Big Issue Invest commits £400,000 to support people affected by substance misuse in London to enter employment

A charity committed to helping over 1,700 people with a substance misuse background across eight London boroughs has received investment from Big Issue Invest’s (BII) Outcomes Investment Fund.

Big Issue Invest, the social investment arm of The Big Issue provided the £400,000 Social Impact Bond (SIB) to WDP in late 2018. WDP is a drug and alcohol charity committed to helping people affected by substance misuse and it delivers multiple services on behalf of local authorities.

The £400,000 outcomes-based contract is expected to help over 1,700 people with a substance misuse background to search for work as part of their recovery, using the Individual Placement and Support (IPS) model. IPS combines intensive support for the individual with an up-front job search leading to paid employment and in-work support from an Employment Specialist.

Based on 20 years of research, the IPS employment model is internationally recognised as the most effective way to support people with mental health problems and/or addictions to gain and keep paid employment. The SIB does not stop there, aiming to achieve and sustain wider health and wellbeing outcomes for this cohort, as well as employment.

The SIB supports people in the London boroughs of Brent, Barnet, Harrow, Hillingdon, Hounslow, Ealing (forming the majority of the West London Alliance), Westminster and Kensington & Chelsea, who without intensive support are statistically unlikely to enter the job market.

Lars Hagelmann, Investment Director at BII, says: “This will be the largest IPS SIB service to date backed by a social investor. As the third investment into this service through Mental Health and Employment Partnership, this is an exemplary case of the outcomes fund proving and then scaling an exciting innovation that’s positively impacting hundreds of lives in London.”

Yasmin Batliwala, Chair of WDP, said: “We are delighted to have been awarded this groundbreaking contract. The new service – IPS Into Work – will guarantee much-needed resource to support people into paid employment and also enable them to live healthier and more productive lives. WDP has a strong reputation in assisting our service users to reintegrate through many successful and progressive in-house initiatives. We are confident this offer will further enhance our service users’ potential to achieve lasting recovery.”

The Outcomes Investment Fund was launched by Big Issue Invest in May 2017 with an investment of £10 million from Big Society Capital. The Outcomes Investment Fund, Big Issue Invest’s third social investment fund, makes investments into charities and social enterprises delivering payment by results contracts, where some or all of the contract payments are dependent on achieving social outcomes set by the public sector commissioner.

Payment by results contracts are a growing source of revenue for many charities and social enterprises and the Outcomes Investment Fund was developed to provide fit-for-purpose funding to support their delivery. The return on the Fund’s investments is linked to the success of the underlying contracts in achieving these outcomes, and Big Issue Invest provides management support to its investees.

BII has made several outcomes-based investments since 2012, supporting people with complex, multiple needs to achieve outcomes including sustainable accommodation, employment education and training, improved mental and physical health and well-being. Our Outcomes Investment Fund (OIF) aims to support many more charities and social enterprises in the UK to successfully deliver outcomes-based contracts and scale their impact.  The OIF makes investments of £250,000 to £2 million, with flexible payment terms linked to the profile of the underlying contracts and a return linked to the achievement of the target social outcomes.

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