Social Enterprise Support is offering £16.3m to East Midlands businesses – here’s how to apply

Social enterprises in the East Midlands are encouraged to tap into more than £16million in funding to help their communities recover from the impact of Covid-19.

The Social Enterprise Support Fund (SESF) has re-opened applications, with organizations across the region able to apply for grants of between £10,000 and £100,000 to help them deliver essential services or increase exchanges in communities that 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 £37million.

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 aim of helping around 500 businesses. Applications must be submitted by March 24.

Matt Smith is Managing Director of Key Fund, which helps social enterprises in the Midlands and North.

He said: “The volume of applications for the first round demonstrates not only the enormous need for this financial support as community and social enterprises go into recovery mode, but also the depth and breadth of the impact that these organizations continue to supply some of them. the most marginalized groups and communities in our society.

“We are proud to be part of the team providing this funding at such difficult times for our sector, with the support of the National Lottery Community Fund, and we look forward to receiving new applications in the second round.”

He said the Covid-19 crisis continued to disproportionately hurt communities that were already experiencing social and economic inequality.

The funding is open to social enterprises with most of their beneficiaries in England and with an annual income of between £20,000 and £1.8 million in one of the last two financial years.

The focus will be on supporting organizations that will create economic growth while helping those in need or improving the environment.

The fund is also committed to inclusion – with at least half of grants going to groups led by people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities; LGBTQ+ groups; People with Disabilities; and people who have experienced the issues facing their social enterprise.

One business that has been successful with its bid in the final round is Highfields Community Association, Leicester, which offers community activities including apprenticeships, cultural events, sports clubs and youth work.

It serves downtown neighborhoods that are characterized by an 85% multi-ethnic population that experiences varying degrees of social and economic disadvantage.

Priya Thamotheram, manager of the association’s Highfields Centre, said: “It is wonderful to receive the SESF grant as it will allow us to take full advantage of our art studios and H-Café as we rebuild our attendance and our revenues after the debilitating impact of the pandemic and related socio-economic downturn.

For more information and to apply, social enterprises should visit

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