February 28th, 2017

Social enterprise helping children with communications difficulties wins support worth £515,000

Thousands of children with communications difficulties will get the help they need to speak, read and write as a result of new support for I CAN from Social Business Trust (SBT).

The children’s communication charity won the investment for its social enterprise arm, started four years ago, which already reaches over 32,000 children a year. With SBT’s help it aims to triple that total, supporting nearly 100,000 children annually by 2020.

Riccardo Basile, Investment Professional at Permira, will oversee delivery of that support, worth £515,000, as I CAN’s SBT Investment Director. He has already worked closely with I CAN for over a year, helping them prepare for growth and reviewing their suitability for investment.

As well as Permira’s oversight, SBT’s help for I CAN will include reviews of product pricing and the tutor delivery model used to provide services to schools, as well as expert advice in designing and implementing the best structure for the growing organisation.

This will be delivered by Bain & Company, British Gas, Credit Suisse, EY and Thomson Reuters, with additional legal and IT support from Clifford Chance and IBM. I CAN also receives match funding for two years, to employ an experienced professional in a new Head of Commercial role.

Communications difficulties are widespread, with 50% of children in some socially deprived parts of the UK starting school with poor language skills. The impact this has on life chances is profound: young people with a language difficulty are more than four times less likely to get good GCSEs.

I CAN’s social enterprise provides in-school programmes specifically to address delayed language difficulties, enabling 82% of children to catch up with their peers.

Adele Blakebrough MBE, CEO of SBT said: “For so many young lives to be blighted by communications difficulties is very sad. We’re greatly impressed by the difference I CAN is already making for children across the country and delighted to be providing such far-reaching support from Permira and our other incredible corporate partners for their social enterprise to grow and help many more.”

Bob Reitemeier CBE, CEO of I CAN said: “SBT has already given our social enterprise incredible support. We’ve learnt so much from Riccardo and the other business experts we’ve had the good fortune to work with through SBT. To now get this investment package is fantastic.”

“Ultimately this is about us changing life outcomes for thousands more children with communication difficulties; it’s transformational!”