How can institutional investors bring in community engagement into impact investing?

Impact Investing Community Engagement Framework
Impact Investing Institute; Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sports (DCMS)
October 2022 to March 2023

Registering your interest in taking part in the North of Tyne Community Cuppas

If you are an adult living in Newcastle, North Tyneside or Northumberland would like to find out more about taking part in the North of Tyne Community Cuppas then click here to read the FAQs document. To complete a form to register your interest in taking part,please click here. You can also find out more information about the Community Cuppas, including a video and flyer by scrolling down this page.

Why does it matter?

Public engagement in decision-making goes beyond policy-makers and government. Businessand markets affect our lives on all levels and area fundamental part of society in the UK. Place-based impact investing seeks to have a positive local impact - on social and environmental levels - focusing on addressing the needs of a specific place. Place-based investing drives positive outcomes in underinvested areas of the UK. Why a place-based focus? Places matter - they are the places that we live, work, socialise, travel in and through, and contain our community and support networks. Places determine our health and educational outcomes, define access to opportunities, and define our life expectancy.

Impact investing enhances local economic resilience, as well as yielding financial returns. This applies across a range of areas that affect everyday people's lives such as housing, roads, clean energy generation, the high street and banking. The Impact Investing Institute challenges the common myth that investing with impact means sacrificing financial returns and instead builds on responsible and sustainable investment approaches that benefit stakeholders by contributing to solutions that deliver positive impacts alongside a financial return. This project aims to support institutional investors to consider how community engagement can be built into their work on different levels to ensure the real needs of people are reflected in impact investing initiatives on a place-based level.

How will we do this?

We recognise that while there is willingness from many institutional investors to reach out to and engage communities in their work, they don't always know where to start or how to do it. Institutional investors often work on a macro level, meaning they don't work directly with place-based projects for which their investments aim to have a positive social and environmental influence. How do businesses that don't work on the ground ensure the community voice that is essential to their work is embedded in their decision-making? This is where this piece of work comes in. We are working with the Impact Investing Institute to create a framework and set of guidelines for investors that considers the complexities of community engagement when working atan institutional level. The framework will address what level of community engagement is appropriate for investors to take and offer a menu of options for investors, alongside a set of principles about what good community engagement looks like.

How will communities be involved in this process?

It is important to us that we include the real voices of communities in the process of developing this framework. We will be delivering a series of Community Cuppas in the North of Tyne area - one of the place-based pilot areas identified by the Impact Investing Institute - where we will ask members of local communities about who should be involved in decision-making in local impact investing and which principles/criteria should underpin such community engagement. We will be joined by representatives from the North of Tyne Combined Authority as well as local investors, as well as speaking to members of local communities in North Tyneside, Newcastle, and Northumberland. The outcomes of these Community Cuppas will feed directly into the framework.

Registering your interest in taking part in the Community Cuppas

If are an adult living in the North of Tyne and you are interested in taking part in the Community Cuppas then please register your interest by completing this short form. It will remain open until 9am on Monday 16 January 2023 so please feel free to share it with others who you think might be interested in participating so they can also register their interest in participating. We will then randomly select 25 people to reflect the diversity of each area and invite them to attend. The Community Cuppas are taking place in Hexham, West End of Newcastle and North Shields on Friday 3rd and Saturday 4th February 2023. Each person who is selected to attend will receive a £25 supermarket or Amazon voucher as a thank you for their time.

If you would like to find out more information about registering your interesting in participating in the Community Cuppas then please have a look at the flyer below or read the FAQs document.


Our aim is to create a framework that is responsive to the needs of institutional investors, is non-prescriptive in nature, and offers a menu of different options to reflect the diversity of institutional investing structures. We want to create an accessible, concise and practical resource that provides a baseline for what good looks like that clearly demonstrates how community engagement is achievable - and to inspire investors to put it into practice. Throughout this process we are collaborating with investors, such as Schroders, M&G and HSBC, to make sure the framework is fit for purpose and for the audience. A strong research dimension will underpin the process. As a result, we hope that the framework is utilised by institutional investors and used to embed community engagement into their portfolios of work. This has the potential to make a significant and tangible difference to on-the-ground communities in places across the UK that have, until now, faced the consequences of underinvestment, by centring local voices in impact investing initiatives.

The framework will be launched in spring 2023, after which it will be disseminated to institutional investors.

Photo by Hannah Busing on Unsplash