Pioneer and Prosper


What is the fund?

Pioneer and Prosper (P&P) is a two-year pilot programme that will support a small number of ambitious charities and social enterprises with a repayable grant and support to help them to increase their social impact, raise investment, grow their business and become more financially resilient.

Who is it for?

The programme is for charities and social enterprises tackling social problems amongst disadvantaged communities:

  • To enable them to break through the barriers to growth and deliver social impact
  • To enable them to increase the number of beneficiaries and/or social impact in the communities they serve.

What can I apply for?
  • Funding of between £10,000 - £25,000 through a Revenue Participation Agreement* to support enterprise activity and enable the organisation to become more resilient and sustainable
  • Business support from skilled and experienced Relationship Managers (e.g. putting together a cashflow forecast, marketing plan or writing your business plan)
  • Pro Bono legal support where this is essential to the application
  • Follow-on funding from other Social Investment Business programmes.


Should you wish to apply for more than £25,000 you will need to contact us to discuss details of your investment needs prior to applying on 020 3096 7900.

Am I eligible?

The programme is open to charities and social enterprises that operate in England and…

  • Have an income between £10,000 and £10,000,000 and have been established for 12 months or more
  • Have the ambition to grow the proportion of their income from trading activities
  • Deliver social impact and seek to grow and scale over the coming years
  • Have a clear social mission and mainly reinvest surpluses into pursuing this mission
  • Are looking to implement a social mission lock or have an asset lock in place
  • Distribute less than 50% of post-tax profits.

How do I apply?

Download and read the Guidance attached before completing the online expression of interest form. We will then be in touch if you meet the criteria for entry. APPLICATION DEADLINE: Friday 21st September, 12:00pm

Power to Change

Power to Change, the independent trust supporting community business in England, is now taking applications for its £5 million Community Business Fund. Grants between £50,000 - £300,000 are available to existing community businesses in England looking for funding and support to make their business more sustainable. Find out more here

A free webinar is coming up on the 13th September to take people through the criteria, application process and what they've funded in other rounds. Register for the webinar here

For more information contact Sara Buchanan by email on  or telephone number 0117 4286 901.


Enterprise Development Programme


What is it?

The Enterprise Development Programme is a five year, £40m programme funded by Access - The Foundation for Social Investment and managed by a coalition of partners.

The initiative will provide a broad range of support for charities and social enterprises in England helping them make a transition to new enterprise models, or grow existing ones.

The programme will begin with grant and learning pilots in September 2018.

Who is it for?

Organisations that are thinking of exploring new enterprise models and social investment but require financial or business support to make the transition.

Initially the programme will be aimed at organisations that operate in the following fields of untapped enterprise development:

  • Homelessness
  • Youth services

What can I apply for?

There are two strands of the Enterprise Development Programme

1. Enterprise Grants 

Delivered by Social Investment Business, this programme will support charities and social enterprises in England, working in either the homelessness or youth sector to develop or grow their enterprising activity and earned income.

2. Enterprise Learning 

Delivered by School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE), this programme will provide peer-based learning opportunities and associated support to leaders of charities and social enterprises in the homeless and youth services.



Forward Enterprise Fund (SIB)


£100,000 to help break the vicious cycle of reoffending and addiction across England

We believe that people are capable of transformational change, no matter how chaotic their histories.

Therefore, in partnership with the Forward Trust, we have £100,000 in total available to support early-stage enterprises and charities that prioritise creating jobs for ex-offenders and people in recovery. 

Each eligible project can access up to £5,000 towards their Crowdfunder project.

Do you have an idea or early stage enterprise or charity that creates jobs for ex-offenders or people in recovery? If so, apply now below!

This programme is part of a wider initiative called the Forward Enterprise Fund which provides business support and repayable finance to organisations who share our mission. 

Building Connections Fund


Following the Prime Minister's and Minister for Sport and Civil Society's announcement to unlock £20m funding to tackle loneliness (as a part of Government's ​wider endorsement of the Jo Cox Commission recommendations​), a new £11.5 million Building Connections Fund has been set up to support projects that are able to prevent or reduce loneliness. 


