The Bright Ideas Fund is now open for applications until 31 July. Please read the guidance before applying. Find out if you are eligible and apply.

The Community Business Bright Ideas Fund aims to give community groups in England the support to start setting up their community business. Groups accepted onto the programme will receive one to one business development support and be invited to apply for a small grant to fund development and start-up costs, such as feasibility studies, legal and other fees connected with developing governance, taking ownership of a building or other asset, community engagement, business planning and more.

The programme is run by Locality and offers:

  • Specialist support with creating a development plan for your community business
  • Mentoring and visits to inspire you and enable you to learn from peers
  • Regional networking and events to learn from experts in the field
  • The opportunity to apply for a grant of up to £15,000

Interested community groups can already read the guidance and register for the ‘Is Bright Ideas right for you?’ webinar on 18 June.

Case Study: Kitty's Launderette, Liverpool

Restoring a launderette at the heart of the community

Residents in North Liverpool had the bright idea to turn a disused launderette into a vibrant community hub, offering much more than clean clothes. Named after Kitty Wilkinson who helped her neighbours avoid a cholera epidemic by washing their clothes in 1832, the new community launderette will provide a vital service. But it’s also hoping to run events and creative activities in the space to increase social cohesion in the very diverse area. The Bright Ideas Fund has helped them register the business and secure the premises amongst other things.

Find out more about Kitty's Launderette

Case Study: Permafuture Agroecology

A veg box scheme for community benefit

The town of Bentley near Doncaster in Yorkshire is a classic ‘food desert’ – 94% of people live within walking distance of a fast food outlet and there is no independent greengrocer serving the town’s 21,000 strong population. Set up with the intention of promoting restorative and urban farming to create new opportunities for
economic regeneration in the area, Permafuture Agroecology accessed funding through the Bright Ideas Programme to become a co-operative business and to set up a veg box scheme. Profits from the veg they sell will be used to repair and maintain a disused horticultural training centre for the benefit of the local community.

Find out more about Permafuture Agroecology

Case study: Litherland REMYCA Football Club

Putting a football club into community ownership

Litherland REMYCA Football Club has been around for over 50 years but only recently decided to become community-owned. They turned into a co-operative, with a one member one vote model so local people can have a say in the running of the club. The Bright Ideas Fund has helped them improve their community engagement, marketing, business planning and impact measurement skills.

Find out more about 'The Remy'.

Case study: St Ann's Redevelopment Trust

Turning a derelict site into proper affordable housing

When part of St Ann’s Hospital in Haringey, North London was put up for sale to private housing developers, only 14% of those proposed new homes were classed as  “affordable”. In response, a group of Haringey resident and workers set up a community land trust, a membership organisation of 350 people who live, work or have strong connections to Haringey. It aims to build 500 genuinely affordable homes on the hospital site currently up for development and will work closely with City Hall who have now purchased the site. Through the Bright Ideas Fund, StART developed its business plan, revised its financial model, improved its accountability to the community and produced a brochure for investors.

Find out more about StART.

The Community Business Bright Ideas Fund offers around community groups based in England, up to 15 days of tailored support and grants of up to £10,000 to develop their budding community business ideas.

Jointly funded by Power to Change and the Department for Communities and Local Government, the programme is delivered by a consortium including Co-operatives UK, Plunkett Foundation and Groundwork UK, led by Locality.