Following weeks of lobbying by social economy representatives the Westminster Government has announced new funding to help social enterprises, including many co-ops and community businesses, deal with the financial challenges of COVID-19.
On 20 May, the Culture Secretary announced that £30 million of blended finance (mix of grants and loans) would be provided to social enterprises to help them deal with cash flow problems and to rebuild.
This money will be distributed via Access Foundation.
Co-operatives UK is seeking more information on how this could support co-ops hit financially by the pandemic.
A victory for joint lobbying
Since the end of April, sector organisations including Co-operatives UK, Social Enterprise UK, Plunkett, Locality and Community Leisure UK have been lobbying together, under the banner #SaveOurSocEnts, to convince government to provide more targeted support for the social economy.
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Almost 1,000 social enterprise, including more than 100 Co-operatives UK members, have signed up in support of the campaign so far. We encourage all our members to do so here.
A common priority, informed by survey data from our members, has been for blended financial support comprising:
- Targeted emergency grants, particularly for businesses that have missed out on the rates-based schemes
- Patient, ultra-low interest loans tailored to social business models
This latest funding release by government shows that it is listening to our concerns and demonstrates the power of focused collective action.
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