Big Issue Invest supports local co-working space with a social purpose

Release date: 2nd November 2017

The Big Issue’s social investment arm, Big Issue Invest, has teamed up with Connection Crew to launch Canvas in Brixton – a co-working space with a social purpose.

The space, named Canvas, offers creative and social ventures a spacious and aspiring base to grow from for a fair price. Any profit generated goes toward helping people out of homelessness and into training and employment.

Connection Crew, the organisation behind Canvas, is a social enterprise providing manpower to the events industry; 25% of its workforce is from a homeless background. Canvas, which benefited from a £45K investment, is based on the whole first floor of its HQ and training centre on Lyham Road, by HMP Brixton.

Director of Connection Crew, Charlie Dorman, commented:

“When we moved here in February we thought we’d let our additional space to one commercial tenant. No fuss. Any profit would be used to maintain our training facilities.”

“But then we realised we could make a more inspiring contribution to the local economy by accommodating a range of ambitious, creative and socially responsible businesses instead.”

“It’s more fitting with the culture of diversity and collaboration that thrives here in Brixton. With the support of Big Issue Invest we’re in a position to help build on that.”

Alan Tudhope, Regional Investment Manager at Big Issue Invest said:

“A lot of great organisations struggle to access small and medium-sized loans, so we want to provide support for those exciting social enterprises and charities.”

“We are so pleased that we have been able to provide support to Connection Crew in order for them to continue to keep doing the incredible work they do.”

Big Issue Invest launched Impact Loans England, a £5 million lending scheme aimed at enabling social enterprises to access loan funding of between £20,000 and £150,000 in 2016. The programme is funded by Access – The Foundation for Social Investment, with finance being provided by its partners Big Lottery Fund and Big Society Capital.

Canvas will open early next year and is currently open for viewings, visit www.canvasbrixton.spacefor further information.



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Notes to Editors

About Canvas

Canvas is a light, open co-working space for 18 people based in London’s Brixton Hill. It’s a place where people can go to work, think clearly and be themselves. The team behind Canvas takes pride in offering value to its members by providing them with all the things that they need – and omitting the things that they don’t.  Canvas is brought to you by Connection Crew, one of UK’s leading crewing companies and social enterprises – any profit generated by Canvas goes directly back into helping people out of homelessness. | | @CanvasBrixton

About Connection Crew

Connection Crew is an award winning crewing company working in the UK and internationally. Its crew supports the event industry to set-up events smoothly, safely and successfully. 25 percent of its crew have a history of homelessness and in the last 12 years it has employed 180 ex-homeless people to complete 96,828 hours of work. Connection Crew was named Best Crewing Company at the Event Production Awards 2016. | | @connectioncrew 

About Big Issue Invest

Big Issue Invest is the social investment arm of The Big Issue. We extend the mission of The Big Issue by providing finance and support to social enterprises and charities seeking to dismantle poverty and create opportunity for people across the UK.   We invest between £20K and £3 million in organisations seeking repayable financing options, helping them to scale up and maximise their social impact. Since 2005, we have invested more than £30 million in 300 social ventures and we currently manage or advise on more than £150 million worth of social funds. | | @bigissueinvest |

Impact Loans England

The Impact Loans England programme is available to organisations across England with the £5 million to lend over the next three years. The funding is available to organisations keen to do more of the good work they do – whether it’s buying equipment, hiring new talent, or progressing with business development plans. Impact Loans England was designed for small to medium charities and social enterprises, many of which are accessing finance for the first time. The scheme builds on Big Issue Invest’s significant expertise in social enterprise investment, which since its launch in 2005 has seen the organisation directly invest over £30 million in more than 300 social businesses. Applications for Impact Loans England are now open. | | | @BigIssueInvest | #ADealAWeek

About Access

The Foundation for Social Investment exists to bridge the gap between charities and social enterprises and social investors. Access does this through two main programmes: the Growth Fund which blends grant from Big Lottery Fund and loan from Big Society Capital and is focused on enabling the provision of the simple and affordable investment products that charities and social enterprises tell us they need; and the capacity building programme, which provides charities and social enterprises with the support they need to get ready to take on investment. | | @si_access

About Big Lottery Fund

The Big Lottery Fund is the largest funder of community activity in the UK. It puts people in the lead to improve their lives and communities, often through small, local projects. It is responsible for giving out 40% of the money raised by National Lottery players for good causes. Every year it invests over £650 million and awards around 12,000 grants across the UK for health, education, environment and charitable purposes. Since June 2004 it has awarded over £8 billion to projects that change the lives of millions of people. | | @biglotteryfund | #BigLottery

About Big Society Capital

Big Society Capital is a financial institution with a social mission, set up to build the social investment market in the UK, so that charities and social enterprises can access appropriate repayable finance to enable them to grow, become more sustainable and increase their impact on society. It is doing this by building a diverse social investment market: encouraging investors to lend or invest money to achieve a social as well as a financial return. Since it was set up as an independent organisation in 2012, Big Society Capital has invested, along with its co-investors, over £285 million in specialist organisations who lend to charities and social enterprises. | @bigsocietycap