The Big Lottery has just announced a new £150m fund called Power to Change, which will open in 2014, supporting “community-led enterprises” and community action.
The economic climate has meant that many communities are experiencing challenges, at a local level, to the vitality of their neighbourhoods, prosperity of their high streets and resilience of their social assets. Empty shop premises and the closures of pubs, libraries, community centres and sports facilities affect rural and urban communities alike, and in particular those who need them most.
In response, many communities are coming together using creative approaches that involve local people and resources to improve their local neighbourhoods, villages and town centres. These have taken many different forms from small-scale enterprise to large-scale asset management and ownership. Solutions have included pop-up shops, transferring resources into the ownership of local residents, and using former commercial spaces to incubate social enterprises and cultural activities.
In short, community enterprises provide sustainable solutions to some of the most pressing social and economic issues of our time, and particularly benefit people most in need. We want to help more people respond to local need and opportunity, and change the places in which they live for the better.
The National Lottery funding will be delivered through an independent grant-making Trust from autumn 2014.
The story is also covered in Third Sector Online here.
Update: As soon as this post hit our automated Twitter feed I had a phone call from Martin Hogg at Citizen Coaching who was making his way from the Manchester venue at which the launch of Power to Change was held today, to the office of a client. I’m hoping he’ll post something here in the comments about what he heard and saw at the launch event…