The Bright Ideas Fund will be opening for new applications on Wednesday 26 February. The fund offers tailored support and grants of up to £15,000 to community groups, associations and organisations across England who have a great idea for a community business and want to develop it further but need some support.
Over three years, the fund will give community groups the early stage finance they need to carry out consultations with local people to develop their community business idea and will also give them the support and tools to start setting it up. The programme is funded by Power to Change and delivered by Locality in partnership with Co-operatives UK, the Plunkett Foundation and Groundwork UK.
In 2019, from two rounds of applications, 60 applicants were accepted onto the programme and are currently working through a tailored and structured support programme.
East Morton Community Shop based in Keighley, Bradford, serves its local community not only as a convenience store but also as a strong social hub and a focal point for the village. The business development support received under the Bright Ideas Fund, particularly the study visits and the guidance and support, helped to build and increase the group’s credibility. Notably, they went on to secure a major award of £160,913 from the National Lottery Community Fund.
Richard Tassell, Chairman of East Morton Community Shop said: “There is no doubt the Bright Ideas funding gave us more confidence, and the support of an adviser and the other professionals was invaluable.”
Locality Chief Executive Tony Armstrong said: “Community businesses generate jobs, tackle social isolation, provide vital services and boost the local economy. Whether your focus is on young people or mental health or something completely different that benefits your community – we want and need you to apply! People all over England are passionate about their community and have some really bright ideas. We’d particularly like to encourage applications from areas that need community support the most, like Hartlepool, Grimsby, Wigan, Leicester, Plymouth and Bradford.”
Kate Stewart, Director of Programmes at Power to Change, said: “We’re delighted to be continuing Bright Ideas, to provide crucial support and funding for local people who have a great idea but need some support to make it a reality. We’ve had some incredible applications come in already but we believe there are even more bright ideas out there so please do get involved and apply.”
The Community Business Bright Ideas Fund will be open for applications from Wednesday 26 February and will close on Tuesday 7 April.
Anyone interested in applying can join a free webinar on Tuesday 3 March at 1.30pm. To register for the webinar and access a recording of it, follow this link: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_y-utiuR_QYGw-lXFF9MEzQ
For further information about the fund, visit mycommunity.org.uk/bright-ideas-fund/
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.
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