Power to Change sets up £10m fund for community businesses

The Community Business Fund will help businesses that benefit local communities

A new £10m fund to help community-run businesses become more sustainable has opened for applications.

The Community Business Fund has been set up by the grant-making foundation Power to Change, a £150m programme that invests in community enterprises and is financed by the Big Lottery Fund.

The CBF is designed to help businesses that trade for the benefit of, are accountable to and have a positive impact on their local communities.

According to guidelines for applicants published by Power to Change, the money is available only to community businesses, and applicants can request between £50,000 and £300,000.

The fund will provide grants to cover capital or revenue costs and will help community businesses become more sustainable, such as by diversifying their income or refurbishing buildings, a Power for Change spokeswoman said.

She said the current funding round would close on 1 June, but further five-week funding rounds would be held in July and October.

The maximum funding available for any project would be 75 per cent of the total costs because Power for Change wanted the projects to get backing from their local communities, she said.

The guidance explains that grants are not available for day-to-day running costs, to reimburse money already spent or to pay for costs that are being covered by another party.

Vidhya Alakeson, chief executive of Power to Change, said: "Our new £10m fund will support existing community businesses to continue to grow, prosper and sustain themselves long into the future."

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