Friday, 15 May 2015 13:15

New funding for Devon communities

Written by  Ruralcity Media
New funding for Devon communities

FUNDING worth £450,000 is being made available to help support social enterprises in Devon.

The Community Impact Support Scheme (CISS) seeks to meet community needs arising from welfare reform and wider public sector budget cuts.

Expressions of interest should be submitted via Devon County Council's communities website from Monday (18 May) until 12 June.

Applications are welcomed from organisations within the social economy who work to support people most affected by welfare reform, focusing on those who are unemployed or in work but heavily benefit-dependent.

Successful applicant organisations will be supported to become more attractive to a range of other investment opportunities - such as from the private sector and social investment - and in turn help secure their long term sustainability.

CISS support will comprise one-off grants, typically ranging from £10,000 to £50,000, together with access to business support.

Applicants will be encouraged to develop ideas, business plans and financial forecasts to make sure they are 'investment ready'.

As far as possible, the CISS will also assist with signposting and cross-referrals to other potential sources of support and financial advice.

It is estimated that £343m per year will be taken out of the Devon economy through reductions to welfare benefits with the losses impacting on working age households.

"This scheme is the latest in a number of investments made by the county council towards supporting a strong social economy in recognition of the increasingly important role of this sector," said Barry Parsons, the local authority's cabinet member for performance and engagement.

"We have shared best practice in this field with peers across the UK and Europe through our programmes with the Young Foundation and the SEEING Project and we are continuing to take this work forward."

The council believes it can sometimes take just a small amount of financial assistance or help with business planning to get an organisation up and running.

The scheme is being run by DCC's Economy and Enterprise service in partnership with district councils and other key stakeholders.

These include Dartington School for Social Entrepreneurs, Devon Community Foundation, Devon Communities Together, Devon & Somerset Business Finance Network and Department for Work & Pensions.

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