As we enter the last month of what has been a joyful fiftieth year, we will be sharing interviews with our partners and peers in the responsible finance sector. Today we speak to Seb Elsworth, CEO of Access, the Foundation for Social Investment
“I joined Access in May 2015 and before that, I’d worked at Social Investment Business – I’ve been in the social investment sector for more than 10 years and have always known of ICOF as a kind of pioneer and long standing organisation, supporting community organisations.
The fact that ICOF are celebrating their 50th anniversary while others in the sector celebrate their 20th anniversary tells you a huge amount. They’ve been doing this work for so long, and the experience and depth of knowledge that that brings is really important to us.
In terms of the way we work together, Access is a wholesale funder of social investors. And what that means, outside of the jargon, is that we support a whole range of different social investment organisations and, particularly, we provide them with finance that enables them to offer products that are as suited as possible to what charities and social enterprises need, to enable them to take greater risk and really tailor their products to to the realities of our community organisations and their business models. So, for around a year, we’ve been funding ICOF through our flexible finance program in partnership with Co-operatives UK and their Community Shares Unit. This work is around supporting community organisations to access a combination of community shares and other finance that can meet their needs as well as possible.
Happy birthday to all at ICOF. It’s an amazing achievement to have been providing social investment to communities who need it for 50 years! Very best wishes for the next 50.”