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Big Issue Invest’s £400k boost to help 1,700 ex-addicts find jobs

Drugs and alcohol abuse charity WDP will use the investment to provide a path to employment and in-work support in eight London boroughs

The Big Issue’s social investment arm Big Issue Invest (BII) has committed £400,000 to help people recovering from drug and alcohol abuse enter employment.

WDP – a charity helping people affected by substance misuse – will use the investment to help more than 1,700 people across eight London boroughs, offering them intensive support alongside an up-front job search leading to paid employment. They will also receive in-work support from an employment specialist.

Big Issue Invest WDP
More than 1,700 people with a history of substance misuse will benefit from the investment

Using the Individual Placement and Support (IPS) model, WDP will support people who would otherwise be unable to enter the jobs market in Brent, Barnet, Harrow, Hillingdon, Hounslow, Ealing, Westminster and Kensington & Chelsea.

The social impact bond is an outcome-based investment from BII’s Outcomes Investment Fund.


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“This will be the largest IPS social impact bond service to date backed by a social investor,” said Lars Hagelmann, investment director at BII. “As the third investment into this service through Mental Health and Employment Partnership, this is an exemplary case of the outcomes fund proving and then scaling an exciting innovation that’s positively impacting hundreds of lives in London.”

Yasmin Batliwala, WDP chair, added: “We are delighted to have been awarded this groundbreaking contract. The new service – IPS Into Work – will guarantee much-needed resource to support people into paid employment and also enable them to live healthier and more productive lives.

“WDP has a strong reputation in assisting our service users to reintegrate through many successful and progressive in-house initiatives. We are confident this offer will further enhance our service users’ potential to achieve lasting recovery.”