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Social Enterprises

Learn about the many sources of information, support, and online guides available about social enterprises, as well as funding on offer through loans and grants. 

Information and support

Setting up a social enterprise

There is a lot of information and guidance on starting and running a social enterprise or CIC, statutory rights and obligations, and government support products and services on GOV.UK. This includes the ability to search for support using the finance and support finder tool.

Social Enterprise UK 

Social Enterprise UK is a leading authority on social enterprise, with the largest network of social enterprises in the UK. Using its business relationships and working with some of the biggest companies in the UK, it helps to support social enterprises through its supply chains, people, and networks.

Ashfield Voluntary Action (AVA)

Ashfield Voluntary Action (AVA) is a local organisation that provides support for voluntary and community groups throughout the district. AVA can help with setting up a new community group, assisting you to grow your organisation, sourcing funding, writing any business grant applications you may need, and understanding governance policies and procedures required to run your community group.

Love Business News

Did you know that social enterprises, CICs, and charities can get a free profile anchor page for 3 years on Love Business News to help raise their profile and connect with businesses to support CSR opportunities? Love Business News has more than 21,000 monthly business readers across Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, and Leicestershire, so this is a great chance to showcase what you do. If you are looking for a patron to help donate support through funding, then this can be a useful channel to make that happen.

Nottingham Energy Partnership (NEP) Energy Services

The current energy crisis is a challenge for most community groups in particular and NEP Energy Services provide support to help third sector organisations to become more energy efficient. The partnership has worked with more than 100 organisations, including sports clubs and community centres. Also, 100% of the profits made by NEP Energy Services are reinvested in public health and carbon reduction projects.

Enterprise Loans

Big Issue Invest

The Big Issue Invest helps social enterprises and charities by providing loans and investments. There is a special support package to assist social enterprises through the COVID-19 crisis. Your organisation must be trading for at least 24 months to be considered.

Key Fund

The Key Fund helps to support social enterprises in the Midlands to secure finance through loans and grants, which will be used to improve local communities through economic and environmental impacts. These could be through projects such as restoring a derelict building, buying equipment, or meeting start-up costs.

Enterprise Grants

SWEF Programme - Nottinghamshire Community Foundation

If you are aged between 18 to 30 years old, from a low-income household or facing other challenges preventing you from developing your business, and you live and work Nottinghamshire then this programme may help you with grant funding up to £2000. You can be at pre-start, start up or established trading stages as long as you have not been trading for over 2-years. This grant can be used to pay towards:  

  • Equipment that will help a business bring in a second revenue stream.
  • Equipment that will help a business increase production where there is proven demand.
  • Materials/stock for a new product line
  • Prototypes
  • Website/booking system build.
  • Training
  • Product development

Community Fund

National Lottery funding can help you to make a difference in your community. Funding from £300 to £10,000 is available to support what matters to people and communities.

Reaching Communities England

Reaching Communities England has grant funding over £10,000 for projects that last up to 5 years. Money can be used for the purchasing, refurbishing, or development of land and buildings, IT upgrades/purchases, or costs associated with delivering activities in your community.

People's Health Trust

The People's Health Trust supports local groups and organisations across the UK who have great ideas to make their communities even better places to live in. They look for small projects seeking investment between £5000 and £50,000, lasting 2 years and that are run by local people. By small they mean a group of people on an estate, in a few streets, or in villages.

Severn Trent Community Fund

Severn Trent Water has a community fund that charities and community groups can apply for. The grants offered are between £2000 and £200,000.

This fund is aimed at:

  • People - projects that help people to lead a healthier life and gain new skills
  • Places - projects that help to create better places to live in and use
  • Environment - projects that will help look after our natural environment or give people greater access to that environment.

Nottinghamshire Community Foundation

The Nottinghamshire Community Foundation is an independent charity set up to encourage philanthropy for the benefit of the people in Nottinghamshire. The foundation can act as a broker between funders and community groups.

Screwfix Foundation

Screwfix currently offers local registered charities and not for profit organisations funding of up to £5000 to support projects that relate to repair, maintenance, improvement or construction of homes, community buildings, and other buildings.

All applications are reviewed individually on a quarterly basis; the review dates are in March, June, September, and December.

Community Energy England

Community Energy England supports community energy projects and has a lot of grants listed, which can help local community groups with delivering environmental or energy projects that will make an impact.

The Community Ownership Fund

This fund aims to support greater ownership of community assets that supports the social wellbeing of communities, but may be at risk of loss. The fund will look at important parts of the local social fabric such as pubs, sports clubs, theatres, and post office buildings so they can continue to play a central role in communities. There is £150 million available, which will be used over a 4 year period until 2024/2025.

Last updated: 21 March 2024