The fund is a partnership between Government, Big Lottery Fund and the Co-op Foundation and aims to:


  • increase social connections, helping people form strong and meaningful relationships and creating a sense of community and belonging, and helping people feel more connected
  • support organisations to build on their existing work, eg by reaching more people, or working in a new area or with a different method or group of people
  • encourage organisations to join up with others locally
  • improve the evidence base and use learning to inform longer term policy and funding decisions


 Deadline 24th August 2018


Bright Futures Social Investment Tax Relief (SITR) Fund


The Bright Futures Social Investment Tax Relief (SITR) Fund can provide accessible, patient and affordable investment to charities and social enterprises.

It is of interest to those social enterprises seeking social investment to grow.


What is SITR?

SITR is a tax incentive modelled on the better known Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS). However, unlike EIS, the aim is to generate a positive social return (or 'impact') in addition to a positive financial return. It is designed to allow individual UK tax payers to invest in charities and social enterprises to increase the availability of affordable capital to such organisations.


Who is Social Finance? What is the Bright Futures Fund?


Social Finance is a not for profit organisation that partners with the government, the social sector and the financial community to find better ways of tackling social problems in the UK and beyond. They have raised a new SITR fund called the Bright Futures Fund. It is the first UK wide SITR fund and has raised £1.5M from 45 investors. The Bright Futures Fund is focused on organisations working with children, youth and vulnerable communities and has so far made two investments, with an aim to make more in the coming months.


What can the funding offer?

  • £100-300K of debt (or equity, if this is applicable)
  • 5 year loans with interest only payments for the first 3 years
  • Unsecured funding (and the most junior ranking in a capital stack)
  • Interest rates ranging from 3% to 8%


What are the eligibility criteria for organisations?


  • Legal structure: must be a registered charity, CIC or community benefit society
  • Size of organisation: must have less than £15M in assets and less than 250 employees
  • Excluded trading activities: nursing homes, trading in property, providing finance
  • Revenue: Ideally have £500K of earned revenue (i.e. not from donations and grants) in the past year or forecast for next year


If eligible and interested - who should I contact for more information?


Please contact Social Finance at or, or call 020 3586 1808


Health & Wellbeing Fund 2017 to 2018


The Department of Health and Public Health England are inviting applications to set up a new social prescribing scheme or to support the expansion of an existing scheme.

Through this programme, the Department of Health, NHS England and Public Health England are working with VCSE organisations to promote equality, address health inequalities and support the wellbeing of people, families and communities - apply here.


Cambridgeshire County Council's Innovate & Cultivate Fund.


Cambridgeshire County Council is pleased to announce that bookings are now open for the Innovate & Cultivate Fund Advice Session on 24 September, 9:45am-12pm at March Community Centre.  Please book here


The fund supports initiatives that strengthen our communities and reduce pressure on County Council services, thereby giving a return on investment.  Council services that are inviting applications include adult social care and children & families services.


The fund is open to voluntary, community and social enterprise sector organisations based in and outside of Cambridgeshire, and public sector organisations in Cambridgeshire.


The Innovate & Cultivate Fund has two funding streams: a 'Cultivate' stream for small grants of £2,000-£10,000 and an 'Innovate' stream for larger grants of up to £50,000.


The next application deadline for both funding streams is 1 November 2018. It is highly recommended that organisations intending to submit an application attend the advice session on 24 September to receive one-to-one advice on their project ideas.  Please note that only one application per organisation may be submitted for this deadline.


Application forms and further information may be found on the  Cambridgeshire Community Foundation website Cambridgeshire Community Foundation can also answer questions about applying for the Fund - or  01223 410535.




First Steps Enterprise Fund


What is the Fund?First Steps Enterprise Fund

First Steps Enterprise Fund (FSEF) is a £300,000 pilot fund to support community organisations.  This fund is managed by Social Investment Business on behalf of the ASDA Foundation


Who is it for?

Community organisations (charities and social enterprises) based in England that are looking to take on their first loan to help them grow and become more sustainable.

Particular preference is given to organisations that work in the following areas:

  • Older people
  • Health and wellbeing
  • Employment for young people

What can I apply for?

