Social enterprises across Lancashire are being encouraged to apply for social investment, offered by a Merseyside-based funder, to help them become more sustainable and enhance their social impact.
First Ark Social Investment (FASI) works with social enterprises and charities across the North West and is especially keen to partner with organisations in Lancashire.
FASI, together with Lancaster University and the Social Enterprise Network for Lancashire (Selnet) is offering local social enterprises the chance to attend a free ‘social investment workshop’. Held on 23 September, from 12.30 – 3.30pm, at FASS Meeting Room 2, North Campus, at the University, it will offer individuals face-to-face funding advice, support around applying for investment and there’s an opportunity to listen to talks by all partners.
FASI recently received an additional commitment of top-up funding from The Growth Fund, a partnership between The National Lottery Community Fund, Big Society Capital and Access – The Foundation for Social Investment. This additional backing will enable FASI to offer up to an additional £2.3m in ‘blended’ finance investments, made up of grants and loans, to social enterprises across the North West, including Lancashire.
Léann Hearne, Group Chief Executive Officer at First Ark Group, said:
“We’re looking to work with any social enterprises in the area that promote social investment – from an organisation that upskills unemployed people, to a creative enterprise or sporting venture.
“If you’re wondering about how to grow your social organisation or charity come along to our free workshop at Lancaster University and speak to one of our team and listen to informed speakers.
“Many organisations in Lancashire might not be aware of the funds and strategic support we offer. We’re here to help social enterprises grow, become more sustainable, increase their social value and make a real difference within their communities.
“We’re particularly keen to support organisations in the area and want to raise awareness of how FASI can help create additional social impact and develop financial sustainability.”
Glyn Jones, Commercial Programme Manager at Lancaster University, added:
“Funding is a vital part of business growth and key to sustainability. It’s also one that causes the most concern for entrepreneurs and company owners. Social investment is a great option to consider through First Ark Social Investment, especially when supported by organisations like Selnet, which has a deep understanding of the social space in Lancashire.
“Selnet and First Ark both support our aspirations. Selnet is a great example of a pro-active network that positively contributes to the success and sustainability of its members, and First Ark’s social business model chimes with our aims in population health and sustainable care.”
Liz Tapner, Chief Executive Officer at Selnet, Lancashire’s social enterprise network, commented:
“Selnet is here to help Lancashire social enterprises to develop. We’re thrilled be working with First Ark Group again, in collaboration with Lancaster University. Many organisations might be wary of social investment, assuming it is too complex or out of reach to achieve. This is a great chance to understand how it actually works in practice, how it can enable organisations grow, access new opportunities and have an even greater impact.”
To book a place on the free social investment workshop please register here:
To apply for funding from FASI please visit:
The Selnet team are delighted to announce that our CEO, Liz Tapner, is a finalist in the UK Social Enterprise Awards.
The Awards recognise organisations for their business excellence and contribution to society, as well as the achievements of people working at the heart of the sector. Liz is shortlisted in the ‘Women in Social Enterprise’ category, which celebrates women working in the senior leadership team of a social enterprise who represents excellence in her field of work.
Winners will be announced at an Awards ceremony and gala dinner in a central London venue on Wednesday 28 November.
On announcing the shortlist, SEUK said “Congratulations to those organisations and individuals who have been shortlisted for this year’s UK Social Enterprise Awards! Once again we had an incredible response to the Awards with so many fantastic applications. The quantity and quality of work being done across the UK is hugely inspiring and a real testament to the strength of social enterprise in this country.”
Earlier this year Liz was awarded one of the UK’s first Honorary Fellowships by SEUK.
Building Better Opportunities (BBO) is a national programme from The National Lottery Community Fund who are matching funds from the European Social Fund (ESF) 2014-2020 to invest in local projects tackling the root causes of poverty, promoting social inclusion and driving local jobs and growth.
Selnet is leading three specialist partnership projects that are delivering support across Lancashire, Blackpool and Blackburn with Darwen; ‘Age of Opportunity’, ‘Invest in Youth’ and ‘Changing Futures’ are unique in being delivered by 45 exclusively Voluntary, Community, and Social Enterprise Organisations. With each partner having specific expertise in supporting disadvantaged people, our partners combine to help each participant understand, address and overcome a wide range of barriers. Over three years, 3270 disadvantaged people will benefit from support tailored to their individual needs and interests to overcome complex barriers and move towards work and training.
The ‘barriers’ that contribute towards people being disadvantaged and unable to engage in work, education or training can include issues around; mental health, low self-esteem and low confidence, health problems or disabilities, caring responsibilities, debt, low or no skills, access to childcare, BME, LGBT, chaotic lifestyles and substance misuse.
In September 2018 we reached a huge milestone; in 2 years our partnerships had engaged 2000 people to help them address and overcome barriers. 200 people who were previously struggling with multiple barriers had started a new job or begun training.
Perhaps one of our projects could help you or someone you know?
Selnet led a 12-month process of developing three Lancashire-wide partnerships to provide specialist employability and skills support to disadvantaged people. Two projects began in August 2016; the ‘Age of Opportunity’, supports the over-50s, and ‘Invest in Youth’, supports young people aged 15-24. The third project, ‘Changing Futures’, began in February 2017 and supports people with multiple and complex barriers to employment.
