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£2.5M FUND LAUNCHED TO DELIVER RESOURCES TO THE COMMUNITY

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A new fund investing in independent organisations working in local...
A new fund investing in independent organisations working in local

communities to achieve long-term community renewal, was launched

today by Home Office minister Lord Filkin.

The new Adventure Capital Fund demonstration project will pilot a

range of alternative approaches to financial investment for community

initiatives, and aims to develop and evaluate new assessment

processes for selecting suitable organisations to invest in.

Invitations will be made to projects that benefit communities to

apply for a major investment grant. Around five to 10 projects, ready

to start immediately, will receive investment funds of between

£50,000 to£400,000. A further 20 smaller projects, which are not

ready to meet the timetable for this round of funding, will receive

smaller development grants.

The project will receive£2m funding from the Active Community

Unit (ACU) and£400,000 from the Neighbourhood Renewal Unit (NRU). Up

to£300,000 has also been committed by four Regional Development

Agencies for additional development grants.

Lord Filkin, the Home Office minister for race equality, community

policy, and European & international policy said:

'This innovative approach to funding aims to achieve long-term

regeneration through sustainable enterprise. Community enterprises,

which come in a range of different forms, will look for opportunities

for enterprise which can achieve social benefits, while also

reinvesting any surpluses back into the community.

'Projects receiving investment funds will be able to plan for the

longer term and be better placed to secure finance in the wider

financial marketplace - shifting organisations away from short term

grant dependency to longer term financial stability.'

Barbara Roche, social exclusion and equality minister in the ODPM, said:

'Ending poverty in our most deprived areas will only be achieved with

a strong community sector playing a pivotal role. Many community and

social enterprises are delivering key public services, from housing

to childcare, creating jobs, and engaging residents in neighbourhood

renewal. However, some do not have the resources or expertise to plan

for the future, limiting the potential of their positive impact.

'Today's announcement will test out new ways of providing funding

that promotes capacity building, helping community enterprises

improve their effectiveness in delivering real benefits over the long

term.'

Roger Brocklehurst, director, Local Investment Fund said:

'Community enterprises could be the next big thing: their distinctive

combination of self-help and trading for social purpose revitalises

communities and transforms service delivery. But most remain

undercapitalised - the Adventure Capital Fund will begin to plug the

investment gap that has held so many excellent organisations back.'

Helen Thomson, head of service inclusion and skills, Yorkshire

Forward said:

'Yorkshire Forward welcomes the initiative of the bursaries scheme

and that it is one strand that will support the recently launched

regional 'Framework for the Social Economy'. We are exploring the

creation of regional bursaries, to increase the impact of the

Adventure Capital Fund in the region'.

Notes

1. Invitations will be made to projects that benefit communities to

apply for a major investment grant from a list prepared by the fund

partners.

2. The 20 smaller grants are open to any applicants from the

participating Regional Development Agencies regions (currently the

East Midlands, London, East of England and Yorkshire & the Humber).

3. Decisions on applications will be by an Investment Panel

consisting of representatives from the fund partners (the ACU, Local

Investment Fund, New Economics Foundation, Development Trusts

Association and the Scarman Trust). The Local Investment Fund will

oversee how the funds are made available.

4. For further details of the Adventure Capital Fund, contact:

Roger Brocklehurst, Local investment Fund, 123 Minories, London EC3N

1NT, tel: 020 7680 1028, e-mail: roger.brocklehurst@lif.org.uk,

website:www.lif.org.uk.

5. Community enterprises are independent organisations working in

local communities (inner city neighbourhoods, peripheral estates,

areas of industrial decline, coastal and market towns, rural

districts). They bring about social, economic and environmental

renewal through a wide variety of self-help and trading activities -

creating wealth for communities and keeping it there. More

information is available from 'Fabulous Beasts: stories of community

enterprise from the DTA', Development Trusts Association 2002. For

further information about community enterprises in general email:

info@dta.org.uk or visit www.dta.org.uk.

6. Initial proposals have been developed by a partnership of four

voluntary and community sector organisations experienced in this

field:

- Development Trusts Association - a national network of local

development trusts, currently jointly funded by ODPM and ACU

- Local Investment Fund - one of the longest established community

development finance institutions (CDFIs)

- Public Interest Programme - a new joint venture of the Scarman

Trust

- a pioneer of investment approaches with grassroots social

entrepreneurs, receiving strategic funding from ACU and the New

Economics Foundation - leading innovator on social economy issues,

funded by ACU to develop and promote community-level timebanks.

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