Happy 5th birthday to us!

The two commitments we’re making this year

It’s our 5th birthday! And we’d like to take the opportunity to celebrate the incredible work of community businesses and tell you a bit about how are developing our support for the sector in 2020.

We estimate that there are now 9,000 community businesses, built, run and nurtured by 33,600 incredible staff and 205,600 volunteers who care passionately about their communities.

Since 2015, we have awarded over £70 million in grants to over 1,000 community businesses up and down the country to help them build, grow and sustain businesses that support the local economy, provide vital services to their communities and engage people in shaping the future of their place. Our ambition has always been to be more than a funder, and this year we’ve made two commitments to help influence real change in the sector.

A living wage funder enabling community businesses to pay fare wages too

Firstly, we’ve become a Living Wage Funder, joining 45 other funders who are leading the way in tackling low pay in the charity sector. This means that any grants we provide for salary costs will cover the costs of the Real Living Wage.

We’re also going to help community businesses who want to become Living Wage Employers. The Living Wage is independently calculated based on what employees and their families need to live. It’s higher than the minimum wage and the National Living wage and includes a UK rate and a separate one for London reflecting the higher costs of living in the capital. In the charity sector, 26% of UK workers earn less that the Living Wage and we want to help boost that number so that every community business we fund can become a Living Wage Employer if they want to.

Our commitment to the climate

We’re also committing to playing our part in tackling the climate crisis and helping the community business sector to do the same. In response to this, Power to Change has signed the ACF’s Funder Commitment on Climate Change – a set of guidelines that we and other funders and NGOs have committed to abide by in order to make our investments, operations and programmes sustainable, and contribute to a fair and lasting transition to a post-carbon society. It is no easy feat, but the issue of climate change affects us all and therefore it is everyone’s responsibility to play their part.

We’ve already committed over £10m to climate positive sectors such as community energy and support a significant number of community businesses with a strong commitment to addressing the climate and ecological emergency. Going forward, we’ll be exploring what more we can do as an organisation and through the funding and support we offer.

Looking to the future

By 2022, many of our current funding programmes will have run their course. But we are conscious it will take many more years to measure the impact they’ve had, and use that to make an even stronger case for community business to help every place thrive in the country. And we know that Power to Change is one of the only dedicated funders in this market and without more allies, progress may stall. That is why we will be seeking new funding to continue to back community businesses, gather evidence to get more people involved and support this powerful movement for an additional five years. So here’s to getting older and having more impact!