Social enterprises are being encouraged to apply for the final round of The Social Enterprise Support Fund, which opens for applications today, Thursday 10th September at 1pm.
The Social Enterprise Support Fund was established in partnership by The National Lottery Community Fund and five social enterprise support agencies: Big Issue Invest, The Key Fund, Community Land & Finance CIC (also known as Resonance), the School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE) and UnLtd with support from CAF Venturesome, the Young Foundation and Ashoka. £18.7 million of National Lottery funding has been committed to the fund, made possible by National Lottery players.
The fund has so far received nearly 900 applications, and by 8th September had agreed to support over 400 social enterprises across the length and breadth of England with over £12.2 million in grant funding. Research shows that this crisis is disproportionately hurting communities who already experience social and economic inequalities. For the final round, eligibility for the fund has been widened to organisations with an annual income of between £20,000 and £1.8million.
The partners behind the scheme understand that social ventures need to plan to weather the ‘perfect storm’ they face: COVID-19 continuing, increased demand for their services, a global recession and the end of short-term Government support.
Danyal Sattar, CEO, The Big Issue Invest said: “Thanks to the National Lottery Communities Fund, through SESF at Big Issue Invest we have been able to support the enterprising trading charities and social enterprises that have been badly affected by the pandemic with grants to enable them to continue their work. It has been fast, effective, targeted support. People have taken on new ways of working and re-engineered their operations to deliver support to communities up and down the country. It is our society at its best.”
The fund has made a commitment to ensure that the grants reach businesses that are led by people most impact by Coronavirus. Over 70% of those funded so far were organisations have gone to leaders with lived experience.
Social enterprises are using the grants to keep critical services running or adapt to new circumstances as a result of Coronavirus. Some of the organisations so far funded include:
- Greenwich Cooperative Development Agency, who focus on addressing inequality and support communities to thrive. They do this through providing free learning opportunities, free health programmes including cookery, physical activity, walking, food growing and we run community hubs to provide these services and support the creation of new enterprises and co-operatives. Greenwich Co-operative Development Agency has been established for nearly 40 years.
- Sunderland Home Grown CIC, who provide training, volunteering and employment opportunities to adults with physical and learning difficulties. They operate out of a 1.5-acresite which includes bedding plants, poly tunnels, glass houses and out buildings which are used to provide structured learning placement for vulnerable adults, based in Thompson Park in Sunderland.
- Running Deer CIC was established in 2011. They provide opportunities for children, young people and adults including those at risk of exclusion;and local people & communities living in rural isolation without easy access to education,employment or training. They provide access to learning outside the classroom, training, volunteering, life skills opportunities and work experience in traditional and rural skills, bushcraft, animal assisted interventions, woodland and land conservation and related activities.