By Scott Wright

SOCIAL Investment Scotland, the responsible finance provider, has invested a record £10.9 million as its chief executive declared there has been an “extraordinary” response to the coronavirus crisis by community and social enterprises.

The latest Social Impact Report from Edinburgh-based SIS shows that it invested £4.36 million in social enterprises and communities in the year from April 2019 to March 2020. The balance was in supporting responsible lenders and mission-driven businesses through SIS Ventures, a subsidiary that launched its first investment fund in 2018. According to the report, active loans and investments with SIS exceeded £28m over 175 social enterprises over the period. It notes that more than 1.4 million people benefited directly or indirectly through the activities of SIS, rising from 1.1 million in 2018/19, taking in communities in all 32 local authority areas in Scotland. SIS underlined the support it had provided to social enterprises and the third sector at the height of the lockdown, from April 1 to the end of June. Some £2.52m of loan funding was approved through the Third Sector Resilience Fund and SIS supported 20 credit unions in Scotland through the Credit Union Resilience Fund.

Alastair Davis, chief executive of SIS, said: “Over the past 15 months, demand for both finance and support has never been greater among third sector organisations and social enterprises. Like most other sectors within our economy, our customers have found themselves facing considerable challenges during the pandemic to keep their heads above water. However, despite these impacts which are still ongoing, the role of community and social enterprises in responding to the challenges posed by Covid-19 has been nothing short of extraordinary.”