Funding packages of up to £30,000* are available (90% loan and 10% grant). The loan element is charged at 5% (fixed) to be repaid over a period of 4 years with an optional capital holiday for the first year.

*up to £50,000 is available for exceptional cases.

Am I eligible?

This programme is open to community organisations that:

  • Are based and work in England
  • Have been operating for at least one year
  • Can provide evidence of need for and benefit to their local community.

How do I apply?

The first step is to fill out the online Expression of Interest.

If you meet the fund's criteria we will call you for a chat about your proposal. This will be followed by an assessment visit. You application will then be put to our investment committee.


Micro Grant Scheme (New Anglia LEP area)

The New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership is calling for local businesses to apply for a grant between £1,000 and £10,000.

Micro, Small and Medium sized businesses may apply for a grant of up to 20% of the total cost of their plans, and be used to leverage funding from private finance, such as banks and other financial organisations. Businesses based in an Assisted Area in either Norfolk or Suffolk may be eligible for additional 10% of funding.

To be eligible for grant funding, an applicant should be an established and growing Micro, Small or Medium-sized enterprise based in Norfolk or Suffolk and fulfill at least one of the following criteria:

• Be ready to grow and expand their business
• Plan to introduce a new product or service to their business
• Want to improve their productivity or efficiency

For more information on the programme and its application process read the Micro Grant Scheme guidance.

If you are interested in applying for a grant, want to discuss your plans or find out about other possible business support programmes please contact the New Anglia Growth Hub whose services are free of charge. Tel: 0300 333 6536  Email:


Bright Ideas Fund

The Bright Ideas Fund aims to give your community group the support and tools you need to set up a community business.

The £1.85 million, two-year programme is already helping groups get their bright NEW ideas for a community business up and running, through a programme of tailored community business development support and early stage finance of up to £20,000.

Community business are businesses that are locally rooted, accountable to the local community, will benefit the local community and have a broad community impact. If your business idea sounds like it could be a community business, then this fund is for you!

Round two applications will be accepted until the 31 May 2017 from organisations in England only.

There will be additional funding rounds in September 2017 and February 2018.


Impact Management Programme


Pilot grants now open for £1.8 million fund through NPC-led impact management programme


New Philanthropy Capital (NPC) announces the launch of £1.8 million in grant funding available to charities and social enterprises over the next year and a half through the  Impact Management Programme.


The Impact Management Programme aims to bolster the abilities of charities, social enterprises and community businesses to manage their impact. This means analysing and responding to impact data-using it to change and improve programmes and services day-to-day.


There are two strands within this programme: Growth and Pathway. The aim of the grant programme within the Growth strand is to help social organisations scale their impact and diversify their income through accessing social investment and/or commissioned income. Around 40 grants in total are expected to be awarded, with an average grant size of £50,000. The pilot phase is now open and will award up to 10 grants by May 2017, with the full grant application window open from September 2017.


Read more here.

Impact Loans England


Big Issue Invest has launched Impact Loans England, a new £5 million lending scheme aimed at enabling social enterprises to access loan funding of between £20,000 and £150,000. The programme is funded by Access - The Foundation for Social Investment, with finance being provided by its partners Big Lottery Fund and Big Society Capital.

The Impact Loans England programme is now available to organisations across England with the £5 million to lend over the next three years. The funding is available to organisations keen to do more of the good work they do - whether its buying equipment, hiring new talent, or progressing with business development plans.

Daniel Wilson-Dodd, Head of Lending at Big Issue Invest says, "A lot of great organisations struggle to access small and medium-sized loans, so we wanted to provide support for those exciting social enterprises and charities."

The Impact Loans England programme is a continuation of what Big Issue Invest has been doing over the past few years in other schemes aimed at helping social enterprises grow, often by accessing finance for the very first time.

Email with an expression of interest and someone from the team will get back to you.


Rural Development Programme for England - Growth Programme

The Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) Growth Programme supports projects that invest in building businesses, creating new jobs and growing the economy in rural areas.


It is open to support food processing, business development and tourism infrastructure projects across the private, public and voluntary sectors for an initial 12 month period.


