Futurebuilders England was a ground-breaking, Government-backed social investment fund that provided loan financing to social sector organisations in England to help them bid for, win, and deliver public service contracts. Created in 2004, Futurebuilders was the first social investment fund in the UK and SIB has been running the Fund since 2008.

Alongside Social Investment The analysis of the Futurebuilders portfolio has provided answers to longstanding questions around ‘what makes social investment work’ in the form of three key messages:

  1. Patience: the average loan length was 13.9 years, with longer loan terms corresponding to higher returns.
  2. Flexibility: financial and non-financial variations were applied to a significant number of investments, representing the long-term commitment to supporting investees through difficult times.
  3. Investing where most in need: with over 40% of investment going to the 20% most deprived areas in the country, ensuring social impact objectives remain at the heart of social investment decision-making.

Alongside these key messages, there are six further key lessons presented in the learnings, covering the areas of employment, financial performance and financial returns, and subsidy, risk, and affordability.

We have published our data in full in the PDF data pack, alongside our recommendations via our policy briefing: please download and read these via our Futurebuilders Projects tab. You can view the FBE Learnings microsite via the link below. 


Social Economy Data Lab

The Social Economy Data Lab team

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