The Department for Communities recently consulted on its ideas for future infrastructure support to the Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS). The proposed support was based on the vision:

“To support an efficient, effective, sustainable and inclusive VCS which will work collaboratively with Government to effectively deliver against agreed PfG [Programme for Government] outcomes over the next 4 years.” Department for Communities, A consultation paper on proposals for the provision of strategic support to the voluntary and community sector in Northern Ireland 2017-2021, September 2016

In an effort to pilot some action learning work in this area, the Department appointed PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC) and their subcontractor, Uscreates, to deliver and pilot an Investment Readiness Programme. The key aims of this Investment Readiness Programme are to:

  • Stimulate awareness of social finance and investment in the voluntary and community sector.
  • Help social enterprises and Third Sector Organisations (TSOs) assess their current investment readiness.
  • Drive demand among TSOs for social finance and investment.

The pilot will run until March 2017. It is comprised of three phases:

  1. Creating a self-assessment tool.
  2. Providing one-to-one support.
  3. Capturing insights from the pilot programme.

We recognise that there is much support information available around investment readiness and social finance. To help raise awareness of the support and guidance materials available and make it easier for organisations to access them we have put together a toolkit of high quality existing resources. This toolkit will allow organisations to determine their own investment readiness and provide them with links to the resources that are most relevant to the needs and issues identified as part of their self-assessment. You can access the How 'investment ready' are you? self-assessment tool here. 

Through the pilot programme PwC is providing one-to-one support to a number of organisations to address their development needs and help them to secure investment. The Department sought applications for one-to-one support from organisations who:

  • Had completed the self-assessment tool;
  • Were actively pursuing at least one investment opportunity at present;
  • Had no prior experience of securing investment;
  • Could demonstrate an organisational commitment to participating in the programme; and,
  • Required capability support to become investment ready.

Applications for this support have now closed. 

The pilot will run until March 2017 when PwC will report the findings and recommendations from the pilot to inform the development of a full Investment Readiness Programme.

If you would like more information about the pilot programme please contact Colette McCluskey at colette.mccluskey@communities-ni.gov.uk

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