Independent trust Power to Change has launched Powering Up, a tailored package of support to enable community business leaders to increase their knowledge, capacity and business skills to help them navigate the coronavirus pandemic.
Leaders can access a mix and match package of support that best suits them and their business needs. Support could include: business skills advice; human resource advice; financial planning; digitisation and moving services online; business planning in changing times; and peer to peer mentoring alongside wellbeing and coaching sessions. Each successful organisation will be assigned a Link Worker to help them identify and access the support they need and help resolve any issues along the way.
Powering Up is open to all community businesses in England; however, priority will be given to community businesses in England’s most deprived areas as well as to organisations supporting and led by disabled people and/or people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME)* groups.
Led by Power to Change, Powering Up is a partnership with its national delivery partners: Locality, School for Social Entrepreneurs, Plunkett Foundation, The Ubele Initiative, Coops UK and Eastside Primetimers. Successful applicants may use a local service provider, if they already have a successful working relationship and meet the programme criteria.
Vidhya Alakeson, CEO at Power to Change, said: “The community business sector has a wealth of talent and experience; however, if they are to survive this constantly shifting social and economic landscape they must ensure they have the right skills and knowledge to remain agile. By delivering tailored support where it is needed most, Powering Up is giving community business leaders the tools they need to build business resilience now, so they are in the best possible shape to tackle the challenges ahead.”
Powering Up 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 Powering Up, the scheme includes: the Community Business Renewal Fund providing £3million of unrestricted grants; Community Business ReBoost providing matched-funding grants aimed at boosting community shares income; 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.
* Please note, we are going through a process of reviewing our terminology, including the use of the term ‘BAME’, and will complete this review in 2021.
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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.
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