Finance: Community enterprise boosted by £4m Home Office funding

The Home Office has made £4m available to enable community organisations to let out workspaces for start-up social enterprises.

The Capital Programme Fund will be administered by the Adventure Capital Fund, which has said it is now a "permanent fixture" in the sector after its relaunch last week.

The new programme will augment the ACF's existing £5m equity investment fund for community projects and social enterprises, which runs until 2008.

The Capital Programme Fund will be the first new product launched by the Adventure Capital Fund since Home Secretary Charles Clarke confirmed in February that its lifespan would be extended after a three-year pilot phase.

Sue Peters, chief executive of the Adventure Capital Fund, said: "This fund is about enabling well-established organisations to support smaller organisations, while simultaneously providing them with a new source of income.

"It is designed in line with our objective to increase the sustainability of community organisations."

Action for Business (Bradford) is one social enterprise to benefit from ACF funding, which has enabled it to provide both financial support and facilities for its local basketball team.

Attending the Capital Programme Fund launch, charities minister Paul Goggins said: "The Government strongly believes in supporting local communities to grow and develop.

"The fund will specifically benefit small, front-line organisations that need help to start up and become self-sufficient. It will support the provision of low-cost work space in which local community bodies can flourish."

Under ACF's investment strategy, organisations receive mentoring and business advice, as well as financial support. They can receive loans for up to ten years and share profit or equity type investments, or gift capital, where the ACF eschews a financial return but expects to receive "very explicit" social returns.

The ACF is funded by the Home Office, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, the Department of Trade and Industry and several regional development agencies.

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