.

If, following submission of the initial enquiry form, you are invited to make a full application, the assessment and decision process may take up to four months.

Investment: Please complete our investment survey for existing social investment intermediaries to provide data on the type, amount, and purpose of funding required.

Further Information

If you would like to receive updates about the Connect Fund please email Sian Williams 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.

You can also follow The Connect Fund on Twitter.

A separate Connect Fund website is in development and will be live in Summer 2017.