In September 2016 the Department for Communities consulted on 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.”

In seeking to promote financial sustainability in the VCS support offered on investment readiness was recognised as relevant in any future programme. 

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 with the key aims to:

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

The pilot ran until March 2017 and comprised of three phases:

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

It was recognised 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 put together a toolkit of high quality existing resources. This toolkit allows 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.

Organisations can still access the How 'investment ready' are you? self-assessment tool here. 

Through the pilot programme PwC provided 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 the time;
  • 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.

If you would like more information about the pilot programme please contact James Elliott at

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