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Social Enterprise Support fund reopens with £16.3m boost for East Midlands enterprises

Social Enterprise Support fund reopens with £16.3m boost for East Midlands enterprises

Social enterprises from across the East Midlands are being urged to tap into £16.3m of funding that will help their communities recover from the impact of Covid-19.

The Social Enterprise Support Fund (SESF) reopened for applications on Monday, with organisations across the region able to apply for grants of between £10,000 and £100,000 to help them deliver essential services or increase trading in the communities they serve.

Funded by The National Lottery Community Fund, the initiative’s first round in December received 800 applications and a request for funding of over £37m.

Five social enterprise support agencies - Big Issue Invest, Key Fund, Resonance, the School for Social Entrepreneurs and UnLtd - have come together again to deliver the fund with the target of assisting circa 500 enterprises. The fund is due to close for applications on March 24th.

“The volume of applications for the first round demonstrates not only the huge need for this financial support as community and social enterprises move to recovery mode, but also the depth and breadth of the impact that these organisations continue to provide to some of the most marginalised groups and communities in our society,” explained Matt Smith, CEO of Key Fund.

“We’re proud to be part of the team delivering this funding at such challenging times for our sector, with support from The National Lottery Community Fund, and we look forward to receiving new applications in Round 2.”

The COVID-19 crisis continues to disproportionately hurt communities who already experience social and economic inequalities.

The Social Enterprise Support Fund, which is available to social enterprises if most of their beneficiaries are in England and boast an annual income of between been £20,000 and £1.8m in either of the last two financial years, will assist social entrepreneurs to put their solutions into practice to help people most impacted by the crisis.

An emphasis will be on supporting organisations that will create economic growth while helping people in need or improving the environment.

The fund is committed to inclusion, working to ensure that at least 50% of grants reach groups that are led by: people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities; LGBTQ+ communities; disabled people; and/or leaders with lived experience of the issues their social enterprise is addressing.

One enterprise that was successful with its application was Leicestershire-based Highfields Community Association, which has a proven track record of developing and delivering a wide range of community focused activities, including academic/vocational/first-rung learning courses, cultural events and sports/youth work activities.

It serves Spinney Hills/Wycliffe/Stonegate wards, areas that are characterised by a 85% multi-ethnic population experiencing varying severe degrees of socio-economic disadvantage.

“It’s wonderful to receive the SESF grant, as it’ll enable us to make fuller use of our Art studios and H-Café as we rebuild our footfall and income after the debilitating impact of the pandemic and related socio-economic downturn,” concluded Priya Thamotheram, Head of Highfields Centre.”

For more information and to apply, social enterprises should visit

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