Community-minded organisations operating in the Liverpool City Region can apply for seven days of business mentoring and support and a financial contribution of up to £1,000, thanks to a new programme being delivered by The Women’s Organisation in partnership with community business champions, Power to Change.

The Financial Capability Improvement Academy is a unique programme designed to help organisations and businesses maximise their impact within the community, build their financial capabilities, and develop strong networks of support.

Up to three people from each organisation can join the programme and benefit from a series of specially curated workshops, peer mentoring and one-to-one support from a dedicated business adviser.

The programme has been designed to help participating businesses identify funders and revenue streams, focus on the needs of their communities post-COVID, and strengthen the opportunities for future collaborative working across their respective sectors.

Tim Davies-Pugh, interim CEO at Power to Change, said:

“Right across the country, and particularly post pandemic, more and more businesses are altering the way they operate, prioritising local needs and taking action to make the places they live and work better.

“Community businesses improve our communities in a real and demonstrable way, from saving local shops and creating leisure facilities, to providing training and employment opportunities for local people and helping to build affordable housing.

“But in essence, community businesses can be any type of business that trades products and services such as shops, transport, farms, hubs, pubs, gardens or leisure centres, run by local people for the benefit of the local community.

“Fundamentally, community businesses are locally rooted, accountable to the community, trading for community benefit and creating local impact through jobs and investment. If your organisation reflects those three core values, we want to hear from you.”

Maggie O’Carroll, chief executive at The Women’s Organisation, said:

“We’re so pleased to be partnering with Power to Change on what we believe is a vitally important project.

“Community businesses across the Liverpool City Region provide valuable services to communities and employment opportunities across all six boroughs.

“But those businesses are faced with a growing number of challenges, particularly as we recover from the pandemic.

“Community businesses should be integral to any strategy to advance or recover. They are the foundation of our local ecosystem, essential in terms of empowering and harnessing local talent, as well as attracting and sustaining local investment.

“Across the UK, we are concerningly close to losing many of those community businesses that are the lifeblood of local economies and help create a sense of belonging and community cohesion. We believe we must do all we can to preserve, protect and promote them if we stand any chance of a successful recovery post-pandemic.”

About the partners

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 £870m and comprises 11,300 community businesses across England who employ more than 37,000 people. (Source: Community Business Market 2020). Power to Change received an original endowment from the National Lottery Community Fund in 2015 and a further £20million grant in 2021.
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

The Women’s Organisation is an award-winning social enterprise based in Liverpool, directly providing enterprise development services and learning programmes to individuals and organisations across Liverpool City Region and Greater Manchester. It has helped to start and scale more than 4,000 businesses since it was established in 1996.

The Financial Capability Improvement Academy is being delivered by The Women’s Organisation at its headquarters at 54 St James Street, as part of Power to Change’s Financial Innovation Pilot programme.

For more information, or to apply, email hello@thewo.org.uk