FIRST Ark Social Investment has given a Liverpool-based media arts centre a six-figure funding package which will support significant social, cultural and economic benefits to the region.
The Merseyside organisation’s investment of £100,000 – 30% of which is grant funding – will be used by FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology) to further develop its long-term business model and grow its earned income sustainably, enabling it to rely less on grant-funding as a source of income.
The finances will also be used to improve FACT’s branding and develop a new website to extend its digital offer and make it more accessible to a wider audience, and will generate two new jobs.
Additionally, the funding will enable FACT to provide new learning and talent development opportunities to at least 30 trainees or apprentices and 30 industry professionals from the community that FACT serves.
It is predicted that First Ark Social Investment’s financial support will deliver significant benefits to the region, including a social impact value of just under £400,000, and an economic impact value of more than £83,000.
FACT is one of several businesses and groups across the North West to receive investment from First Ark Social Investment Team which invests in growing businesses and bringing opportunities and prosperity to local communities.
Hannah Jones Group, Head of Investments First Ark Group, said: “First Ark is delighted to be supporting FACT with this investment, which, in part, is being used to revamp its website and branding to attract a wider audience and boost its customer base.”
“We also recognised the wider benefits this would provide in terms of social and economic value, brought about through training, education and jobs created.”
“Before making any financial arrangement, we need to be confident that a recipient has a fully costed business plan, explicitly say what our investment is to be used for, and have the right people in place to ensure it is administered correctly.”
“It’s also important to add that our partnership with FACT has not stopped after the money was received.”
“We are continuing to mentor FACT ‘post investment support’ drawing upon our expertise and experience to help FACT achieve their goals and meet their targets, which we are confident they will attain.”
Matthew Brown, Head of Finance and Operations at FACT, said: “Like many charities and third sector organisations, our biggest challenge is how to improve, develop and maintain our services within the constraints of static or reduced public funding, hence our approach to First Ark.
“The investment process has been really smooth, the First Ark Social Investment Team have provided support and advice throughout, from our first meeting through to receiving the money, just 30 days later.
“The First Ark investment will enable the creation of two additional, permanent jobs at FACT.”
Hannah Jones, Group Head of Investments First Ark Group, added: “Our investment fund, Invest for Impact, is a new approach to financing. Whether it is charities, voluntary groups, or social businesses, we want to make it easier for social organisations to get the backing they need to grow faster and help more people.
“The impact that suitable social investment can have on developing a strong social business sector is well known, and the First Ark Group’s ambition is to play a leading role in developing this across the North West.”