New match-funding scheme to help communities rebuild through Covid-19 goes live

Power to Change, the independent trust that supports community businesses in England, has launched Community Business ReBoost fund. A new match-funding programme, it is designed to help local communities recover, adapt and rebuild resilience through the Covid-19 pandemic.

Delivered in partnership with The Community Shares Unit – a joint initiative between Co-operatives UK and Locality – Community Business ReBoost will support community businesses to plan and prepare a community share offer. This will enable them to build business resilience, so they can continue to deliver their key services and protect their assets for the benefit of their local neighbourhoods.

These matched-funding grants aim to incentivise local people to invest in their local community businesses and assets through community shares. For every pound raised through community shares, Power to Change will match it up to £25,000. Development grants up to £5,000 are also available to help businesses to prepare a share offer.

The programme particularly targets existing community businesses who are community benefit societies, co-operatives societies or charitable community benefit societies. Established community businesses willing to convert to a society model to launch a community share offer can also be supported.

What support is available?

  • Development grants – up to £5,000 for community businesses to prepare a community share offer. The grant can fund: financial planning, governance support, marketing costs and achieving the Community Shares Standard Mark
  • Match equity investment – typically matching pound for pound up to £25,000 invested by the Booster Programme, providing that the minimum share offer target is achieved.

 

Vidhya Alakeson, CEO at Power to Change, said: “Engaging with local people is vital to the success and resilience of any community business. A community share offer is a very effective way for community businesses to not only to secure financial backing but also wider support from the local community. As we head into a second national lockdown, ReBoost matched investment offers organisations a real opportunity to tap into people’s interest in supporting and getting more involved in their local area, which has increased throughout the pandemic.”

To find out more about Community Business ReBoost, sign up to the webinar on Friday 13 November 2020 at 10am  https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_pS1DrxY0Q-qq6CwyIqAGbw

Supporting renewal  

Community Business ReBoost is part of a wider £5million package of support to enable community businesses affected by the Covid-19 crisis to adapt, renew and rebuild their businesses so they can remain financially viable and best serve their local communities during the pandemic’s constantly shifting landscape.

Along with the Community Business ReBoost, the scheme includes: the Community Business Renewal Fund providing £3million of unrestricted grants; Powering Up, capacity strengthening support to help community businesses increase knowledge, resilience and equip themselves to ‘re-boot’ successfully; a further match-funding programme, Community Business Crowdmatch, to support community businesses with different types of fundraising; tailored support to help community businesses protect community assets; and a programme of work highlighting the role community business can play in the economic recovery.

Building on an emergency response

In April 2020, Power to Change announced rapid emergency funding to support community businesses during lockdown. The money was available to community businesses that were previous Power to Change grantees along with members of Power to Change’s strategic partners – Co-operatives UK, Locality, SIB and the Plunkett Foundation – all of whom played a key role in designing this response. There was very high demand and Power to Change awarded more than 356 grants totalling £6.75million to community businesses in England.

It enabled many community businesses to carry on trading and diversify during lockdown, providing essential support in their communities – in some cases stepping-in to support local authorities to deliver services, particularly health and social care.

The money enabled community businesses to deal with immediate cash flow issues as a result of paused operations. 54 per cent of grantees used a portion of the money to pay staff salaries, whilst 18 per cent used some of the money to adapt assets so they could reopen and carry on trading.

Further information and support for community businesses is available at  www.powertochange.org.uk

To find out more about community shares go to: www.communityshares.org.uk

To read the guidance notes, go to: www.powertochange.org.uk/get-support/programmes/community-business-reboost-fund/

Ends 

For more information relating to the press release contact Natasha.ley@powertochange.org.uk or telephone 07725 565890

About Power to Change
Power to Change is the independent trust that supports community businesses in England.

Community businesses are locally rooted, community-led, trade for community benefit and make life better for local people. The sector owns assets worth £890m and comprises 9,000 community businesses across England who employ 33,600 people. (Source: Community Business Market 2019).

From pubs to libraries; shops to bakeries; swimming pools to solar farms; community businesses are creating great products and services, providing employment and training and transforming lives. Power to Change received its endowment from the National Lottery Community Fund in 2015.

www.powertochange.org.uk  @peoplesbiz

About The National Lottery Community Fund

We are the largest community funder in the UK – we’re proud to award money raised by National Lottery players to communities across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Since June 2004, we have made over 200,000 grants and awarded over £9 billion to projects that have benefited millions of people.

We are passionate about funding great ideas that matter to communities and make a difference to people’s lives. At the heart of everything we do is the belief that when people are in the lead, communities thrive. Thanks to the support of National Lottery players, our funding is open to everyone. We’re privileged to be able to work with the smallest of local groups right up to UK-wide charities, enabling people and communities to bring their ambitions to life. tnlcommunityfund.org.uk

About Co-operatives UK

Co-operatives UK is the network for Britain’s thousands of co-operatives. Together we work to promote, develop and unite member-owned businesses across the economy. From high street retailers to community owned pubs, fan owned football clubs to farmer controlled businesses, co-operatives are everywhere and together they are worth £36 billion to the British economy.

www.uk.coop

About Locality

Locality supports local community organisations to be strong and successful. Our national network of 1,200 members support hundreds of thousands of people every week. We offer specialist advice, peer learning and campaign with members for a fairer society. Together we unlock the power of community.

About the Community Shares Unit

The CSU is a joint initiative between Locality and Co-operatives UK, which since 2012 has had an overriding objective to grow a sustainable market and ensure the long-term success of the use of community shares to raise equity finance and participation, with due process and protection for investors, in a range of community and co-operative enterprises. Unlike other shares, community shares operate on a one member one vote system rather than number of shares. Members have the right to vote, and have an equal say in the direction of the business.