For more information click here

More Than a Pub Fund


More than a pub: The Community Pub Business Support Programme is a unique two year programme established to help support community ownership of pubs in England. Its value is £3.62 million and is jointly funded by the Department for Communities and Local Government and Power to Change.


A comprehensive package of business development support, advice and loan and grant funding has been developed to assist community pub businesses consider their viability at all stages of their development which includes:


  • A flexible package of support including:
    • an advice line
    • events
    • workshops
    • peer-to-peer study visits
    • business development advice.
    • Flexible bursary awards of up to £2,500 (inclusive of VAT) to fund pre-feasibility costs such as public consultation and valuations.
    • Combined loan and grant funding up to £150,000 but not exceeding £75,000 in grant contribution (average grant is expect to be c. £37,500, average loan may be around £42,800). 

Reach Fund

A major new initiative to support charities and social enterprises to access the investment they need to grow and diversify their income streams has launched. The two year, £4m Reach Fund will provide grants to organisations who need specific support to be able to take on a loan, and is designed to test a new model of investment readiness support.

The Fund will give a bigger role to social investors in their investment readiness process. A number of approved social investors, called Access Points, will refer charities and social enterprises that they want to invest in, but who are not yet 'investment ready', to the programme.

Charities and social enterprises will receive support from the Access Point to identify the work which will result in them being able to secure investment, and support them with a simple application process to receive a grant. Grants of up to £15,000 will be available.



Crowdfunder and Santander have launched a £200,000 fund for UK's social enterprises.

This presents an opportunity to secure match funding for your crowdfunding campaign


 The Life Chances Fund


The Life Chances Fund (LCF) is an £80m fund which will contribute to outcome payments for locally developed and commissioned Social Impact Bonds (SIBs) projects, in England. It will not subsidise other central government outcomes funds. Development grants will be available to support commissioners in the design of the contract.


The LCF aims to encourage SIBs that support early action to improve people's quality of life and reduce the burden on public services. First 2 policy areas to of focus:



You can download the Expression of Interest form here, edit it in your own PDF viewer, and send it back to before the 30th of September, 2016.

The other themes will be open to applications over the course of 2017. Projects about early years, young people, older people's services and healthy lives will then be considered.   Further information is available on the Life Chances Fund web page.

Santander opens £2.5m small grants programme 

Santander has launched a £2.5m fund for charities and social enterprises working with disadvantaged people. The Discovery Foundation, which launched on 1 March, will provide grants worth up to £5,000 to 'skills, knowledge and innovation' projects across Britain. The funding, which is available for one year, will be made available to charities, community interest companies and credit unions

More information here

Care and Wellbeing Fund

The Care and Wellbeing fund invests in social enterprises providing community based integrated health and social care services, wellbeing and prevention work.  Eligible projects must meet at least three of each of the fund's direct and indirect social impact outcomes:


  • Direct social impact outcomes:
  • Improved health and wellbeing
  • Reduce health and economic inequalities
  • Greater independence and dignity
  • Co-created services with their beneficiaries
  • Indirect social impact outcomes:
  • Replicable approach
  • Building capacity within the local health and social care system
  • Improving financial sustainability of health and asocial care


There are no deadlines or formal application processes, discussions can be held at any time.  For more information click here



Bedfordshire Rural Communities Charity (BRCC) has been awarded £3.1 million from the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE), to set up two LEADER Local Action Groups (LAGs) in the Bedfordshire & Huntingdonshire Claylands and Greensand Ridge areas.


Businesses and communities in rural areas of the Bedfordshire & Huntingdonshire Claylands, and the Greensand Ridge area of Central Bedfordshire and parts of South Cambridgeshire will have the opportunity to apply for funding through the 2015 - 2020 LEADER programme. Match-funded grants of £10K to £80K will be available through a competitive process for projects that create jobs and grow the local rural economy.


For further information click here


ACCESS The Foundation for Social Investment


Access announces its first programme: The Growth Fund. By combining up to £22.5m of grant from the Big Lottery Fund with up to £22.5m in loan funds from Big Society Capital, the Growth Fund helps social lenders make investments of up to £150,000 in charities and social enterprises.


The Growth Fund is now open for  expressions of interest from SIFIs. View  The Growth Fund Guidance and the  Q&As.


