Grants to boost social enterprise

The Office of the Third Sector has announced that seven organisations from the social enterprise movement will share £3m over three years to help ensure the sector's voice is heard by policy-makers.

That figure represents an increase of £600,000 on the £2.4m mooted when the programme was announced in the Government's Social Enterprise Action Plan last November. The extra cash will be used to fund a drive, led by the Social Enterprise Coalition (SEC), to integrate black and minority ethnic social enterprises into the wider social enterprise community, as well as ensure their distinctive voice is heard.

The other organisations that will be funded are the School for Social Entrepreneurs, social enterprise support charity UnLtd, employment creation charity Social Firms UK, co-operatives umbrella group Co-operatives UK, women's business support network Prowess, rural enterprise promotion charity the Plunkett Foundation and a national social enterprise Olympics partnership led by Social Enterprise London in partnership with the SEC. All were chosen through open competition.

A spokesman for the Office of the Third Sector said the money would be used to "implement the necessary infrastructure to ensure good quality representation of sector interests in policymaking".

The measures are part of the Government's wider Strategic Partners programme, which provides funding to third sector organisations to enable them to fairly reflect the views of their members to Government through activities including events, conferences, research and consultation.

Last week the Office of the Third Sector announced that a consortium headed by the Social Enterprise Coalition had been chosen to deliver its programme to raise the profile of the sector in society generally by developing a network of unpaid ‘ambassadors' from within the sector.

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