Power to Change Community Business Bright Ideas Programme

Status: Open to applications
Application Deadline: 31 July 2018


A package of tailored support and grants is available to incorporated or unincorporated organisation in England that want to develop their budding community business ideas.


Fund Value: £ 700,000
Maximum Value: £ 15,000
Minimum Value: £ 1,000

Value Notes 

A total of £700,000 is being made available in Round 4 with grants of up to £15,000.

Successful organisations will receive:

  • Business development support – up to 12 days of business development support from Locality, Plunkett Foundation, or Co-operatives UK.
  • Grant funding - the opportunity to apply for a grant of up to £15,000, which can be spent on specific activities to develop the community business idea.
  • Learning and peer networking – access to online resources, thematic webinars and the opportunity to visit and learn from existing community businesses.

The following is an indication of the range of grants available:

  • Ideas stage – grants of between £1,000 and £10,000.
  • Pre-venture stage – grants of between £1,000 and £15,000.

The funding must be spent by 31 June 2019.

Extended Description

Since 2016, the Bright Ideas programme, funded jointly by Power to Change and the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government, has supported 89 nascent community businesses. In 2018, Power to Change is committing an additional £700,000 to help launch a further 40 inspiring, locally rooted and community-led businesses.

A package of tailored support and grants will be available for community groups and organisations in England who need support and tools in order to start setting up their community business. It will also give them the early stage finance they need to carry out consultation with local people and feasibility studies to develop a community business idea the community wants and needs.

For Round 4, there is particular interest in Bradford, Grimsby, Hartlepool, Leicester, Luton, Plymouth, Wigan, Liverpool City Region, Suffolk and West of England Combined Authorities.

Latest Information

The deadline for Round 4 applications is 31 July 2018 (midnight).

Key Criteria

To be eligible for round four, applicants must:

  • Be based in England.
  • Be an incorporated or unincorporated organisation, but not an individual.
  • Have an idea for a community business.
  • Have been established for five years or less.
  • Have charitable purposes.
  • Be for public benefit.
  • Share the impact goals of the funder.

Power to Change will fund a broad range of organisational types, including:

  • Charitable Incorporated Association.
  • Community Benefit Society.
  • Community Interest Company Limited by Shares.
  • Community Interest Company Limited by Guarantee.
  • Co-operative Society (IPS Co-operative)
  • Registered Charity.
  • Company Limited by Shares.
  • Company Limited by Guarantee.

Eligability Expendeture

The funding is to help community groups set up their own business and carry out the necessary consultations with local people and feasibility studies to develop a community business idea the community wants and needs.

To be eligible Community Business ideas must:

  • Share one or more of Power to Change’s seven impact goals.
  • Address at least one charitable purpose.
  • Be developing no more than three activities as listed below.

The seven impact goals are:

  • Reduce social isolation
  • Improve health and wellbeing
  • Increase employability
  • Create better access to basic services
  • Improve the local environment
  • Enable greater community cohesion
  • Foster greater community pride and empowerment

The charitable purposes are:

  • The prevention or relief of poverty.
  • The advancement of education.
  • The advancement of citizenship or community development.
  • The advancement of the arts, culture, heritage or science.
  • The advancement of amateur sport.
  • The promotion of religious or racial harmony or equality and diversity.
  • The advancement of environmental protection or improvement.
  • The relief of those in need, by reason of youth, age, ill-health, disability, financial hardship or other disadvantage.

The eligible activities are:

  • Arts centre or facility.
  • Community hub, facility or space.
  • Community pub, shop or cafe.
  • Employment, training, business support or education.
  • Energy.
  • Environmental or nature conservation.
  • Food catering or production (including farming).
  • Health, care or wellbeing.
  • Housing.
  • Income or financial inclusion.
  • Sports and leisure.
  • Transport.
  • Visitor facilities or tourism.

The grants will fund a number of different things, including but not limited to:

  • Getting established as an organisation (legal fees, registration fees).
  • Training.
  • Knowledge and skills exchanges.
  • Reasonable fees incurred in developing their community business idea (community engagement, market research, etc).

Match Funding Restrictions

Match funding is required. Power to Change would like to see their funding ‘unlock’ other funding. Competition will be high so groups should make sure they get in as much funding for their project as possible. This could include a range of different sources including crowdfunding and community shares, other grants, loans and ‘in-kind’ support that is free but which groups might have otherwise had to pay for.



The following are not eligible for funding:

  • Well-established organisations (defined as five years and older).
  • Local authorities or statutory organisations or services which are regarded as statutory or government provision.
  • Individuals.
  • Regional or national organisations or organisations that are working local authority-wide.
  • Proposals which promote the advancement of religion or that are party political in nature. (Faith groups may apply as long as their project has a charitable purpose other than the advancement of religion.)
  • Activities outside of England.
  • Capital costs such as building purchase or refurbishment or the purchase of equipment.
  • Ongoing running costs (salaries, rent, insurance, etc.).

Application Procedure 

The first step is to apply to join the Bright Ideas programme. Applicants should use the eligibility checker on the MyCommunity website to ensure they meet the criteria for the programme. Those who are eligible will receive an email with a link to the application form. Applicants will then be notified of a decision within four to six weeks of the receipt of application. Successful groups will be assigned an advisor to help them develop their plan.

The guidance notes, frequently asked questions, and the online application form can be found on the Locality website.

Contact Locality for further information.

Addresses and contacts

Application forms may be available on their website.

Contact details:
Locality - My Community 
33 Corsham Street 
N1 6DR