Big Potential 

Big Potential, a BIG Lottery Fund grant fund, will deliver approximately £20m of grant funding over 3 years to eligible VCSE organisations with the aim of improving the sustainability, capacity and scale of VCSE organisations in order that they may deliver greater social impact.


The programme aims to raise awareness of the social investment market and support VCSEs who want to prepare themselves for social investment or winning contracts.


Big Potential has two possible application routes - Breakthrough  andAdvanced:


 Eligible VCSE organisations will be able to access specialist one to one support from the Big Potential programme partners before making an application for grants between £20,000 and £75,000 to undertake more in-depth investment readiness work with one of Big Potential's approved providers



The Advanced route of Big Potential will be available to VCSEs that are clear about how social investment could work for them and can describe a potential deal or interest from investors and need help to close that deal. The Advanced route is also available to organisations that need help securing a contract. Grants of between £50,000 and £150,000 are available.


Earlier this year it was announced that Big Potential was being extended to the end of the year. We can now share the key dates you need to know to make sure you get your applications in before the programme closes.

If you are applying to Big Potential Breakthrough we would advise you to complete the diagnostic and apply for your 1-1 session before June.

Grant applications: We will stop accepting applications for both Big Potential Breakthrough and Advanced on Wednesday 11th October at midday. Any applications received after midday on Wednesday 11th October will not be accepted.

For further information click  here




Second Call for projects under the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) element of the EU Growth Programme 


This call is for micro and small-sized businesses seeking to expand, increase productivity, create jobs and for diversification into non-agricultural activities (EAFRD Sub-Measure 6.4) and is being run through the Rural Payments Agency.


Projects can bid for grants of between £35k - approximately £140k at an intervention rate not exceeding 40% of the eligible costs of the project.  Under this Sub-Measure,de-minimisapplies in relation to state aid therefore grants are capped at a maximum of €200,000.


This Call will remain open for a maximum of 12 months, with quarterly review points at which time submitted projects will be assessed.  The closing date for the first review point under this call is set as 1700pm on Friday 8th January 2016.  Details of the other review points are included in the Call Specification which can be found here The specification includes further information on the nature of the call, how to apply and contacts for further information and support.


Further calls under other elements of EAFRD will be published over the next few months.  Other calls that are launched, in New Anglia or elsewhere in England, through EAFRD, ERDF or ESF will be published at



Big Issue Invest


If you are looking for finance between £50K  to £1.7m to help scale up your social enterprise/charity Big Issue Invest might be able to help.


Big Issue Invest is the social investment arm of the Big Issue and can help by providing finance, not grants, from unsecured loans to equity investment whatever is best for your organisation.  For further information click here



Third Sector Loan Fund 

Third Sector Loan Fund invests between £250,000 and £3 million in charities and social enterprises ascross the UK through secured and unsecured loans.  For further information click here



Community Investment Fund 


Community Investment Fund  launched in February 2014. The fund invests debt and equity into community based social enterprises and charities in England. The Fund's investors are the Social Investment Business Foundation and Big Society Capital.  The Fund invests between £250,000 and £1m in community based, locally led organisations which are providing essential support and services to improve the well-being of local residents, developing the local economy and creating positive social change for all individuals in the community.  Follow the link for more information, to see the eligibility criteria and to submit an Expression of Interest.


Signpost 2 Grants 


Signpost 2 Grants is a new small capital grants scheme being funded and delivered by the Greater Cambridge and Greater Peterborough LEP as a part of their Signpost 2 Grow Campaingn.


Grants of between £2k and £20k are available to local SMEs who are looking to invest in new equipment, new machinery, improvement to their premises, or other capital purchases.  The grants can be used to fund up to 20% of the total project cost, to provide businesses with the extra help they need to grow.


A specialist grant application team is on hand to talk businesses through the eligibility criteria, and the application process.


Find out more by visiting


European Structural Investment Funds - Building Better Opportunities pot.


Big Lottery Fund - Building Better Opportunities Fund -

Big Lottery Fund (BLF) is matching funds from the European Social Fund (ESF) 2014-2020 to provide joint investment in local projects tackling the root causes of poverty, promoting social inclusion and driving local jobs and growth.


