Over the last few months we have seen the effects of COVID-19 and its lockdown measures have a huge impact on how social enterprises and charities navigate using social investment. In this blog post we round up lessons from our #AChangingWorld podcast.

Digital is more needed than ever 

With much in person interaction coming to an abrupt halt a few months ago, being ‘forced to adopt a digital approach’ could end up being beneficial in the long run a reflection that Geetha from Cardboard Citizens shared with us.

As the Covid-19 crisis has squeezed cashflow and raised financial concerns for many,  more people are becoming vulnerable to homelessness. In response, Carboard Citizens have used a range of creative ways to listen and support their members, including collaboration with teams and other organisations outside of London to make the most of their online reach.

Part of digital growth for charities like Cardboard Citizens centers around experimentation, and prioritising the beneficiaries of the project.

Communication - it’s about being really clear about what you’re doing, what you can do, and what you can’t do.

- Geetha, Cardboard Citizens


It’s all about using the right tools at the right time 

There are many tools that make up  an organisations financial toolkit, but for Mark Newcombe from The Craufurd Arms it was about recognising which ones would work and when they would be useful. 

Over the years, The Craufurd Arms has used a few different forms of funding at different stages of their growth - from grants and crowdfunding, to blended and loan financ.e The pub is well known for bringing people together, and this was even more essential during lockdown. During this period, they used a combination of financial tools, including Government support schemes like business bounce back loans. 

You can hear all about  the types of funding The Craufurd Arms received in this blog on this podcast episode. To find out which types of social investment could work for you, try our two minute diagnostic tool here


It’s key to look after yourself 

Mental health is increasingly being explored work and life but sometimes it can be left behing for  for social entrepreneurs or social impact leaders who dedicate much of  their time to supporting those who need it on the frontline.

I can’t put anyone’s oxygen mask on without putting my own one on first. 

- Lizzie, Think2Speak

For Lizzie, the creation of  Think2Speak was inspired by her son. She recognised the need to equip people to have difficult conversations better. During difficult and uncertain times, the work that organisations that Think2Speak do in support vulnerable people has become even more critical, but it’s also been essential for Lizzie and their staff to look after their mental health as well.

Listen to Lizzie’s story here, and get inspired by the simple magic of taking a step back and making time for you.


Government schemes are viable solutions

Social investment came in a few forms for Pranav and his social enterprise, but it was the Government’s Business Bounce back loan scheme that he highlights as something that social investment ‘is all about.’

Nemi Teas sells tea blends (and now syrups) and employ skilled refugees to help package them as retail products. One of the biggest hits during COVID came from office closures, in which they have procurement contracts with organisations across London.

The scheme was set up to support small and medium-sized businesses affected by COVID-19 through loans of up to £50,000 - with no interest or repayment for the first 12 months. For Nemi Teas that helped to keep those staff on salary and maintain supplies. 


Experience and resilience come in many forms

Charity starts at home, and home is your community.

The community in Newham, East London holds a special place for Faith, the Founder of Caramel Rock. Faith found that there was a lack of career opportunities for young women like her, and she wanted to use her passion for fashion to tackle this. She firmly believes her life stories and struggles helped to  develop her endurance and resilience, enabling her to  tackle the challenges in growing the organisation.

It played to my advantage a lot of the not knowing, because I just thrived on ambition and drive to create change. 

- Faith Johnson, Caramel Rock


To listen to more stories, visit soundcloud.com/goodfinance  to discover a host of podcasts all around social impact and social investment.