by ANTONY CLAY
ENTREPRENEURS in Yorkshire and the Humber aiming to create a community business can now apply for cash from a £3.2 million pot.
The Bright Ideas Fund – run by Power to Change, an independent trust supporting community businesses in England, and delivered by Locality in partnership with Co-operatives UK, the Plunkett Foundation and Groundwork UK – is being launched for new applications on August 6.
The fund offers tailored support and grants of up to £15,000 to community groups, associations and organisations across England who have a good idea for a community business but need help developing it.
Over three years, the fund will give community groups the early stage finance they need to carry out consultations with local people to develop a community business idea, and will also give them support and tools to start setting it up.
Between September 2016 and December 2018, the Bright Ideas Fund supported more than 80 groups with £1.85m of grants. This year alone 30 applicants have been accepted onto the programme.
One organisation which benefiited from the Fund was Equal Care Co-op, a tech-friendly co-op in Hebden Bridge and Todmorden, West Yorkshire, which received funding in January of £15,000 to help build a digital platform to match care givers with care receivers.
Emma Back, from the Equal Care Co-op, said: “Bright Ideas has been instrumental in bringing us to a point where we’ve been able to launch our community share offer, build our community groups and help our transformation into a fully sustainable community, digital, caring co-operative.
“Every idea needs its seeds – Bright Ideas is where it’s at.”
Locality chief executive Tony Armstrong said: “Whether you aim to start a local bus service, or set up a health and well-being 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: “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.
“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 Community Business Bright Ideas Fund will close on Monday, September 30.
For information about the fund, visit mycommunity.org.uk/bright-ideas-fund/