BLF expects the funding to be delivered in 37 Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) areas according to local priorities, which have been set by the LEPs, and will support projects ranging from improving employability for the most disadvantaged, helping those with multiple and complex needs, to improving financial literacy.


LEPs and the LEP area European Structural Investment Fund (ESIF) Sub Committees have made decisions about how much of their ESF allocation to devote to this strand of work, meaning that the amount of funding varies widely across different areas.


There are currently 71 funding opportunities now open for application in 25 of the 37 LEP areas, totalling £175 million investment.  Further funding opportunities will open in autumn 2015.  More details of funding opportunities in each area can be seen here



Grants4Growth - Grant funding opportunity for SME's


Grants4Growth is helping East of England SME's explore this important opportunity and make grant applications. We are helping businesses who are considering a project to enable them to grow, become more efficient or improve their processes or production methods.


The European Funded Grants4Growth programme is an £11m ERDF project delivered through Local Enterprise Partnerships, and it provides capital and revenue grants to eligible SME's. Typical project costs are £5,000 - £25,000, but larger projects can be supported too….so if you are considering a purchase or project, please do make contact with us.


All grant funding is now allocated.  Please refister your interest in future funding at 



Un Ltd


UnLtd Through their competitive awards programme offer support for social entrepreneurs at various stages of your journey


Growing Business Fund


The New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) is calling for charities and social enterprises, as well as small and medium sized businesses in Suffolk and Norfolk who want to grow their organisations to apply for a share of its £12 million Growing Business Fund, supported by the Government's Regional Growth Fund. The grants are being awarded to organisations and companies who are planning to grow and employ more staff within the next 12 months.



The fund provides grants of between £25,000 and £500,000 that is up to 20% of the entire project costs to businesses that have a shortfall in their investment plan and are able to create at least one job for every £10,000 provided by the fund. Funding must be privately matched, for example, own company, banks, trusts and foundations, but not from Government funding.   We are very happy to discuss individual cases to provide some clarity in this aspect.



There is a straightforward application process.  For more information on the Growing Business Fund and check your eligibility, please go to, alternativley please contact



Small Grant Programme, to provide grants of between £5,000 up to £25,000, available to SMEs with similar criteria to the Growing Business Fund.   More information available on



Big Lottery Fund- Reaching Communities


Reaching Communities is aimed at projects helping communities most in need, and so would like to hear from organisations that have a good idea that will bring real imporvements to local communities.


You can contact Reaching Communities regarding whether or not your idea could be funded by them on 01223449000.


Recent examples include £299,841 given to Norwich's Open Youth Trust to fund an out-of-hours youth service.


For more information see here.



Awards for All


Offers grants of between £300 and £10,000 for voluntary and community groups, schools and health orgaisatons and parish and town councils that improve communities, and lives of people within them. For more informaton visit here 



The Rural Community Buildings Loan Fund


The Rural Community Building Loan Fund plays a crucial role in helping community groups renovate, refurbish and construct buildings such as village halls, church halls and community centres.


The £700,000 Defra fund, managed by ACRE, encourages communities to raise funds, knowing a loan could be available to help them meet their target and win funding from other sources.


The average loan taken out by hall committees is around £15,000 - but larger loans are considered. Around 40 loans are live at any one time and ACRE makes around 10 to 14 new loans every year. The interest charged on the loan is returned to the Government, but capital is put back into the fund to support other community buildings.


Click here for further information


The Interreg France (Channel) England Programme


The Interreg France (Channel) England Programme can fund cross border cooperation projects, addressing the common issues of the Channel area, up to 69%. One of the priorities of the Programme to increase the quality and the effectiveness of service delivery through social innovation, with two main targets: those furthest from the labour market and ageing population. Next call for projects is planned for 23rd February - 24th March 2015. For more information, please contact your local facilitator, Hélène Gentils or visit



Funders in the East


24 funders with a joint annual investment of more than £80 million.


Please click here for a list of funders of various sizes, with some operating on a national basis whilst others target specific counties or geographic areas.  They include lottery distributors, foundations, financial institutions, charitable trusts, even government departments and offer a range of practical and financial support including both grant funding and loans.