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Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 26 June 2012 - 10:51am

There is a temptation to think that " new and shiny" is better than tried and tested. Our sector can be prone to the chasing a fad because money is so short and this must always be watched. That is not to say that we must not always be looking for new ways of delivering services, seeing if there are innovative ways to do more for less and improve services and demonstrate our impact in doing so.

As Blog readers know I'm an advocate of social finance. It will not work for everyone but it may be a valuable new tool in our funding toolbox. It's amazing to someone who has been in the business of making social loans for 7 years to see how suddenly social loans are the latest trend. Everyone talking about it. Even Europe has discovered them though they have only a vague idea what a loan is as opposed to one of their torturous grant schemes.

It is always worth remembering there are very few things that are entirely new. Social loans are not a new discovery. In our UK sector they date back to at least 1361. The then Bishop of London , left 100 pounds in his will that we placed in a chest in St Pauls to form a loan fund. Any " poor but industrious " person was able to borrow , at no interest , up to 10 pounds and repayable in one year.

In the 16th century it became common practice in the City ofLondon for wealthy merchants to leave sums of money to be used as loans to individuals to enable them to go into an apprenticeship ( early social entrepreneurs!). There is also evidence of bequests being used to provide bonds to relieve poverty.

Yet another example of our sector being innovative. But let's also remember we have been doing it for centuries!