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Luke Cross, former editor of Social Housing Magazine, has joined integrated communications consultancy Social as a director to set up a specialist ESG communications division and lead the agency’s expansion into the City of London.

‘Social Invest’ will launch officially later in the autumn and will work with investors and the financial markets, the social and affordable housing sectors, local government and placemaking, and the development and real estate sectors.

It will help these organisations define and drive the positive social and environmental impact they are creating for local communities and society as a whole.

Social Invest will provide a number of services, including storytelling, thought leadership, communications & PR, content and research, and creative campaigns. It will also provide strategic counsel and help organisations position their impact investing and social purpose reporting.

Luke Cross said:

“For some time now the financial community has been moving towards a new way of thinking and investing, with environmental, social and governance issues heavily influencing decision-making.

“I’ve spent a number of years covering finance in social and affordable housing – now a sector that’s raising the bar in ESG reporting in the UK – and have seen how ‘good finance’ and the right kind of investment can connect with social purpose. Where Social Invest will come in is to help funders, non-profits and businesses tell their stories, define and amplify their message, and crucially, speak a common language, to each other and the wider world.

“I’m over the moon to be joining Social. I’ve worked with John and his team over the years and have seen first-hand their passion and enthusiasm for communities, social value and placemaking.”

Social has unrivalled experience and knowledge in communications for purpose-driven finance and investment, the public sector, placemaking, housing, regeneration, real estate and infrastructure.

John Quinton-Barber, Founder and CEO at Social, said:

“Setting up Social Invest with Luke at the helm is a perfect fit for Social. We are passionate about working with organisations that help to improve lives. In the ‘post COVID’ world, organisations are going to be under more scrutiny than ever about the way they deliver business. Luke’s experience and credibility with the target sectors mean they couldn’t be in better hands. We are delighted that he has joined us.”