Anyone in the South East with ‘bright ideas’ for a community business can apply for a share of the £3.2m being made available by independent charitable trust, Power to Change – and that includes Hastings! (see HIP Issue 125 on Power to Change)

The Bright Ideas Fund supports new business ideas from the start-up and planning stages right through to the implementation stage with grants of up to £15,000. The fund will open for new applications on Tuesday, 6 August and will close on Monday, 30 September.

The fund gives community groups the early stage finance they need to carry out consultations with local people and develop their community business idea. Support is provided over a three-year period through Locality, the national membership network for community organisations, in partnership with Co-operatives UK, the Plunkett Foundation and Groundwork UK.

Energise Sussex Coast, a community benefit co-operative set up to accelerate the transition to a low carbon future, received £9,690 in June 2018 from the fund.

Richard Watson from Energise Sussex Coast said: “Bright Ideas gave us the help we needed to develop a community-owned solar model for the Ore Valley, the 10th most deprived neighbourhood in Britain. The project has grown far beyond our expectations. This scheme will deliver £7,500 of savings per year to the College and a community fund worth £100,000 over 25 years.”

Between September 2016 and December 2018, the Bright Ideas Fund supported over 80 groups with £1.85m. So far this year alone, 30 applicants have been accepted onto the programme and are currently working through a tailored support programme.

Locality Chief Executive Tony Armstrong said: “Community businesses generate jobs, tackle social isolation and boost the local economy.”

Kate Stewart, Director of Programmes at Power to Change, said: “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.”

For further information about the fund, visit mycommunity.org.uk/bright-ideas-fund


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