Bright Ideas Fund to help 150 community business start-ups

The funding is allocated through the £3.2m Community Business Bright Ideas Fund

Around 150 groups across England will receive up to £15,000 to develop community businesses.

The grants will pay for local consultations to help businesses develop ideas, as well as support, tools and initial start-up costs.

The funding is allocated through the £3.2m Community Business Bright Ideas Fund backed by independent trust Power to Change and delivered by Locality in partnership with Co-operatives UK, the Plunkett Foundation and Groundwork UK.

Between September 2016 and December 2018, the Bright Ideas Fund supported over 80 groups – including community cafés, veg box deliveries and public baths – with £1.85m

One project to receive support is Kitty’s Launderette, a community launderette and social space in Liverpool. It received a grant in 2017 to develop its organisation and business model, access finance and bookkeeping training and expand its marketing and communications capacity.

Grace Harrison from Kitty’s Launderette said: “The support and guidance we’ve received has been absolutely fantastic. I was particularly impressed with how flexible the training has been and how it was able to address our specific organisational needs. It’s been robust and detailed but not bogged down in admin which can obstruct what you’re trying to achieve.”

Locality chief executive Tony Armstrong said: “The Bright Ideas Fund will give organisations a chance to make a real difference to the lives of people in their neighbourhoods by getting their community businesses off the ground.

“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 we want you to apply. People all over England are bursting with bright ideas and we are really keen to find them in the areas that need them most like Bradford, Leicester, Hartlepool, Plymouth, Grimsby, Liverpool and Bristol.”

Kate Stewart, director of programmes at Power to Change, said: “As the organisation set up to support and grow community businesses in England, we’re delighted to be continuing Bright Ideas, to provide crucial support and funding for local people who have a great idea but need some support to make it a reality.”

The grants are available to community groups, associations and organisations looking to set up community businesses. Applications will be open between 26 February and 9 April at Additional rounds of funding will follow.

Those interested can also register for a webinar at 11am on Wednesday, 13 March, where they can learn more about the application process.