The Social Enterprise Support Fund will provide essential financial support between £10,000 and £300,000 to help social enterprises during COVID-19.
Five social enterprise support agencies have come together to deliver the new fund which launches today. Big Issue Invest, The Key Fund, Resonance, the School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE) and UnLtd will jointly deliver £18.7 million in grants, with support from CAF Venturesome, the Young Foundation and Ashoka.
This has been made possible thanks to The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK.
The UK’s 100,000 social enterprises have been at the heart of community survival and recovery during this crisis, from making PPE for health workers, to providing food and connection in their neighbourhoods.
The Social Enterprise Support Fund responds to an urgent need in the sector to help social enterprises change the way they work, make their spaces COVID-secure, and manage liquidity during the next six months.
The fund is aimed at social enterprises in England supporting people at high health risk from COVID-19, and those supporting people facing increased social and economic challenges as a result of COVID-19.
Vulnerable people need this support more than ever, but social ventures are struggling to make enough income to meet this need. Research shows that this crisis is disproportionately hurting communities who already experience social and economic inequalities.
The partners welcome The National Lottery Community Fund’s recognition of the valuable contribution to our economy and society which social enterprises make, enabling a fund that will help critical businesses survive and thrive.
The fund is committed to inclusion, working to ensure that the grants reach groups that are led by people from BAME communities, LGBTQ+ communities, people with disabilities, and leaders with lived experience of the issues that the social enterprise is addressing.
The support agencies delivering the Social Enterprise Support Fund have come together around a common purpose and shared principles of fairness, flexibility, inclusivity, accountability and transparency.
Through this partnership, the funds will be able to reach those who need it the most and enable communities to build back better.
Welcoming the launch of the fund Mark Norbury, Chief Executive, UnLtd said:
"Social entrepreneurs are delivering crucial community support, while balancing their operations, finances, mental health, and social distancing. The virus, the economic crash, and inaccessible support are hitting vulnerable communities the hardest, and an unprecedented pandemic requires an unprecedented response. We understand that disproportionately affected communities require disproportionate relief. At UnLtd we specifically request social enterprises led by marginalised people to apply for this grant support."
Dawn Austwick, Chief Executive of The National Lottery Community Fund, said:
“These partnerships will extend the reach of National Lottery funding at a time when communities need it most. They are each experts in their field, which is why we’re delighted to be working alongside them. Their local knowledge, dedication and network of contacts will be critical in supporting the distribution of much needed funding at a critical time for communities. We’re grateful to them for working with us so closely and of course to National Lottery players for making this emergency response possible.”
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