To find out more, click on the links below to visit the project pages:
The Age of Opportunity project supports people who are over 50 and currently unemployed or economically inactive to improve their skills and employment opportunities.
The Invest in Youth project supports young people aged 15-24 who are unemployed or economically inactive including those not in employment, education or training ‘NEET’ or at risk of becoming NEET, to improve their skills and employability.
The Changing Futures project supports individuals who are at risk of exclusion from the labour market to overcome multiple and complex barriers and move towards employment and training.
More Information on European Funding in Lancashire
The 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) Growth Programme provides funds to help local areas stimulate growth. The funds support investment in innovation, businesses, skills and employment to improve local growth and create jobs.
A single ESIF Growth Programme has been set up to combine three separate European Funds. The Growth Programme provides funding to help projects in England that create jobs and economic growth.
For more information:
Lancashire LEP developed arrangements to ‘opt-in’ to the Big Lottery Fund (now known as The National Lottery Community Fund) to enable Lancashire to build a strong foundation for social inclusion programmes. This resulted in a £12.5m project for Lancashire in Building Better Opportunities joint funded by The National Lottery Community Fund and European Social Fund that will encompass 5 Lancashire projects.
Read more here:
The driving force behind Selnet – the Social Enterprise Lancashire Network – has been awarded one of the first Honorary Fellowships of the national body, Social Enterprise UK.
The Honorary Fellowships were awarded to 15 outstanding sector leaders who have taken their own organisations from strength to strength but also play a large part in shaping, guiding and championing the social enterprise movement as a whole. Recognising those who have contributed to creating a diverse, thriving and truly impactful community of businesses, the Fellowships celebrate key individuals who are making great strides to drive the sector forwards now.
Selnet Chief Executive Liz Tapner was named along with the leaders in the social enterprise world alongside the founder of the Big Issue magazine, Lord John Bird, and Sophi Tranchell MBE of pioneering Fairtrade company Divine Chocolate.
Since joining Selnet over 10 years ago, Liz has grown the organisation from a small project to a major body which represents and supports the social enterprises that operate across Lancashire.
When you think of social enterprise in Lancashire, you think of Liz Tapner. She has put her heart and her soul into the job and the board is delighted that she has been recognised on the national stage by Social Enterprise UK.
Liz is undoubtedly one of the main reasons why Selnet has been so successful over the last 10 years and we’re delighted to have her at the helm.
Liz led Selnet in securing a £9.2m project called Building Better Opportunities, funded by the Big Lottery Fund and the European Social Fund where a partnership of 64 organisations are helping the most vulnerable in society to be more resilient and closer to the world of work.
Social Enterprise UK is a national body which regularly has the ear of government to advise them on issues within the sector and, as it has been running for 15 years, has appointed 15 honorary fellows
Speaking of her appointment, Liz said: “It is a huge honour for me personally and a great testament to the work that we achieve here in Lancashire. My job is to secure and manage contracts, but I get my satisfaction from seeing the work being undertaken by the social enterprises that we represent who are helping people when they need it most.
I am supported by a fantastic board of directors drawn from social enterprises across Lancashire and have an amazing team working with me.
And we don’t work in isolation – our projects are often delivered in partnership, particularly with Lancashire County Council, the LEP, local authorities and funding bodies nationally and across Europe.”
It’s a view echoed by the chair of the board, Graham Jones from Bootstrap Enterprises, based in Blackburn. He said: “When you think of social enterprise in Lancashire, you think of Liz Tapner. She has put her heart and her soul into the job and the board is delighted that she has been recognised on the national stage by Social Enterprise UK.
“Liz is undoubtedly one of the main reasons why Selnet has been so successful over the last 10 years and we’re delighted to have her at the helm.”
Tel: 0796 700 5330
Urban Organic (UK) CIC, Blackpool, is a social enterprise that was created to harness the therapeutic ability of gardening to improve wellbeing in people who would otherwise be socially excluded. Operating across the Fylde we engage, socialise and inspire people to make real changes to their diet, the way they buy food, their environmental awareness, their mental health and their ability to engage with and inspire others.
How can they help you to grow your business?
The Growth Vouchers programme can help you find the expert advice and support you need to grow your business.
The Growth Voucher contributes 50% towards the cost of expert advice up to a maximum of £2,000.
Professional advice can be funded in a number of areas, including;
- Raising Finance & Managing Cash Flow; examples include advice on the overall financial health of your business, improving cash flow management, credit control or advice on how to negotiate with banks and investors.
- Marketing Attracting & Keeping Customers; examples include advice on effective marketing strategies, market research, targeting existing and potential customers, using social media to extend your reach into new markets, pricing strategies and selling skills.
- Making the most of Digital Technology; examples include advice on product development and market testing, customer service, building online sales, and technology improvements.
- Improving Leadership & Management Skills; examples include advice on planning for the future, change management, and how to build and improve the management potential of you and your team.
- Recruiting & Developing your Staff; examples include advice on how to hire, train and manage staff, employment law and regulations, and performance management systems.
Is my business eligible?
- Do you have less than 50 employees
- Have you been trading for at least one year
- Is your business registered in England
- Your business has not paid for strategic advice or received less than 200,000 euros of public money in the last 3 years
How do I apply for a voucher?
Complete the short application form by visiting www.gov.uk/apply-growth-vouchers
Please email email@example.com for an electronic copy of this text and growth voucher logo.
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