Fund offers £3.2m to groups with ideas for community businesses

The Bright Ideas Fund will open on 6 August, offering grants and support to community groups, associations and other organisations

Groups with ideas for community businesses will be able to apply for grants of up to £15,000 from next month.

The Bright Ideas Fund, worth a total of £3.2m, will open on 6 August, offering grants and tailored support to community groups, associations and organisations in England that have good ideas for community businesses but need help developing them.

Since the fund started in 2016, it has supported more than 80 groups with funding of £1.9m for projects including community cafes, a vegetable box delivery service, public baths and launderettes.

So far this year, another 30 applicants have been accepted onto the programme.

The initiative is funded by the local business charity Power to Change and delivered by Locality in partnership with Co-operatives UK, the Plunkett Foundation and Groundwork UK.

Over three years, the fund will give community groups the early-stage finance, support and tools they need to consult local people and develop community businesses.

Tony Armstrong, chief executive of Locality, said: "Whether you aim to start a local bus service or set up a health and wellbeing centre, community businesses generate jobs, tackle social isolation and boost the local economy.

"People all over England are bursting with bright ideas and we are really keen to find them in the areas that need them most, such as Bradford, Leicester, Hartlepool, Plymouth, Grimsby, Liverpool and Bristol."

Kate Stewart, director of programmes at Power to Change, said: "We’re delighted to be continuing Bright Ideas, to provide crucial support and funding for local people who have great ideas but need some support to make them a reality.

"We’ve had some incredible applications come in already, but we believe there are even more bright ideas out there, so please do get involved and apply."

The fund will be open until 30 September and more information can be found here.

For those interested in applying, a free webinar will take place on 16 July at 11am. More information about this can be found here.

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