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 was committed to the fund, made possible by National Lottery players. This National Lottery funding is part of The National Lottery Community Fund’s wider COVID-19 emergency response for communities.
After three rounds of applications in August, July and September, the Social Enterprise Support Fund has been able to support over 600 social enterprises across the length and breadth of England. £18.7 million in grant funding has been distributed at a crucial time for social enterprises.
At Resonance, we awarded grants to 120 social enterprises, for a total amount of £3.2million
Research shows that this crisis is disproportionately hurting communities who already experience social and economic inequalities. The fund made a commitment to ensure that the grants reach businesses that were most impacted.
That’s why over 36% of the total amount funded went to organizations supporting the UK’s black, Asian and minority ethnic communities, and 29% of social ventures were led by a CEO who identified as black, Asian or from a minority ethnic background.
In addition, 46% of the total amount funded went to those enterprises whose work is with disabled communities, and 16% went to social enterprises supporting LGBTQ+ communities.
A full breakdown of the awards by sector, geography, and amounts can be found here.
Social enterprises are using the grants to keep critical services running, meet additional demands, or adapt to new circumstances as a result of COVID-19.
Some of the organizations funded include:
Nimbus Disability exists to reduce inequality for disabled people whilst supporting organizations/employers to exceed in meeting their legal obligations to disabled people. Nimbus is one of the country’s leading providers of disability-related advice and support to professional organizations. It provides a wide range of training and consultancy services and has also developed national schemes CredAbility Quality Assurance and The Access Card.
Vision 21 is an environmental social enterprise on a mission to make Gloucestershire more sustainable. The enterprise runs a number of community-based sustainability projects including a monthly Regeneration and Repair Café. They also take donations of furniture and electrical items from local residents which are then made available at an affordable cost to people on low income in the area.
Activating Creative Talent (ACT) works with young people, families, and their communities to reduce youth violence, gang-related activity and youth crime across the West Midlands, with a focus in Birmingham. During the pandemic, ACT moved community-based training online, enabling the team to continue to support young people - particularly from Black, Asian and minoritised ethnic groups - who are at immediate risk of becoming involved in youth violence.
Pimms & Needles are a Community Interest Company (CIC) that runs fun and friendly ladies groups, across the North East, Teesside and North Yorkshire. Their grant is being used towards office costs, insurance and salaries. In the last six months during lockdown restrictions, they’ve reached over 2,500 people, helping tackle social isolation and loneliness as well as supporting the most vulnerable elderly.
Opportunities With Experience C.I.C create training and employment opportunities for women in the construction industry in South East England. They offer a course introduction to manual trades in interior decoration, work experience, and apprenticeships. The funding they received will be used to offer an online delivery of their training programme for CSCS card and other construction qualification. They wanted to be able to offer a way for those completing or interested in their courses to keep learning; to keep going, and achieve, so being able to provide all the technology resources their beneficiaries would need was vital.”
Daniel Brewer, CEO, Resonance said: “The Social Enterprise Support Fund has proved a massive success, we have seen applications from a diverse range of enterprises, from across England, that were in critical need of funding to help them recover from COVID-19. We know that the funding we have given to deserving social enterprises will enable them to continue their vital work supporting the communities they serve and helping some of the most vulnerable people in society. We would like to take this opportunity to thank the National Lottery Community Fund and National Lottery players.”
Mark Norbury, Chief Executive, UnLtd, said: “I’m incredibly proud that our sector came together so collaboratively and has been able to achieve the ambitious goals we set out for with this fund. Our partnership has distributed close to £19 million of funding to more than 600 outstanding grantees in just a few months. In a difficult time, we’ve been able to offer a critical lifeline swiftly to those who need it the most.
“I’ve been amazed and humbled by how social entrepreneurs are responding to COVID-19, and this injection of financial support to keep them going has been sorely needed. It’s now time to support social entrepreneurs towards an inclusive recovery, and this is where UnLtd will be stepping up our efforts in the next few months.”
Danyal Sattar, CEO, The Big Issue Invest said: “I am pleased to confirm that, with the support of the National Lottery Community Fund, Big Issue Invest has been able to commit over £3 million over 118 grants to trading social enterprises and enterprising charities across England to support the vital work they do that makes such a difference in this time of crisis and uncertainty.
“We would like to offer a special thanks to our external panel members Richard Currie and Thecla Fellas, who provided valuable support and quality insight to help us issue as many grants as possible in a short space of time.”
Matt Smith, CEO, Key Fund said: “We are incredibly grateful for the support from the National Lottery Community Fund, which has enabled us and our Partners to provide £18.5M of essential funding to almost 600 social enterprises operating across England. Many of these organisations are delivering important services to people in real need, whilst also trying to deal with the impact of COVID-19 on their own staff and business model, in a very uncertain operating environment. We have been truly moved and inspired by some of the stories that we have heard whilst assessing applications, and know just how important this funding will be over coming months for people and communities”
Alastair Wilson, CEO, SSE said: “Social entrepreneurs have been hit hard by this crisis. They’ve faced the double whammy of losing income from trading, just as the people they support and employ need them more than ever. We’re proud that this partnership has been able to deliver emergency funding to those with greatest need, on the frontline of fighting COVID-19. We’re especially proud to have met our inclusion targets here at SSE. The money is now supporting people from our most marginalised, minoritised and deprived communities.”
The fund was made available through a shared portal at http://socialenterprisesupportfund.org.uk/
The fund was open to social enterprises in England
It offered grants of £10,000 - £300,000.
The fund closed on 17th September. No more Applications were accepted after this date and will be accepted in the future.
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Resonance Impact Investment Limited, a subsidiary of Resonance Limited, is authorized and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Firm number 588462.
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