Local Groups Benefit from Social Investment Fund

April 17, 2018

The two latest groups to benefit from the Somerset Social Enterprise Fund (SSEF) are We Hear You, based in Frome, and GrassRoots Power, based in Taunton.

SSEF offers a mix of funding which combines grants and loans, ranging from £25,000 to £100,000. These investments are designed to support charities and social enterprises that deliver benefit to society as well as generate financial returns. The fund was established in 2014 with initial financing from Somerset County Council and is administered by Somerset Community Foundation. Last year it was enhanced by additional funding from the Growth Fund, which is managed by Access – the Foundation for Social Investment in partnership with the Big Lottery Fund and Big Society Capital.

We Hear You offer free, professional counselling for anyone affected by cancer or other life-threatening illness. They have been awarded a loan of £25,000 and grant of £12,500 from SSEF and intend to invest in the development of their art gallery in the centre of Frome, expanding their current premises. Hannah Culff, Interim Director at We Hear You said: “We’re absolutely delighted to have been awarded this funding from the Somerset Social Enterprise Fund. By expanding our WHY Art Gallery we can promote our free counselling service and also generate long-term, sustainable funds for the charity.”

GrassRoots Power CIC, who specialise in delivering support services to sports clubs, helping them become more sustainable, has been awarded a loan of £50,000 and grant of £25,000 from SSEF. They plan to invest their funding in marketing, systems, and the recruitment of staff. Harry Riste, CEO and Founder at GrassRoots Power said: “GrassRoots Power CIC are thrilled to be in receipt of this funding. Our organisation has been hard at work deploying services in the community and county, and we are looking forward to the positive challenges ahead and opportunities that Somerset Community Foundation have given us.”

Councillor David Hall, Cabinet Member for Resources and Economic Development at Somerset County Council, said: “These groups demonstrate exactly the kind of diverse work that this fund was set up to support. I’m certain that these loans are going to be used to do excellent work for Somerset residents.”

Seb Elsworth, Chief Executive at Access went on to say: “Access’s programmes are focused on helping more charities and social enterprises use social investment to help grow their resilience and impact. I’m so pleased that these two innovative organisations benefitted initially from the Reach Fund – which was funding that previously helped them to refine their investment proposal – and have now gained further investment from the Growth Fund, via Somerset Community Foundation.”

If you run a local community project and would like to find out more about funding for social enterprises or grant funding in general, please call us on 01749 344949.

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