As 2021 comes to an end, we reflect on some highlights over yet another challenging year due to the pandemic and look ahead to exciting developments for the New Year.

Our fourth Impact Report published in February, aptly titled ‘Resilience & Opportunity in a time of uncertainty’ highlighted strong growth and increased investor interest and confidence in the UK social investment sector.

We discussed the critical role charitable organisations have played in supporting disadvantaged communities through the pandemic and shared several inspiring stories from our borrower organisations which demonstrated just how dedicated, resilient, and resourceful they have been.

One of the standout points for SASC in 2021 was our growth. The investment we received from Zamo Capital in 2020 enabled us to significantly expand our team and develop our activities.

We welcomed 10 new employees across our investment, portfolio and finance and legal teams. Plus, we’ve expanded our board with two new trustees, and welcomed a new member to our Audit, Finance and Risk Committee.  These new recruits are playing critical roles in supporting our future growth and will enable us to develop to the next phase of our business.

A key focus of 2021 was providing social investment from our award-winning Social and Sustainable Housing (SASH) fund. SASH provides loans of between £2 million and £5 million to social sector organisations that have experience of providing both housing and a high degree of support to disadvantaged clients.

The fund closed with £74m of investment from 25 investors. Over £50m of that has been committed to 15 outstanding frontline organisations. All our investments are supporting borrowers to build their property portfolios to house their vulnerable clients. The pandemic impacted the housing market and these organisations fought hard to purchase their properties. The borrowers have now bought or an in the process of buying housing worth £30m. Weexpect to see the momentum that we are now seeing continue to build in 2022.

It has been a great year for investment in Scotland. New borrowers include Dundee-based charity, Positive Steps Partnership who will expand their supported accommodation services for vulnerable adults to meet rising demand.

An investment in Simon Community Scotland will enable the charity to expand its services and buy properties that will become permanent homes for up to 30 tenants, helping them transition from homelessness towards employment and a new life.

We ended 2021 by making a second investment of in Homes for Good, a social enterprise lettings agency. This loan will enable them to purchase up to 50 properties in Glasgow and the West of Scotland for people unable to access social housing or who are at risk of homelessness.

In England, we invested in Emerging Futures which provides emergency and transitional supported housing. The loan will allow them to purchase up to 10 properties and expand their support contracts for local authority in East Cheshire, Lancashire and Hertfordshire.

We also invested in Homelessness Oxfordshire to increase and improve the quality of accommodation they provide for rough sleepers in Banbury and Oxford.

And, in recent months, we also supported Hull and East Yorkshire Mind to enable them to purchase and improve the accommodation they provide for adults and young people experiencing poor mental health.

This year, SASC has finalised loans worth £27.7m to 9 organisations. In addition, we have approved and are just completing the legal process with 4 more charities to invest a further £8.4m.

Looking ahead to next year, we are excited to be working towards the launch of our second SASH fund. This will enable us to respond to the demand we are seeing from the third sector. Current conversations with 27 frontline organisations mean that 2022 will be a busy year.  We encourage any organisation active in supported housing to get in touch.

We are really looking to 2022. From all of us at SASC we’d like to wish you a very happy and peaceful festive season.