We’re hiring: Social Investment Programme Manager

By News Team


The Real Farming Trust is looking for a highly numerate and organised Programme Manager with excellent communication skills who has experience of managing funding programmes.

About the job

The RFT’s social investment programme, LEAP, was launched in 2019 and we are now launching the second round of investment. LEAP is a funding programme for agroecological and community food businesses and offers a mix of loans, grants and business advice and support. For this round we have nearly £1.5m of funding to disburse and are hoping to support around 40 businesses over 3 years. Investment decisions are made by LEAP’s Investment Committee which meets every quarter.

This is an exciting opportunity to lead this important, high profile and much valued programme.

You will work very closely with one of the RFT’s Executive Directors, our Social Impact Manager and our Communications Manager to successfully deliver this programme over the next 3 years. You will report directly to the Executive Director.

Your tasks will include:

  • Leading the lending process, from initial expression of interest to drawdown of funds
  • Mentoring, mainly around business plan development and financial forecasting
  • Management of mentoring process and liaising with external mentors
  • Marketing the programme and ensuring a good pipeline of investments
  • Loan book administration and portfolio management

We’re looking for a highly numerate and organised Programme Manager with excellent communication skills who has experience of managing funding programmes such as this. This will be a highly rewarding position for candidates who want to use their previous professional expertise to successfully deliver a charitable funding programme supporting mission-driven social enterprises and community businesses.

An understanding of agroecological food and farming would be advantageous, but is not essential.

You will thrive in this role if:

  • You have at least 3 years of experience of providing funding and/or investment to small businesses in a similar charity or corporate setting
  • You are highly numerate and have sound technical financial analysis skills including the ability to evaluate financial statements, business plans and financial models
  • You have strong Excel skills including the ability to build and evaluate financial models
  • You are highly organised with good programme management skills and a track record of successfully meeting multiple deadlines
  • You are able to advise and guide investees through the lending process whilst carrying out meticulous due diligence and evaluation throughout
  • You have experience of advising businesses, social enterprises and/or community businesses on growth and development
  • You are a people person with a proven ability to build strong working relationships, and with excellent written and verbal communication skills that enable you to sensitively and confidently ask questions when necessary and manage tricky situations
  • You have worked in a small organisation so understand the multi-varied nature of a role like this
  • You have a passion for supporting mission-driven social enterprises and community businesses

A typical week will be taken up with the following key tasks:

  • A lot of Zoom meetings with applicants, investees and other members of the team
  • Occasional site visits to businesses across the UK
  • Assessing applications and reviewing business plans
  • Plenty of number crunching – you’ll be spending a lot of time looking at spreadsheets and financial reports
  • A lot of report writing
  • Advising and supporting applicants, and acting as a critical friend

What else you need to know:

  • This is a 4 day per week position (0.8FTE)
  • We do not have an office. We all work remotely from home and meet twice a year in person for a couple of days each time. Everyone is expected to come to the offsites
  • You will need to provide your own laptop and phone
  • We all work flexibly but you will be expected to do the majority of your work between 9am and 6pm during weekdays
  • You will report to one of the Executive Directors

Key Responsibilities

Pipeline development

  • Actively seeking out and maintaining a healthy pipeline of mission-aligned investment opportunities with support from the Communications Manager

Lending process

  • Triage of expressions of interest
  • Writing application assessments and due diligence reports for LEAP Investment Committee and RFT Board
  • Site visits and all communication with applicants
  • Presentation of reports to the Investment Committee each quarter
  • Agreement of loan terms and preparation of agreements with investees

Investment readiness process

  • Mentoring of applicants mainly around business planning and financial forecasting, supporting them to grow and achieve their aims
  • Management of mentoring process (preparation of investment readiness plans and budgets, commissioning and liaising with consultants, managing budgets, timeline and outputs etc)

Portfolio management

  • Monitoring and reporting of investee plans and progress and financial performance
  • Management of risks
  • Loan restructuring and ongoing support for loans at risk where necessary
  • Preparation of quarterly portfolio performance and risk reports for Investment Committee
  • Loan book administration

Programme management

  • Manage all operational functions of the programme including monitoring programme expenses against budget, contracting with external advisors, managing investee requirements and keeping accurate records of all of the above
  • Reporting to funders and stakeholder management
  • Payments and reconciliation with QuickBooks
  • Continuous improvement of the lending process
  • Development of knowledge base and resources where applicable and communication of learnings

The benefits you will get

  • Salary: £36,000-£40,000 pro rata, depending on experience
  • 20 days annual leave, plus Bank Holidays, pro rata increasing by 2 days for every year of completed service
  • Flexible working to suit your other commitments during the week
  • Employer matched pension of 4%
  • Annual personal development / training budget of £250

How to apply

Please email your CV, two referees (including at least one work reference), and a covering letter (no more than 2 pages) detailing why you think you are suitable for the role and why you would like to join our team to Robert Fraser at robert@realfarming.org by 5pm on Monday 17th July. If you have questions about the role, please feel free to email Robert at the above address and he will be happy to help you.

What will happen after you have sent in your application

  • We will let all applicants know if they have been shortlisted for an interview by 5pm on Tuesday 18th July. If you have not heard from us by then, then unfortunately you have not been shortlisted.
  • Interviews will take place online on Wednesday 26th or Thursday 27th July between 9am and 4pm. If these dates or timings are difficult for you, please tell us in your application.
  • We will ask you to pre-prepare a task relevant to the role to present back to us at the interview. The interview pack will be sent out on 18th July with details of this task and any pre-set questions. The aim of the interview is to help you show us how you would do the role, not to catch you out.
  • We will let you know in advance who will be on the interview panel and their role within the RFT.

Equity and Anti-Oppression

We are committed to becoming a more inclusive workplace with a diverse staff body. We believe this is essential to our effectiveness as an organisation and our ability to fulfil our mission of “good food for everyone, forever”. We need to address both inequity and oppression within our work if we are to meet our aim. There will be tensions that this work creates and difficult questions that we need to address both internally and externally.

We know that people with certain backgrounds and characteristics are underrepresented in our team and in alternative food and farming movement, and we want to address this. We are committed to working proactively to dismantle these systems of oppression and ensure equal opportunities for everyone, regardless of their background.

We have started to do this work internally, but we know there is much more to do. Every member of RFT staff is involved and part of this work. We have an internal Equity and Anti-Oppression Group that leads and monitors this work and reports to the Board.

Equality and Diversity Monitoring Form

The Real Farming Trust is committed to promoting equality and diversity in line with the Equality Act 2010, providing an inclusive and co-operative environment in which all individuals feel respected. Filling in this equality and diversity monitoring form is voluntary. The information you provide will be kept confidential and will only be used for monitoring purposes. Please don’t enter any information that would identify you. This form is kept separately from your application and will not be seen by interviewers.

Please note that due to the volume of applications we usually receive, we regret that we are unable to offer feedback to individual applicants.


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