Power to Change has secured £20 milllion in funding from The National Lottery Community Fund to enable it to continue its work, including helping community businesses recover from the impact of Covid-19.
The new injection of capital will enable Power to Change to continue its work to support and grow community businesses for at least five more years. The organisation, which was created as a time-limited spend down trust, had been due to close in 2022.
Vidhya Alakeson, CEO of Power to Change, said:
“The huge variety of ways community businesses stepped up to support local people during the pandemic was truly inspirational – they ensured no one was left behind. As we move through the recovery, it’s vital that we do everything we can to help these businesses navigate what will be a tricky path so they can remain viable for their communities.”
“This new National Lottery investment, made possible thanks to National Lottery players, will enable Power to Change to strengthen the resilience and capacity of community businesses, so they can help rebuild our local economies and tackle the big challenges and inequalities people are facing right on their doorsteps and that have been exacerbated by the pandemic.”
Power to Change will launch its new business strategy in spring 2021. While it will still continue to invest in community businesses, it will focus on strategic interventions and partnerships designed to strengthen the sector so it is future fit to meet the challenges ahead.
Elly De Decker, England Director at The National Lottery Community Fund, said:
“A year of crisis has meant community organisations and businesses in England have faced financial difficulties due to Covid-19. As the largest funder of community activity in the UK, we know community businesses are rooted in their local communities and make a big difference to local life and people.
“We are pleased to award a further £20 million to Power to Change, to enable them to continue to support community businesses and help rebuild local economies, using funding made possible thanks to National Lottery players.”
Power to Change has also just published a report: Community business: The power on your doorstep outlining its impact over the last six years with its initial National Lottery investment.
This includes having:
- Grown the market: the number of community businesses in England doubled, from c. 5,500 to c. 11,300.
- Provided support where it’s needed most: invested £86m in community businesses. Two-thirds of this money went into the 30% most deprived areas.
- Put assets in community hands: helped community businesses raise an additional £19m to keep local assets in community hands. There are now 6,600 community-owned assets across the country.
- Improved financial resilience: improved business models and revenue streams. For example, participants in the Trade Up programme generated £13,584 more in trading income than a control group.
- Improved operational capacity: enabled community businesses to create voluntary opportunities and jobs for local people, many of whom are likely to experience exclusion from employment and/or challenges with their physical or mental health.
- Strengthened capacity and skills: enabled community businesses to improve their business models, better plan, build their networks and strengthen their skills.
- Built new opportunities: leveraged an additional £70.3m into the market, in the form of grants, community shares, crowdfunding and social investment.
- Supported priority sectors: tripled the number of community pubs in England, invested £40m in community energy and built 889 community-owned homes.
Main image: Wolves Lane Horticultural Centre, Haringey, received investment from Power to Change. The community business delivers an food growing hub run by the local community in partnership with the Ubele Initiative, Crop Drop and OrganicLea. Its commercial activities, including a veg box scheme, supports initiatives designed to support community inclusion and cohesion projects. It has remained in operation throughout the pandemic, also launching the Meal Project, which produces 300 meals a week for local people who need access to prepared meals. The business received emergency funding to kit out a kitchen to deliver this project.
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