Why places matter – driving investment into places across the UK

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This post was authored by the Impact Investing Institute.

Our place programme champions investment that helps to deliver positive change in underinvested places around the UK. Our Senior Programme Manager, Shadi Brazell, talks in this brief audio clip about why she is so obsessed with places and the power of money to improve people’s lives. 

The Institute’s place-based impact investing programme has four key areas:  

Investor engagement

We are ramping up communications with institutional investors to raise awareness of the opportunities presented by a place-based impact investing approach. In doing so, we hope to encourage more private capital to be invested in the UK’s underinvested towns, cities and regions to improve people’s lives. We convene meetings for investors, conduct surveys, feature pioneering case studies and work to grow the evidence base for place-based impact investing.  

Building coalitions in places

We want to bring investors and communities together to create opportunities for mutual learning and to raise awareness of place-based impact investing.  

We are working with Wakefield Council in the North of England in a pilot project that will help the council to build a prospectus of local investment opportunities that can facilitate engagement with investors and attract more institutional capital.  

We are also partnering with Involve, one of the UK’s leading participation charities, on a research project to identify what good community engagement by investors looks like, and how the sector can improve in this area.  

We are also convening a Place Coalition – an impressive group of voices from across finance, healthcare, local government, housing and the voluntary sector to help guide our work.  

Place-based impact investing is important because people and places are important.

Shadi Brazell, Senior Programme Manager

Supporting Community Development Finance Institutions (CDFIs)

CDFIs are hugely impactful local non-bank lenders serving people, businesses and social enterprises across the UK, which cannot get the finance they need from banks. We are working with the sector to design a financing vehicle that will enable institutional capital to flow into CDIs and move new capital into different regions and towns in the UK. The Institute is leading a Working Group including Big Society Capital, representatives of the CDFI sector, Government representatives, mainstream investors and banks. 

Building policy-making expertise

We continue to engage with policymakers, Government agencies and regulators to raise awareness of the opportunities of place-based impact investing and offer expert advice. 

Place-based impact investing are investments made with the intention to yield appropriate risk-adjusted financial returns as well as positive local impact, with a focus on addressing the needs of specific places to enhance local economic resilience, prosperity and sustainable development.

The Good Economy