Social Investment Fund

Apply for funding from FIT

Guidance

Foundation for Integrated Transport was established in 2014 by the late Dr Simon Norton, a world-class mathematician and renowned transport campaigner.

Simon’s vision was a world where:

  • Humans have a right to get around without a car
  • People can travel with minimum impact on other people’s lives and the environment
  • Trains and buses are integrated and safe, and attractive routes are provided for walking and cycling
  • Barriers to transport justice are removed, by means which include volunteering and social enterprise.

The strategic priorities of the Foundation are:

  • Supporting initiatives that change public attitudes to the car
  • Transforming the quality of bus services in the UK
  • Increasing sustainable travel to leisure destinations
  • Availability of public transport as a human right
  • Making new and existing developments public transport friendly
  • Supporting grassroots community action for sustainable transport and not road building
  • Better inter-regional transport coaches and integrating longer distance modes of transport
  • Helping organisations active on environmental, health and social issues to adopt transport as a priority.

We provide funding that will help to make this vision a reality, by offering financing to businesses, organisations or activities that further the mission of the Foundation to create solutions for access, mobility and transport through bringing innovations into being, scaling up successes and creating role models around which public policy can be developed and changed.

Funding will be generally provided in the form of affordable loan finance but, in exceptional circumstances, an equity investment might be possible. The Fund will endeavour to find a role that lies somewhere between philanthropy and investment for a financial return, with priority given to social return over financial return, whilst also seeking to invest prudently. Investment will only be made where this is deemed an appropriate form of finance with a reasonable expectation that the funds can be repaid out of generated income. The Fund will try to do its best to keep the burden on the invested organisation as low as possible. The Fund will invest at an early stage providing socially minded enterprises with an alternative to grant finance, generally post start up and before the business model is proven, investing at a time where funds seem to be hardest to obtain. Investments can only be made for charitable purposes, where there is a clear public benefit, but can be awarded to not-for-profit, for-limited-profit, for community benefit and in for-profit organisations where the investment is used for a charitable purpose.

Please note that blended funding, being a combination of grant funding and social investment, may also be considered, depending on the individual circumstances.

The Foundation is concerned that transport should reduce its environmental harms, and will seek to invest in activities that represent best practice in emissions (CO2, noise, NOx particulates). It will avoid activities that damage habitat or increase demand for car travel.

Our vision is for an integrated public transport network that allows everyone to make everyday journeys without reliance on a private car. A key part of this is a responsibility for local authorities to procure an adequate network and the role of the community sector is to help them to provide the services that people need. We do not wish to encourage the notion that local transport authorities can withdraw support for buses. The Foundation seeks to help community-led transport schemes break out of their traditional role to provide services a few times a week targeted at shoppers and little else, and instead extend to offer services for commuters, visitors, weekenders and others thereby living up to the name “omnibus” = for all. The Foundation favours activities that improve the efficiency and expansion of local public transport networks; in particular it favours active partnerships with local government.

 

The Foundation prefers to fund innovative activities that may act as a beacon to others rather than replications of proven models which should be able to find alternative funding. However, it would not rule out activities seeking to apply European public transport best practice to the UK.

We particularly welcome applications for activities with a specific focus on equality, diversity and inclusion, as well as applications from people with a diverse range of backgrounds.

Application process

Please complete and submit the application form below; this will then be reviewed by our Accounts & Social Investments Manager.

Next steps

If your initial application is accepted, you will be invited to attend an investment committee meeting to make a more detailed presentation. As part of this, a budget will also be required for your venture, which can be provided as an excel workbook together with any additional supporting information. The budget should include the following:

  • Key assumptions underpinning all projections
  • All sources of projected income and funding
  • Analysis of projected expenditure into categories
  • Number of paid staff, including the hourly rate and hours to be worked
  • Projected returns on the project
  • Means of repaying the loan
  • Monthly cashflow covering the duration of the investment applied for
  • Projected balance sheet
  • Key risks and uncertainties.

The investee will propose the rate of return, based on what is deemed to be fair and affordable. This will form a starting point for agreeing the terms of the loan which should be reasonable for both parties.

Please note that with each investee we agree a suitable challenge for them to undertake, which will either enhance their fundraising or build their marketing capacity. Normally the challenge will need to be completed before the investment is made.

Investees will be required to complete a due diligence questionnaire before the investment is made. Two references will also need to be provided.

If you have any questions regarding the application process, please contact the Accounts & Social Investments Manager on accounts@integratedtransport.co.uk