Friday, 06 June 2014 07:34

New £150m community enterprise fund

Written by  Ruralcity Media
New £150m community enterprise fund

A NEW grant-making trust aims to encourage and support community-led enterprises.

The Big Lottery fund has awarded a contract to a consortium led by Locality, the Plunkett Foundation and UnLtd ahead of the launch of a planned £150m 'Power to Change' fund in autumn 2014.

Power to Change will see the establishment of the largest independent grant-making trust in recent years - awarding £150 million of grants to support community enterprise across England.

It will support projects where the ideas and needs of local people are driving change and developing sustainable business models.

This might be taking over empty commercial spaces or transferring resources into the ownership of local residents.

The support contract will invite small and large-scale enterprises - from rural and urban areas - to join a new peer learning group for support, tips and to meet pioneering community entrepreneurs who will share their experiences.

Hands-on support with business planning and legislation, events and an online network will mobilise the great talent, enthusiasm and creativity already out there in communities across England.

Locality chief executive Steve Wyler said: "Locality and partners have vast experience of supporting organisations to develop as community enterprises.

Many of Locality's members are working in deprived areas, and despite the current challenges are demonstrating incredible innovation.

They are leading the way in driving enterprise and asset ownership to change places and people's lives. We want to help drive this movement for change – a cultural shift where communities are decision-makers and holders of local wealth, a future of vibrant neighbourhoods."

Plunkett chief executive Peter Couchman said the three organisations were well-placed to inspire community-led enterprises in rural and urban areas.

"Communities across England are facing a range of significant challenges.

"We see each day how community enterprise and community management and ownership of assets are transforming places and improving people's lives.

"We have a shared ambition to help put communities in the driving seat, helping them to have ownership of what is important to them."

The Big Lottery Fund hopes that the new fund will provide a springboard for communities to flourish and thrive as enterprises taking charge of assets for community benefit.

UnLtd chief executive Cliff Prior said: "We've made great strides in finding, funding and supporting individuals to become 'community entrepreneurs' – people with the potential and creativity needed to change the places in which they live for the better.

"Community-level ventures have a vital role to play in addressing some of the tough social challenges facing our country today and we want to help boost the number and impact of people responding to local need and opportunity."

Further information about Power to Change can be found at www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/powertochange

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