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Church of England invests £5.7 million in social projects

05 May 2023

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THE Church of England has invested £5.7 million in financially sustainable solutions to social challenges since 2020, the latest report from the Archbishops’ Council’s Social Impact Investment Programme shows.

The programme seeks to support social projects while generating returns that preserve the capital sum. The report explains that the aim is to achieve “impact first investing”, with an acceptance of higher risk complementing the more conservative investment strategy of the Church Commissioners.

In the foreword to the report, published on Wednesday, the chair of the Mission and Public Affairs Council, Mark Sheard, and the new chair of the Archbishops’ Council Finance Committee, Carl Hughes (News, 31 March), write: “It is vital as a Church that we continue to help in addressing housing need, continue to strengthen vulnerable communities and preserve the natural environment for future generations.”

The head of social-impact investment at the Archbishops’ Council, Vanessa Morphet, said that the Council was confident that the “capital will have a real, lasting impact where it counts most”.

Last year, the Archbishops’ Council pledged £2 million from the programme’s £25-million fund to support housing provision for vulnerable people (News, 1 November 2022).

The new report details three other investments, including a £1.6-million investment in Women In Safe Homes, a fund that buys houses and leases them to charities that provide refuge for women and children.

A total of £2.1 million has been invested in the Charity Bank and the Recovery Loan Fund: two initiatives which finance loans for charities and social enterprises.

The report says that the Archbishops’ Council has “been able to play an important catalytic role in each of our early investments, but the environment for raising capital is currently very challenging for fund managers”.

The stated aims of the programme are “to advance the Church’s missional objectives for those who are marginalised and in the most deprived communities”, and “to invest in a way that catalyses additional investment and that maintains the real value of our capital over time”.

The full report is available to read at: churchofengland.org

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