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Cultural Impact Development Fund

The fund is now closed for new investments.

A £3.5 million fund providing small-scale repayable finance to socially driven arts and cultural organisations working with the people and communities in greatest need. The Cultural Impact Development Fund is supported by Access – The Foundation for Social Investment through the Growth Fund programme. The Growth Fund is a partnership between The National Lottery Community Fund and Big Society Capital, delivered by Access through a range of social investors. It makes up to £50m available to support charities and social enterprises to grow and create social impact in their communities. The Growth Fund uses a combination of grant funding, made possible thanks to National Lottery players, and loan finance from Big Society Capital and other co-investors, to address specific gaps in the social investment market.

Key information

Investment window September 2018 to December 2020
Funding available £25,000 to £150,000
Repayment period 1 to 5 years
Repayment holidays Up to 12 months' capital holiday
Interest rates 5.5% to 8.5%
Fees 1% completion fee
2% holding fee per annum, pro rata
(minimum holding period is 6 months)
No early repayment fee
Geographic area covered England
The Cultural Impact Development Fund is administered by Arts & Culture Finance on behalf of Cultural Impact Development Loans Limited, a company registered in England and Wales with company number 11388464.

Fund objectives

Funding available

The Cultural Impact Development Fund offers repayable finance of between £25,000 and £150,000 in the form of an unsecured loans and/or quasi-equity, tailored to the circumstances of each organisation. We also offer a blended loan and grant finance package whereby the level of grant funding is, on average, 10% of the total investment offer. We do not offer standalone grant funding.

The loan and grant funding are treated as part of our overall investment package and may be used in combination with each other for any approved investment purpose, such as:

As part of our commitment to social impact, the Fund also offers financial offsets in recognition of the achievement of social impact targets. The financial offset takes the form of an annual reduction to the interest rate on the loan portion of an investment where the total repayment period is 3 years or more.

Additional support available

Alongside our investment, the Cultural Impact Development Fund offers a tailored package of guidance and support to each organisation in our portfolio. This includes:

Eligibility criteria

Your organisation’s primary activity is in arts and culture

If your organisation’s primary activity does not fit within the list below but you think it may still be eligible for investment, please get in touch and speak to a member of our team, who will be able to advise you.

Areas of work

  • Architecture
  • Combined arts
  • Crafts
  • Creative technology
  • Dance
  • Fashion design (excludes merchandising)
  • Film and broadcasting
  • Graphic design
  • Heritage
  • Literature
  • Museum, library or archive
  • Music
  • Sector support organisation
  • Theatre and performance
  • Visual arts
  • Workspace provider

Organisation types

  • Arts and cultural venues
  • Museums, libraries and archives
  • Non-venue based organisations (e.g. touring organisations, production companies, festivals)
  • Sector support organisations (e.g. development agencies, workspace providers, cultural education organisations)
Your organisation is registered and operating in England

The Fund is financed by The National Lottery Community Fund and Big Society Capital. Because these sources include public money, we can only work with organisations registered in England and primarily benefiting communities in England. Digital organisations will need to demonstrate their primary audiences are based in England.

Your organisation has a clear social mission, reflected in its structure and governance

Charities, community interest companies, and community benefit societies with a recognised charitable purpose are eligible for investment. Other incorporated entities, such as companies limited by shares, will be considered based on the strength of their social mission and whether the majority of their profit will be reinvested into that mission. To be eligible, you must be able to demonstrate that your organisation:

  • Has a clear social mission
  • Distributes less than 50% of post-tax profits and reinvests at least 51% of surpluses into pursuing its social mission, and
  • Has a constitutional or contractual lock on its social mission and dividend or surplus distribution policy (also known as an asset lock).
Your organisation works with people and communities within our scope of approved beneficiaries

To be eligible, your organisation should work with people and communities who fall within our scope of approved beneficiaries (although you do not need to work exclusively with these groups). This means that you must be able to demonstrate your organisation’s commitment to reaching and engaging these beneficiaries, understanding of their additional needs, and ability to support these needs.

If your organisation’s beneficiaries do not fit within the list below but you think your organisation may still be eligible for investment, please get in touch and speak to a member of our team, who will be able to advise you.

Approved beneficiaries

  • People experiencing long-term unemployment
  • Homeless people
  • People living in poverty and/or financial exclusion
  • People with addiction issues
  • People with long-term health conditions/life-threatening or terminal illness
  • People with learning disabilities
  • People with mental health needs
  • People with physical disabilities or sensory impairments
  • Voluntary carers
  • Vulnerable parents
  • Vulnerable children (including looked-after children)
  • Vulnerable young people and NEETs
  • Older people (including people with dementia)
  • Ex/offenders
  • People who have experienced crime or abuse
Your organisation is committed to improving its social impact practice

As part of our objective to support arts and cultural organisations to develop their impact capacity, the Fund offers 1-to-1 impact management support to all organisations in its portfolio, tailored to the needs and goals of each organisation. This typically includes support developing tools such as your Theory of Change and evaluation framework, reviewing your impact reporting, and reflecting on and embedding learning into your approach. It also includes guidance on setting appropriate social impact targets for your financial offset. 

We expect all organisations we invest in to be committed to improving their social impact practice and engaging with this impact management support. Engagement with this support is a requirement for receiving the social impact financial offset.

What we don't fund
  • Individuals, sole traders, and unregistered partnerships
  • Organisations that promote party political or religious beliefs
  • Organisations that seek to substitute services already funded by Exchequer expenditure
  • Organisations whose governing document does not allow it to carry out the proposed project or to take on investment
  • Organisations that are unable to evidence a source of repayment for the investment
  • Organisations that are unable to evidence social impact with the Fund’s approved beneficiaries
  • Organisations that are insolvent
  • Organisations that have already received £150,000 investment from another Growth Fund, unless a portion of that investment has already been repaid
  • Organisations that are seeking a total investment of more than £150,000 for a single project, even if the excess above £150,000 is funded by a third-party funder
  • Organisations that would be in breach of State Aid requirements as a result of the investment

If you are not sure whether any of these exclusions apply to your organisation, please get in touch and speak with a member of our team, who will be able to advise you.


For fund-specific enquiries, please contact Trishna Nath.

Investment Committee

Investors and Partners