One good turn deserves another. That’s why we’ve teamed up again with the Permira Foundation to accelerate the digital transformation of seven social enterprises. We’re doing so via a second round of grants from our Digital Impact Fund (DIF).

DIF Mark II will invest over £190,000 across the organisations, with each grant focusing on specific projects. On top of the funding, volunteers from our corporate partners will use their professional skills and expertise to support the initiatives. Ultimately, this is about helping social enterprises help more people in the areas of education, youth employment and mental health.

“We’re delighted to be working with the Permira Foundation again on the Digital Impact Fund,” said Joanne Hay, CEO of the Social Business Trust. "This initiative will improve the online and digital infrastructure of organisations that are all making a positive difference to society. The combination of financial support coupled with professional expertise from our corporate volunteers creates a great springboard for success.”

Olivia Reeves, Director of the Permira Foundation, said: “The Digital Impact Fund draws on SBT’s unique model and its deep understanding of the social enterprises it supports, ensuring improved efficiencies and greater social impact. The Permira Foundation is proud to be working with SBT again on this truly collaborative initiative.”

Josephine Hus, digital transformation expert at Permira and Chair of the DIF, said: "It’s deeply gratifying to see how much social impact can be unlocked from bringing together our collective experiences and networks. I’m impressed by the wide variety of digital projects deployed across SBT, ranging from automation of back-end processes to building apps. This is a solid digital capability platform for future projects to come."

A panel of experts from SBT’s Digital Advisory Board selected the projects based on the impact and feasibility of their proposals.

Here’s an outline of the seven organisations who have received a grant and will benefit from the pro bono professional support – and a summary of the digital projects they’ll be working on over the next six to twelve months.

Hertfordshire Independent Living Service

HILS offer a range of services, including meals on wheels and medical support, to help older and vulnerable people stay happy, healthy and independent.

Support from the DIF will help HILS improve their customer relationship management system, allowing them to better track and manage organisational data. HILS will also build a new website that’s easy to navigate and with new functionality, helping them reach more people who need their services and making it simpler for people to access those services. 

Watch HILS' video explaining their project

Twining Enterprise

Twining Enterprise support people with mental health problems across London to find work and keep work.

The funding and professional support will improve Twining’s customer relationship management system, investing in their ability to monitor and track data in a more timely and efficient way. This investment in their digital capability means they will be able to support more people with mental health challenges by matching them to jobs at a faster rate and in a more targeted fashion.

The Brilliant Club

The Brilliant Club work across the UK supporting less advantaged students to access the most competitive universities and to succeed when they get there.

Funding and professional support will allow The Brilliant Club to build a digital platform to support the recruitment and onboarding of PhD tutors to deliver their programmes. The creation of digital tools like this are essential as they grow to support 100,000 students over five years via their scholars programme. In short, they’ll be able bring on board more tutors who can then support more students, while at the same time improving efficiency and deepening engagement.

Challenge Partners

Challenge Partners work with schools across the country, focusing on school improvement, leadership development and knowledge exchange.

Funding and professional support will improve the sign-up process of one of Challenge Partners most successful programmes, their quality assurance review. Through this programme, each school in the Challenge Partner network hosts an annual review. In turn, that school sends their headteacher and senior leaders to review other schools in the network. The reviewers and the school’s leaders examine where the school currently is and where it’s heading, considering the challenges for the year ahead while identifying areas for improvement.

The DIF grant will go towards automating much of the administration currently associated the programme, thereby freeing up the time of those involved in the reviews to focus on content and training. Importantly, it will also help them grow so they can work with more schools.

Speech and Language UK

Speech and Language UK give children and young people the skills they need so they aren't left behind or waiting to be understood. They do this by creating tools for schools and nurseries and by giving advice and guidance to families.

The grant and support from the DIF will enable Speech and Language UK to improve their progress checker – an online questionnaire that helps families check their child’s progress towards development milestones on talking and understanding words for their age. A more automated process will allow for a clearer digital journey, offering parents and families a more user-friendly experience. Video content will also be created, co-produced with the parents of children who are struggling to talk and understand words. This will ensure the videos provide the most relevant information, offering reassurance to the parents and families who are viewing the content and making it easier for parents to access the right support.

Watch Speech and Language UK's video explaining their project


Hestia is one of the largest providers of domestic abuse refuges in London and the South East and the main organisation supporting victims of modern slavery in the capital.

The investment from the DIF will enable urgent upgrades to Hestia’s digital tools – the Bright Sky app and website, and its Online Safe Spaces. Bright Sky offers interactive information on domestic abuse and lays out available support for victims. The technology behind Bright Sky also powers Online Safe Spaces, a discreet online portal on company websites for victims to get advice and helpful contact numbers. Importantly, it leaves no internet history trace and provides quick exit options.

Support from the Digital Impact Fund will lead to significant improvements of these digital offerings and allow for their expansion in order to help more people in urgent need. 

Watch Hestia's video explaining their project

Retail Trust

The Retail Trust’s cause is to create hope, health and happiness for everyone in retail.

With funding and pro bono professional support from the Digital Impact Fund, the Retail Trust will build a platform that will measure the happiness of retail workers. This will allow for targeted improvements to be made based on the data collected, ultimately leading to a happier and healthier retail workforce.

Watch Retail Trust's video explaining their project

Read more on the first round of grants from our Digital Impact Fund