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Joanne Wedderspoon

Funder Relations Manager

Charities Aid Foundation

Some positive stories from our portfolio

27 March 2020

The CAF Venturesome team is very busy, working remotely, to ensure our portfolio of social enterprises and charities have the support they need at this worrying time. 

We have a portfolio of 134 current social investments and over the last week we have been in touch with each investee individually.  It has become clear that the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on many of our portfolio organisations is significant and we are working through how we can help with capital repayment holidays and additional loan finance.  Our investees operate across a wide range of sectors including children & young people, community, arts & heritage across the UK and overseas. 

However, we have had some really positive stories coming out of the conversations that show just how creative and resilient social enterprises and charities can be.

Red paper heart in the sunshine

Books Beyond Words is a charity that provides books and training to support people who find pictures easier to understand than words. Whether supporting somebody with a learning disability or communication difficulty, their resources empower people through pictures. They will be halving the price of their eBooks and eLearning and are also sending out free short stories in downloadable/printable format, on a regular basis to keep people who are living in isolation in contact and with activities. They have a free download, Beating the Virus, a special short story about the coronavirus, which has NHS England’s support and they hope to be able to disseminate it to as many of the 1.5m people with learning disabilities as possible.

Empower Be The Change, the Welsh social enterprise that supports positive mental health has had to suspend their in person courses but has launched an online mentoring service.

Greenwich Music School’s mission is to support creative, artistic and personal growth through music education - and the COVID-19 crisis hasn’t changed this. They have moved their lessons online and are taking on new students.  They are now providing lots of successful online lessons and getting some great feedback.

"Thank you for such a quick adaptation to the new situation. Everything is organised very well. My lesson with Neus this morning worked brilliantly. Zoom video quality was also very good." - Yvonne

HISBE Food, the social enterprise supermarket in Brighton (and soon to be in Worthing) is committed to ensuring that good food remains accessible and affordable.  They have had to reduce their opening hours and put in place a queuing system to keep their customers and staff safe, but they are committed to keep open to ensure that the farmers, producers and suppliers they work with can protect their livelihoods. 

Tapestry Care UK is an innovative charity and ‘not for profit’ social business working to provide appropriate, personalised and affordable care and support for adults and older people in the local community.  They believe that everyone deserves the opportunity to live a healthy and connected life regardless of age or ability. Unfortunately, they have had to suspend many of their face to face services but they are working with the families/carers to put in place bespoke support for those living with dementia. They are currently in regular contact with families/carers of all their clients monitoring their health and wellbeing and checking they have food, medicines etc. and are on call in a crisis situation. Where clients have no or limited support at home, they have notified social services and support the implementation of additional care at home. Their staff are also on standby, should essential items need picking up and delivering it to them. 

“CAF Venturesome's confidence and support of us has been very important to Tapestry and to me personally.”  Tony Lowe, CEO Tapestry

The Good Wash Company, the luxury wash and ethical lifestyle brand that supports vulnerable people and animals in Wales, is working hard to provide soaps and handwash for their local NHS community.

The Lucie Blackman Trust, the charity that exists to support British nationals in crisis overseas, has never been so busy repatriating Brits that have been stranded abroad, whilst copying with delayed grant funding. 

Ubuntu Pathways is a vital community institution in the heart of Port Elizabeth’s townships, which includes everything a child needs to thrive: an Early Child Development Wing; a community theatre and rooftop garden; an on-site clinic and pharmacy; and a Job Skills Training Centre.  This community in South Africa is extremely vulnerable to the virus and they have recently launched a crisis fundraising campaign and they have already raised $500,000.

Social Enterprise UK has set up a page to share positive stories.

Our friends at Good Finance are doing a brilliant job keeping social organisations updated with the resources they need at this time.  Here is the link to their COVID-19 Resource Hub.



Remember, we are here to support social enterprises and charities in any way we can.  These are just but a few stories.  We'd love to share yours.

If you want to know more about a social investment from CAF Venturesome or want to use your philanthropic capital to support our fund, talk to our team on 03000 123 300 or email us at venturesome@cafonline.org and we’ll be happy to help.


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