Press releases

Applications open for funding and support for local social businesses in Croydon.

Graham Precey - Head of Corporate and Social Responsibility
Graham Precey
Head of Corporate and Social Responsibility

12 March 2014

Graham Precey - Head of Corporate and Social Responsibility
Graham Precey
Head of Corporate and Social Responsibility

Local social enterprises in Croydon have the opportunity to apply for a package aimed at transforming their business, as well as supporting the local community from this week.

Successful applicants will be offered an interest free loan of between £10,000 and £30,000, mentoring and access to a bank of experts. Businesses interested in more details and how to apply can find out more on the Social Enterprise Assist, (SE-Assist) website at http://se-assist.co.uk. The closing date for applications is 10th April 2014.

The initiative, delivered through Social Enterprise Assist, (SE-Assist), is a pioneering government-backed scheme that connects local social enterprises with larger companies in the area to help them and as a result inject prosperity into local communities. Leading insurer and local employer Legal & General who has a office in Surrey close to Croydon, Charities Aid Foundation, (CAF) and the Coast2Capital Local Enterprise Partnership, have provided total funding of £150,000 to help local social businesses get off the ground, thrive and drive regeneration in Croydon.

Local social enterprises in Sussex that benefited from the pilot scheme last year included an ethical supermarket, a creative writing group, a parent support group and a community IT consultancy. The support offered to the ethical supermarket hiSbe enabled them to open their doors in Brighton last year after receiving a loan and expert consultancy.

The scheme which is also rolling-out in Sussex again this year, currently has a total of £330,000 in funding to offer local social business across the Croydon and Sussex areas. The aim is to expand the scheme and raise more funding with the support of larger businesses across the UK.

Amy Clarke, Head of Advisory at the Charities Aid Foundation, said: “We’re thrilled to be rolling-out the scheme today in Sussex and Croydon to support local social businesses. Social enterprises can make a huge difference to people in the community.

“There is a great spirit of innovation visible at the moment, but forward-thinking entrepreneurs are struggling to find the funding and the support they need to enable them to get their ideas off the ground. It’s great that we are able to provide local businesses in Sussex with an additional source of valued support again this year, thanks to the help of Legal & General and C2C.

“It would be great to see these kinds of partnerships between big companies and social enterprises become commonplace, so more local communities can enjoy the benefits that thriving local social businesses can bring.”

Graham Precey, Head of Corporate Responsibility at Legal & General said: “We are so pleased to be supporting the SE-Assist scheme in Croydon this year. We had no hesitation in being involved and offering further investment and ‘hands on’ support after such a successful pilot last year in Sussex.

Graham Precey continued: “The employees based in our Hove office who were involved with the scheme last year, understand just how fantastic it is when the vision of a local business becomes a reality, with their help and our financial support. This year employees in our office in Kingswood will join those in Hove to provide support.

There is such a sense of achievement and pride working so closley with local businesses who in turn provide such great benefits to the community. It will be great to see more local businesses have this exciting opportunity.”

Cllr Vidhi Mohan, cabinet member for communities and economic development, Croydon Council, said: “SE Assist is a fantastic scheme and having seen the kind of businesses they have helped to grow in Sussex, we are delighted to welcome it to Croydon. Like all businesses, social enterprises create jobs and boost the economy, but they also strengthen communities by giving something back. This is a real opportunity for anyone who has a business idea with a social purpose, to get some advice and backing to get their scheme off the ground. I’m really looking forward to seeing some inspirational new enterprises make a difference in our borough.”

Ron Crank, Chief Executive, Coast to Capital LEP commented: “We are delighted to assist and support the launch of the Social Enterprise Assist Scheme in Croydon with a financial commitment of up to £100k from our Growing Places Fund.   We are constantly looking for new ways to achieve our long-term aims of supporting the growth and development of local businesses which ultimately will deliver jobs, growth and regeneration within one of our core Coast to Capital areas.

“The investment follows a successful pilot of the scheme recently completed in Brighton which we will also be looking to support with a similar financial commitment once the next phase of the scheme gets rolled out.  Supporting Social Enterprise in our region remains a key goal of Coast to Capital and we look forward to working with Legal & General and the Charities Aid Foundation in taking this scheme forward."

For more information or to arrange an interview contact:

Emily Gorton, egorton@cafonline.org, 03000123212/ 07814305808, Sally Yarrow, syarrow@cafonline.org, 03000123275, Charities Aid Foundation Press Office, 03000123286

Or Berni Ryan, PR Manager, Legal & General, berni.ryan@landg.com, 07788 926790

Notes to editors

Social Enterprises:

A social enterprise is a business that trades for a social and/or environmental purpose, rather than to maximise profits for external shareholders.

  • It will have a 'social mission' so it will be clear about what difference it is trying to make, who it wants to help and how it will to do it.
  • It will bring in most or all of its income through selling goods or services and it will reinvest its profits to further the 'social mission'
  • Social enterprises range from large national and international businesses to small community based enterprises.

Well documented examples of social enterprises include the Eden Project in Cornwall; Jamie Oliver's Fifteen; Netmums; Divine chocolate

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