Community co-ops are being encouraged to apply for a share of around £900,000 through the Bright Ideas Fund.
The £1.85m scheme, funded by the Department for Communities and Local Government and Power to Change, gives community groups tailored support and funding of up to £20,000 to develop ideas that the community wants and needs.
Co-operatives UK, alongside fellow delivery partners Locality and the Plunkett Foundation, helped provide business development advice worth some £234,000 in the first round of the Bright Ideas Fund. The second round opens on 19 April and closes on 31 May.
"Do you have a local community asset that you’ve saved but don’t know what it could be turned into? Or a community business idea that you don’t know how to get off the ground? If you are a community group or organisation who would like to set up a community business but need a bit of help, the Community Business Bright Ideas programme is for you."
The fund aims to invest £1.85m over two years, helping around 80 community businesses to progress from ideas to ventures. In the first round 49 local groups were chosen to share £695,000 in grants.
Co-operatives UK has been instrumental in supporting a number of the first round applicants. Liverpool Laundrette is on the road to becoming a co-operative providing an affordable, essential laundry service. It offers an events/social space and enjoyed business support through The Hive after attending an 'Is a co-op right for you?' session.
The 122-year-old Shotley Heritage Pier was registered by Co-operatives UK and is receiving support through the Community Shares' Booster Programme. And The Playground, a community skatepark in Great Yarmouth, is heavily linked with Co-operatives UK's Community Economic Development programme.
Guidance on applying to the Bright Ideas Fund will be available to groups from 3 April on the MyCommunity website.
Power to Change and Locality will host an FAQs webinar on 11 April. The webinar will run through examples of groups funded in the first round; the criteria; the application process; and FAQs; followed by a live Q&A session. Sign up to the webinar here.