More than a million Scots have benefited from the activities of Social Investment Scotland (SIS) in the past year, according to the alternative finance provider’s annual impact study.
The report is the result of “in-depth research” among 150 customers comprising social enterprises, charities and community organisations to measure the impact of investment on their social and economic goals.
It found that 1.1 million people have benefited either directly or indirectly from the activities of SIS. In total, some 2.1 million individuals have felt the benefit of the lender’s social investment since 2016.
SIS was established in 2001 to provide a new finance model for Scotland’s charities and social enterprises. Since then it has invested in excess of £60 million across the country. Loan finance via SIS is available from £10,000 to £2m and is aimed at community enterprises and social businesses that might find access to finance from mainstream providers challenging.
According to the latest social impact report, the organisation has made 43 investments during the year across 31 of Scotland’s 32 local authorities, while the impact of these has been felt right across the 32 regions.
SIS said it had increased its reach to those living in Scotland’s most deprived areas. More than a third (37 per cent) of those benefiting from SIS loans live in geographic areas suffering from poverty, equating to nearly 500,000 people.
SIS activity has also had a beneficial impact on the jobs sector. Over the past year, SIS customers have created 405 full-time equivalent jobs, sustained more than 3,522 jobs and generated £158m in turnover – up £2m from the year before.
The impact of these services is being felt where it is needed the most, SIS added. Some 65 per cent of those benefiting are children, young people and families, 43 per cent are those experiencing long-term unemployment, 43 per cent have mental health needs and 15 per cent are classed as homeless.
Social Investment Scotland’s chief executive, Alastair Davis, said: “We want to enable organisations to be a sustainable force for good and our annual reports are a way for us to measure how well we’re supporting our customers.
“We are pleased to see that our impact is being felt right across Scotland and most importantly that over a third of beneficiaries are those in the most deprived areas.
“We’re also delighted to report that 50 per cent of our loans are under £50,000, which reflects our commitment to organisations who need smaller loans to achieve their next steps”