Community co-ops are being encouraged to apply to the £700,000 fourth round of the Bright Ideas Fund before the 14 August deadline.
Power to Change, the independent trust supporting community businesses in England, expects to award up to £200,000 in business development support and £500,000 in grants.
Successful applicants will receive one-to-one business development support and be invited to apply for a grant of up to £15k to fund development and start-up costs, such as feasibility studies, business planning, legal and other governance development fees, and costs around taking ownership of a building or other asset.
"This is a chance for communities to take back control. Any business can be a community business and there are almost 7,000 in England alone right now with a combined market income of £1.2bn. How they differ is that any profits flow back into the immediate community to deliver positive social impact for local people." Sara Buchanan, Programme Manager, Bright Ideas
Co-operatives UK, alongside delivery partners Locality, the Plunkett Foundation and Groundwork UK, has already supported close to 100 community businesses though the fund. The apex body for the UK's 7,000 co-operatioves has been particularly instrumental in developing those ideas geared towards member ownership and control. Kitty's Laundrette in Liverpool is on the road to becoming a co-operative providing an affordable, essential laundry service as well as acting as a community hub.
Shotley Pier successfully raised £116,000 from their community share offer in order to renovate a 122-year-old Victorian pier and received matched equity funding through the Community Shares Booster programme. And Par Track Ltd is a newly-established charitable community benefit society that will manage Par running track and associated football pitches and leisure areas.
The Bright Ideas Fund offers:
- Specialist support with creating a development plan for your community business
- Mentoring and visits to inspire you and enable you to learn from peers
- Regional networking and events to learn from experts in the field
- The opportunity to apply for a grant of up to £15,000
Interested community co-ops and other organisations can read the Bright Ideas guidance notes and check their eligibility here.