LOCAL Access Bradford District (LABD) has brought together a diverse partnership of social and business leaders to create a social investment loan fund supporting the voluntary sector.

Organisations representing social investment, social enterprises and local communities have created an inclusive and collaborative partnership with the district’s citizens to help tackle its biggest challenges

These organisations include Impact Hub Bradford CIC, Key Fund, Bradford Council, the University of Bradford, Inspired Neighbourhoods, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Airedale Enterprises and OnTrak.

In 2019 Access (The Foundation for Social Investment) and Big Society Capital invited 12 cities to submit proposals to their ten-year £33m programme of support for charities and social enterprises.

Together, a consortium of Bradford organisations led by Impact Hub developed a concept and proposal which led to the city’s selection, unlocking £6.6m of funding.

This initiative is now launching as Local Access Bradford District, providing a foundation for social innovation in Bradford in the coming decade.

In April 2019, the consortium published a concept paper on the role of the Bradford district as a “lab for social innovation”, followed by a detailed proposal in December of that year.

This opened a period of consultation and codesign – extending through 2020 and 2021 – across the district, listening to communities, responding to their needs, and developing a deeply collaborative proposal shaped by the future beneficiaries of the partnership.

Some of the highlights of this process included a series of public codesigning social impact workshops on inviting the city’s communities and organisations to collectively shape the partnership’s values, needs and ambitions.

The Chair of Inspired Neighbourhoods, Lucy Mairs, said “This investment of over £6 million in the Bradford district will provide a much-needed support to VCSE sector organisations.

“This work will significantly contribute towards delivering high impact aligned with City of Culture Bid, Bradford Economic Strategy and Sustainable growth.”

Kamran Rashid, CEO of Impact Hub Bradford, added: “I am excited to secure this investment and now pass the baton to Inspired Neighbourhoods, who will support the partnership to deliver the programme and change lives.”

The partnership will be focussing on supporting organisations through introductory workshops, training programmes and grants.

Its vision for the programme is that, by 2030, the Bradford district will be an inclusive investment ecosystem for social innovation and will proactively and inclusively enable people, communities and organisations to grow existing or new ventures.

Anyone interested in finding out more about the programme can contact the LABD on 01274 665598, enquiries@localaccessbd.co.uk or at www.localaccessbd.co.uk.