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Welcome to SCRT's October 2016 bulletin focusing on social finance; social investment and social banking. JOIN US...If you are interested in our work then why not join our 150+ members and take out SCRT free membership or associate membership. 
Good Money Week 2016 (see below) starts on Sunday and it got me thinking about Social Investment and getting the balance right between 'social' returns and 'financial' returns. If investors are investing purely on the grounds of large financial returns then there is a danger that the whole third sector will be viewed as a new asset class ripe for exploitation. However, if investors invest purely for social returns - then is it just philanthropy by another name. The introduction of 30% Social Investment Tax Relief (SITR) that social investments can attract must be utilised to ensure that rates of interest stay affordable for the sector. For more on this subject see the BSC story below.

New Community Bank opens in Edinburgh
Edinburgh has a new Community Bank - Castle Community Bank. The bank was created from the merger of two Credit Unions. It operates on mutual principles so it is fully owned by its customers who become members when they open an account. It has no shareholders and therefore pays no shareholder dividends. The bank is regulated by the FCA and the PRA and operates the Financial Services Compensation Scheme and it offers savings and loan products.
This good news comes on the back of a recent report that challenges the reasons banks make for closing high street banks and in particular the assumption that high street banks are not profitable...Read More

 

Social Investment Scotland celebrates it's Fifteenth birthday
Since it was established in 2001, Social Investment Scotland has distributed £53m in social investment to 237 Scottish organisations across Scotland.  A lot has changed in the sector in those fifteen years but two issues stand out - firstly the way the sector is financed connected to the emergence of social investment and secondly the procurement and public sector reform agendas. Both of these continue to shape the way in which the third sector is evolving, not least the thorny issue of delivering public services.  Innovation should be welcomed but like any all new ideas, it can be a double edged sword unless we assess it critically and make it work for the sector. (See Civil Society story below). Congratulations to Social Investment Scotland (SIS) on it's fifteenth birthday...Read More

     2016 Good Money Week - 30th October - 5th November
Good Money Week starts on Sunday. The focus of this annual event is to ensure that everyone is aware of the social, sustainable and ethical options that are available to them when it comes to making financial decisions.  Good Money Week brings together individuals, financial advisers, financial institutions, charities, faith, community and student groups to raise awareness of the importance of sustainable and ethical investment and finance. SCRT wants to see all the people and organisations in the third sector do something good with its money by reinvesting it back into our communities. The sooner we all start doing 'good' with our money the sooner we change the world...Read More

A social investor or a friend - What is a social investor?
Continuing the theme on the motivations and role of social investors, this article seeks to define the relationship between social investors and social enterprises. It argues that social investors should not be concerned purely with getting a financial return but neither should it be used to alleviate their consciences. Equally organisations should recognise that social investors are not just cash cows. Instead  social investors should act in a way that has the mission and needs of the charity at heart. To do that they need to be nurtured by the charity so they genuinely understand what it is about. In this way the relationship and aspirations of both parties are strengthen. Of course SCRT would argue if the social investor was actually part of the third sector, eg a third sector organisation or one of its employee/trustees or volunteers then that understanding is there from the outset making social investment work better for both parties....Read More

Lords warn about the dangers of contracts and the rise of mega charities.
In the last few weeks two members of the House of Lords have raised concerns about developments within the voluntary sector, in particular the rise of mega charities and the implications for organisations of public service contracts. Lord Kerslake cites the increasingly 'contractualised' relationship between the parties and the damage it is doing to the sector's ability to influence government policy. In 2000/01 the government spend £10bn on the voluntary sector split 50/50 between grants and contracts. In 2010/11 the amount spend was £13bn but the split was £2bn grants and £11bn contracts. Whereas Lord Hodgson, who knows the sector better than most because of his involvement with three government voluntary sector reviews, questions the ability of large national charities to respond to local issues and if they operate without volunteers can they even be called 'charities'. Although most of these observations are based on developments down south, they should perhaps act as a canary down the mine to the sector in Scotland.

       Investing in People, Planet, Prosperity and Partners
SCRT, along with other organisations had the privilege to hear about Oikocredit - a worldwide social investing pioneer and co-operative that celebrated its 40th anniversary last year. Oikocredit’s UK & Ireland director, Monica Middleton was in Edinburgh for a series of meetings setting out her 2020 aspiration for the UK to grow its contribution of investment capital to 10% of the Oikocredit total. She believes: “that Scotland can play a key role in achieving this, through its strong socially aware networks”.  Oikocredit has become a unique worldwide network of more than 51,000 investors. Together they have enabled Oikocredit to place over €2 billion in 1,670 social enterprise partners, reaching some of the most financially excluded people in the world (particularly women and rural communities)...Read More

Copyright © 2016 Scottish Community Re-Investment Trust, All rights reserved.


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