Community businesses in Suffolk are being offered the chance to grow and develop – with the help of a national £2.5 million funding pot.
The Community Business Fund from independent trust, Power to Change, will reopened on Tuesday, 11 September. The fund will offer grants between £50,000 and £300,000 to businesses in England trading for the benefit of and accountable to their local communities.
Suffolk is one of 10 places in England which Power to Change’s researchers believe will benefit the most from community business, so the Trust is particularly keen for applicants from the area.
Stutton Community Shop near Ipswich received £76,302 in grant money from the Community Business Fund April 2017.
Jenny Morris from Stutton Community Shop, said: “The grant we received from Power to Change meant we could move our community shop from our temporary, falling-apart, Portakabin, to a brand-new purpose built, truly lovely building which our customers enjoy visiting and our volunteers enjoy working in.
“We are a village of about 400 households with no shop, so it was vital that we continued to provide an essential basic service. The grant also meant we could include a cafe and this has proved such a benefit to the community generally and particularly for people who feel isolated. It’s proved to be a great meeting place and is used by our village’s good neighbour scheme to organise get-togethers. Power to Change was an obvious fund for us to apply to as its criteria fitted so closely with our own values and aims. What’s more, we found the application process straightforward and uncomplicated.”
This is the sixth round of the Community Business Fund, which has so far supported over 90 organisations in England to become more financially sustainable. From farms to libraries, canal moorings to cinemas, the fund supports a wide range of community businesses, which all operate in a way that delivers positive social impact.
Colette Harvey, Programme Manager at Power to Change, said: “We’re very excited to make a further £2.5m available to community businesses and aim to support 15 more organisations through this next round of funding. Community businesses are doing exceptional work at delivering more cohesive local communities and a stronger civil society. We look forward to receiving a broad range of applications from a wide variety of places and sectors.”
Community businesses have until midday on Tuesday 9 October to apply. Guidance on applications is available here, and potential applicants are encouraged to sign up to the Power to Change newsletter for updates. Grant awards will be made to the successful organisations at the start of 2019.
Power to Change will host a webinar on 13 September to give hopeful applicants an overview of the fund and its eligibility criteria. This is also a great opportunity for community businesses to ask any questions they might have about the application process. Register for the webinar here.
There will be further rounds of the Community Business Fund, with the next application window open in early 2019.
BE Group, Power to Change’s grant partner for the Community Business Fund, can answer any questions applicants have about this fund either by phone 0300 1240444 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org. Further information is available at www.powertochange.org.uk/funding/grants/community-business-fund/.