Community Investment Scheme targets Businesses

Volunteer Community Groups

The Government is encouraging small businesses to invest in voluntary and community groups by promising to match their donations from a £50 million funding pot.

Volunteer Community Groups

The scheme, launched by the Cabinet Office, will see donations from businesses invested in endowment funds before being made available to community groups in 2011.

Business contributions will be matched by Government when local funding bodies reach their fundraising targets. If all the targets are met, that will release the full £50m of Government money into the scheme. It is hoped that with sound investment the £100m of matched funding will be worth £150m by the time it starts paying out.

The initiative is part of a wider £130m Grassroots Grants scheme to be administered by the Community Development Foundation (CDF). More than a hundred local funding bodies will hand out grants of between £250 and £5,000 to community groups with an annual income of less than £20,000.

The funding bodies themselves will be community organisations with a good idea of where resources are needed locally. The funding can be used for anything from buying new sports kit to giving a meeting–room a fresh lick of paint. CDF chief executive Alison Seabrooke said:

“The grants reach out to community groups which may never have considered applying for grant funding before. The endowment match challenge enables local funders to continue this funding over the long term, giving community groups a real future.”

To give money, businesses need to approach their local funding body. There is no lower limit on the size of donation businesses can make, and Gift Aid means they will automatically increase — for example, a £500 match–funded donation from a business will be worth £1,280 to the fund.

The head of Grassroots Grants, Lesley Chambers said:

“Local businesses should invest in Grassroots Grants as it will raise their profile as a business that cares about their community, employee and customers.”

Phil Hope, Minister for the Third Sector, added:

“Grassroots Grants will put essential cash into the hands of small local voluntary groups without all the paperwork required for larger grants. I urge businesses to make an investment in the future of their community by contributing to the new funds. Every penny that goes in will return a much greater value.”

For more information about Grassroots Grants, including a full list of local funders for the endowment fund, visit the Community Development Foundation website

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