Holger Westphely

Former Acting Head of Venturesome

Charities Aid Foundation

Blended finance available through our Development Fund

28 January 2022

Blended finance is a combination of a grant and a loan deployed as a single financing package

With thanks to our philanthropic funders, we are now able to continue to offer blended finance through our main fund, the Development Fund.

Blended finance is available for high impact social organisations adapting their operating models following the pandemic and can be used for:

  • Capacity building
  • Business/service transformation
  • Launching new services
  • Strengthening social impact measurement systems and processes
  • Supporting financial resilience strategies (e.g. acquisition of a building where appropriate)

Blended Finance will be considered for all organisations that meet the following criteria:

  • Organisations that are eligible for our loans (see eligibility criteria)
  • Organisations that have a turnover above £60k and below £1m
  • Organisations that can demonstrate that they are adapting their business model/ strategy to become resilient in the post-Covid environment, (with the grant being used in a manner that will strengthen the organisation’s resilience in the long term)
  • Organisations that can demonstrate that they have a high social impact (such as working with highly vulnerable individuals)

Grant funding will not be available for:

  • Organisations looking to fill short-term cashflow gaps such as  accessing a bridging facility or a stand-by facility
  • Organisations that can access bank finance or secured finance
  • Organisations that cannot demonstrate strong social impact
  • Refinancing of existing debt
  • Organisations that can comfortably fund the project themselves
The level of grant will be decided on a case by case basis, by our independent investment committee, but the maximum is expected to be 30% of the overall amount, with a maximum of £50,000  to be offered.  

How blended finance can help

It can be challenging for social organisations to access unrestricted grant funding to transform their business model, build infrastructure or just improve what they are already doing. A loan can form part of the solution but could be too expensive as the only source of finance to fund business transformation, especially when investment in capacity building is critical. As social organisations continue to face unprecedented demand and a cocktail of uncertainties following the pandemic, we can help them secure the finance they need to adapt to the new environment.

We know that for many social enterprises and charities, funding growth through a loan can not only be daunting it may simply not be affordable. Our investment officers work closely with organisations to plan carefully the level of debt being taken on, so it doesn’t jeopardise the financial viability of the organisation and they make sure the organisation can make monthly repayments even if they do not generate all their forecasted income.  We also support our borrowers throughout the life of the social investment, to help them manage their finances better and help them leverage additional funding where possible and appropriate.

A grant blend gives social organisations an opportunity to both strengthen their capacity and resilience, while securing the necessary investment to achieve their transformation and/or growth plans. We believe this is particularly important to strengthen the resilience of the sector, following an especially tough period for the entire social sector in 2020-21, and we hope this will give organisations the confidence to take on, possibly their first, social investment.

CAF Venturesome and blended finance

We are unique in the UK as we use philanthropic capital, money that has been set aside for charitable purposes only, to fund our social investments.  Our funders - individuals and their families, grant-making trusts and corporate foundations - have played a vital role in supporting the social investment sector.

With thanks to Power to Change, Access – the Foundation for Social Investment and private philanthropists we have been able to offer to offer blended finance across all our funds, the Development Fund, the Community Led Housing Fund and the SE-Assist Wales Fund, since 2019.


Read Alternatives Activity Centre's story to see how blended finance helped fund a skills training centre for young people transitioning from Children’s to Adult services in Derby.

“This is going to be the beginning of an important and exciting journey for us and all of those who use our services now or in the future. We could not have got to this stage without the support of CAF Venturesome and as such will always be incredibly thankful for your help.”

Belinda Hadfield, Service Manager, Alternatives Activity Centre

Learn more about our Development Fund and register your interest.