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Returns for investors and fundraisers are possible!


One of the best parts of my job is that people bring new ideas to me to develop into workable, real-world solutions for the charity sector.  Sometimes they don’t take off but occasionally, I come across people who are thinking really creatively about how to help others.

I want to share one such idea with you in this blog which potentially sees the financial ‘system’ working for vulnerable individuals and investors alike.

Raising funds to provide homes for people with learning disabilities is a tough ask as the need isn’t perceived as ‘sexy’ and there are no puppies involved to create heart-wrenching campaigns (I’m not being flippant, we love this in the UK).

At the same time, there are many suitable properties available in the UK that would make secure and comfortable homes and there are investors willing to invest in property.  Therefore, bringing these investors together in a way that meets their needs, to create a fund which can buy homes with people with learning disabilities, seems a great way to bridge this divide.

Money house

Previous Shared Ownership schemes are no longer available due to the coalition government’s recent financial measures but a new scheme ‘Buy to Help’ has been set up to get the ball rolling.

The team has created an investment fund which will be used to do the following:

  • enable people with learning disabilities to have security, living in their own homes
  • give investors a decent rate of return (tough to get these days) whilst directly supporting people with learning disabilities
  • ensure growth in the overall pot of money available to invest in more properties and provide a regular income to investors

It looks a bit like the popular buy to let schemes but with more vulnerable people benefitting, whereas they couldn’t previously.  That seems like a win:win.

The huge win will be when the big institutional investors (the groups that control our pension funds, unit trusts and other investments) see the scheme working and start to invest some of their billions on behalf of all of us.  But, they are conservative by nature (apparently) so the team behind ‘Buy to Help’ have already been speaking with several charities, including Mencap, and smaller investors who have expressed an interest in the scheme, to show it working.

The launch scheme is aimed at anyone or any organisation who wants or needs to support people with learning disabilities and get reasonable investment returns into the bargain.  That means individuals, philanthropists, Local Authorities, grant making trusts as well as charities and corporate supporters.

I know this is new but just ask yourself whether your current high value donation propositions or property services arrangements can offer a return as well as provide support for your beneficiaries.

It’s all explained at Shared Ownership Homes but bear in mind if you are interested in taking this forward with your organisation, you need to register your interest before 31 March 2011.

What do you think?

(original image source: Mike Jones, Investor Today,

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One Comment leave one →
  1. 03/03/2011 10:41 am

    Thanks for this post Kevin – a very interesting idea and one which I hope will lead to a much more vibrant market for investing in property for people with specialist needs – and reliable finances. I have recently been approached about setting up a similar scheme for people whose needs are different, but who also have a guaranteed level of financial support from the state. As a pure financial investment (aside from the clear social benefits), this sounds like a compelling model.

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