Social enterprises are being encouraged to apply for the final round of The Social Enterprise Support Fund, which opens for applications on Thursday 10th September.
The Social Enterprise Support Fund was established in partnership by The National Lottery Community Fund and five social enterprise support agencies: Big Issue Invest, The Key Fund, Community Land & Finance CIC (also known as Resonance), the School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE) and UnLtd with support from CAF Venturesome, the Young Foundation and Ashoka. £18.7 million of National Lottery funding has been committed to the fund, made possible by National Lottery players.
The partners behind the scheme understand that social ventures need to plan to weather the ‘perfect storm’ they face: COVID-19 continuing, increased demand for their services, a global recession and the end of short-term Government support.
Mark Norbury, Chief Executive of UnLtd, explains,
“The fund has been a massive success – it looks like we’ll have got a vital £14m in grant funding to over 400 social enterprises in England over the first two rounds. We want to encourage as many social enterprises as possible – particularly those led by Black, Asian, minority ethnic or disabled people – to apply to our final round as possible. We want them to have the chance to get the funds they need to weather the perfect storm on the horizon. Thanks to National Lottery players, there are grants available now. Our message is: if your business has been affected by COVID-19, don’t hesitate. If you are eligible, apply for support.”
According to recent research, a quarter of social enterprises in the UK have cash flow for just three months or fewer. As the furlough scheme and other short-term support ends, four in ten social enterprises say the outlook for their business over the next six months looks uncertain.
The fund has so far received nearly 900 applications, and by 8th September had agreed to support over 400 social enterprises across the length and breadth of England with over £12.2 million in grant funding. Research shows that this crisis is disproportionately hurting communities who already experience social and economic inequalities. For the final round, eligibility for the fund has been widened to organisations with an annual income of between £20,000 and £1.8million.
The fund has made a commitment to ensure that the grants reach businesses that are led by people most impact by Coronavirus. Over 70% of those funded so far were organisations have gone to leaders with lived experience.
Social enterprises are using the grants to keep critical services running or adapt to new circumstances as a result of Coronavirus. Some of the organisations so far funded include:
We host a series of events throughout the UK each year. From classes and conferences, seminars and workshops to networking events and training sessions.
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