SVA raises $7m in private capital for Australia’s first social impact bond targeting mental health outcomes

Having witnessed strong demand from investors across the country, Social Ventures Australia (SVA) is pleased to announce that capital raising for the Resolve Social Benefit Bond (Resolve SBB) has closed just a few weeks after launching.

Investors range from high net worth individuals and foundations, through to institutional investors such as NGS Super and Grosvenor Pirie Super.

A joint initiative with the NSW Government, the Resolve SBB is Australia’s first social impact investment to tackle the complex issue of mental health. The $7 million of private capital will be deployed to fund the Resolve Program, a community-based mental health program which aims to reduce the amount of time participants spend in hospital. The program will be delivered by Flourish Australia (formerly Richmond RPA), one of Australia’s leading mental health service providers.

Over the seven-year life of the bond, the Resolve Program aims to support approximately 530 people who suffer complex mental health issues and have a history of frequent and long-term hospitalisation.

Delivered in collaboration with the Nepean Blue Mountains and Western NSW Local Health Districts, the Resolve Program will support each participant over a two-year period and combines a residential service for periodic crisis care, outreach support provided to people in their homes, and a warm line for after-hours support. The program will draw heavily on the use of peer workers with a lived experience of mental health issues to deliver key aspects of the program.

Flourish Australia CEO Pam Rutledge said:

‘The Resolve Program is about ensuring people have the best possible mental health recovery journey, without the need for hospital admissions. In addition to being cost effective, good community support removes the isolation and stigma of hospitalisation and often results in people with a lived experience of a mental health issue enjoying meaningful and independent lives.’

While improving the mental health and wellbeing of hundreds of people, the Resolve SBB offers investor returns linked to Government savings generated through a reduction in participants’ consumption of Government-funded health and other services.

Anthony Rodwell-Ball, Chief Executive Officer of NGS Super commented:

‘NGS Super is delighted to be investing in Australia’s first mental health related social benefit bond, which underscores our commitment to ESG principles and provides the potential for attractive returns. We’re delighted to not only deliver the prospect of good returns to our members while also investing in the mental wellbeing of Australians.’

Elyse Sainty, SVA Director Impact Investing, commented:

‘SVA is delighted to have worked with Flourish Australia and with the NSW Government to develop this innovative impact investing opportunity and we are extremely pleased with the response we’ve had from investors. This investment will enable Flourish to deliver comprehensive and multi-faceted mental health support to hundreds of people – quite simply this bond will change lives.’

SVA’s track record in the impact investing space includes Australia’s first social impact bond (SIB), the NSW Newpin Social Benefit Bond, which has delivered strong social and financial returns since its inception in 2013.

Building on this success, SVA raised $9 million for South Australia’s first SIB, the Aspire Social Impact Bond, which aims to tackle homelessness, and recently closed applications for the $6 million Newpin Queensland Social Benefit Bond.