BLF sets up £150m community enterprise fund

Nat Sloane, chair of BLF England, says Power to Change will invest in organisations that engage with local communities

Nat Sloane
Nat Sloane

The Big Lottery Fund has announced a new £150m programme that will invest in organisations that engage directly with local communities.

BLF said the programme, launched today and called Power to Change, was its largest community enterprise fund and would open to applications in autumn 2014.

A community enterprise is defined by the funder as one in which the lead partner is a charity, social enterprise, not-for-profit or cooperative.

The organisation must be locally based and inclusive of all in its community. It must have a sustainable business plan and aim to become viable without grants or public funding, the BLF said.

The fund was launched at an event in Manchester that brought together organisations in the community-led movement.

A BLF spokeswoman said it was too early to say how much funding community enterprises would be able to apply for, how many would receive grants or how the application process would work.

Nat Sloane, chair of BLF England, said: "The new fund will provide communities that are feeling the impact of tough economic times with the opportunity to make real people-powered change in their local areas. It will support people to get things done and sort out problems with enterprising new solutions.

"Power to Change enables everyone to have a stake in their local community and its future growth, and to take pride in restoring and revitalising community spirit at a time of uncertainty and upheaval."

BLF said it would be working with Trinity Mirror as a media partner to showcase examples of community enterprise around England.

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