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Social Economy West support programme launched

Charities, third sector organisations, social enterprises, and co-operatives across the West of England are set to benefit from enhanced support to help them overcome increasing demand amid the cost-of-living crisis.

Social Economy West will help the sector in the region to grow, as well as providing tailored support to organisations to help them become more financially and environmentally sustainable, support the move towards Net Zero, manage risk more effectively, and broaden their links with the wider economy and business community.

Led by Business West, a partnership of experienced third sector organisations – including BBRC, Voscur, 3SG, CVS South Gloucestershire and the School for Social Entrepreneurs – will work collaboratively to deliver five key support activities, including 1-2-1 coaching support, demand-led themed workshops, expert mentoring from social entrepreneurs and peer networks. BBRC will also be working to establish further repayable investment funds for the region.

Ed Rowberry, BBRC’s chief executive, said: “BBRC is delighted to be supporting the West of England Mayor, Business West and partners in helping to put small and medium enterprises on a more sustainable footing and find longer-term ways of raising the funds they need. That’s why, as part of this programme, we are working to establish further repayable investment funds for the region.”

Dan Norris, Metro Mayor of the West of England, said: “I’m delighted to be launching this new package of support. In this cost-of-living crisis, people in the West of England need the help of charities, social enterprises, and co-ops more than ever. But higher demand is putting the sector under a lot of pressure.

“What I hear consistently from these organisations is that they’re too reliant on grants and short-term pots of money. Social Economy West will help get them on a more sustainable footing and find longer-term ways of raising the cash they need. This will help keep them doing their incredible work for many years to come.”
Phil Smith, Managing Director at Business West, commented: “We’re pleased to be working alongside the West of England Mayoral Combined Authority and other partners to deliver this programme. Social enterprises are a crucial part of the wider business ecosystem and drive forward the ambition to make this region the best place to live, work and do business.”

To be eligible for support, organisations must be located in the West of England Mayoral Combined Authority region and have a core social mission. This could include organisations such as social and community enterprises, charities, voluntary and community sector organisations, housing associations, co-operatives and mutuals, informal self-help initiatives, social finance and support providers and alternative business models. The programme will run until 2026.

Anyone interested in receiving support through this programme should email [email protected], with their name, organisation name, location and contact details.

The programme is funded by the West of England Mayoral Combined Authority, via the UK Government through UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

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