Our first assessment of the community business market found there were over 4,800 community businesses in England in 2014, engaging more than 120,000 volunteers and managing £1 billion worth of assets. We’re publishing an updated report this week with even more exciting stats showing how much community business grew last year. Worth remembering when you’re feeling like people just don’t get community business – a growing number do and are excited to be part of it!

One such organisation is one of our most enthusiastic grantees – the Meltham Carlile Institute. A Power to Change grant is helping them become a bigger, better community hub by incorporating council and community services under one roof. Read more about them below.
Announcing our Community Business Fund

We will be sending a special email about our new Community Business Fund this Friday.

Our Community Business Fund will be our largest grant programme. In 2016, we will award up to £8 million to support community businesses across England. So keep your eyes peeled on your inbox!
BE Group becomes new Power to Change grant partner

Power to Change has appointed independent business services provider BE Group as our new grants administration partner. BE Group will manage Power to Change’s Community Business Fund which opens in April 2016. 

“We are excited to bring our expertise from running the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills national business support helpline to make the grantee application process as smooth as possible and provide ongoing support to Power to Change grantees.” said Alastair MacColl, Chief Executive at BE Group.
Refurbishing a Victorian Mechanics Institute for community use in a West Yorkshire town

Power to Change has awarded a £238,000 grant to refurbish and upgrade the Victorian Carlile Institute in Meltham to include more services for the community.

The community business is run by around 20 local members, currently attracts 6,500 local users, and reinvests its profits into improving and diversifying services needed by the community. The refurbishment began in 2013, when a local community group took over the once abandoned building on the town’s high street  to house full library facilities, the post office, and use the space for community events. Meltham Town Council has also moved in, giving local people public and community services in one convenient building.
State of community business sector report out on March 2nd

Commissioned by Power to Change, Social Finance is releasing a new report, “The community business market in 2015” on 2nd March. The report will give a comprehensive overview of the growth of community businessin England, highlight different growth profiles between sectors and examine the support needs of different types of community business. Check the Research section of our website on 2nd March.

Starting a local conversation in Plymouth and Sheffield

Through our place-based programme, we’re exploring ways in which community business can thrive and achieve positive change when key local players are brought together. 

“In Sheffield, the Young Foundation is working with local people in Park Central, Upperthorpe and Heeley to understand what people think about their local area and build up a picture of what makes people proud of their place, their needs and also aspirations. This will help us to understand how businesses serving the community in Sheffield can respond better to the community.” said Dot Zacharias, Head of Local and Regional Investment for Power to Change. “We’re also working with Social Enterprise UK, the Real Ideas Organisation (RIO) & Plymouth Social Enterprise Network in Plymouth to engage with communities in Devonport and Stonehouse, supporting people with ideas for change to use community business to improve their area. This is the first step in raising aspirations and inspiring local action.”
New website gives ‘good finance’ advice was launched to help community businesses better understand social investment and finance options. As well as demystifying social investment, it looks at the importance of impact measurement to attract investment, offers resources, guidance, case studies, social investment related events and highlights available funding. Well worth a look.
Small grants available for community organisations

The Better Community Business Network’s Grant Initiative aims to provide small grant awards to empower charities and local community projects for the betterment of society. This initiative distributes up to £3000 per month to small but credible community projects, which are able to demonstrate the positive impact that they add to the local community. Find out more and apply here.
Coming up
11 March – YSC Sustainable leadership course, Cornwall

If you are based in Cornwall, this leadership training could be for you! Join the School for Social Entrepreneurs and YSC for this two-day leadership course at the SSE Cornwall Hub. Find out more and book here.
11 March - Women-led community enterprise, London 

This year’s WOW (Women of the World) Festival at the Southbank Centre in London features a seminar on ‘Women-led community enterprise’. Lynne Franks, founder of SEED (Sustainable Enterprise and Empowerment Dynamics), introduces two women who are making it happen - Rachel Hanney, who runs the shop at the Tablehurst Biodynamic Community Farm, and sustainability consultant Michelle Dixon, Director of Forest Row Energy Co-op, a new community–owned initiative tackling fuel poverty. Lynne leads an in-conversation followed by a workshop on how to create your own collaborative vision. Book here.
17 March – Measuring Social Impact training, London

Economic Change CIC are running this training workshop for organisations that want to develop a framework, reporting process and system for measuring the social and economic impact of their projects. Find out more and book here.
17 March - Achieving Excellence in Volunteering Management, London

During this free event run by Economic Change CIC will be looking at best practice standards for recruiting and management volunteers, and monitoring and measuring the impact of their work. Find out more and book here.
23 March - Plunkett kicks off pension training, Nationwide

From 23rd March until 17th November, the Plunkett Foundation will be hosting pension training workshops for community cooperatives all around the UK. The workshop will help you understand the new pension rules and how to put them in action. Find out more about dates and locations here.
Work with us
Work with us and support community business. We are currently recruiting for five roles - spread the word!
Head of Research and Policy, full-time, London, Bristol or Sheffield
Head of Impact Assessment, full-time, London, Bristol or Sheffield

Data and CRM Manager, part-time, Sheffield

Finance and Operations Manager, full-time, London

Programmes Manager, part-time maternity cover, Bristol

Find out more and apply here.
If you would like to advertise a community business related event or training, or volunteering/job opportunity in our March newsletter, please send an email to
Power to Change
The Clarence Centre
6 St George's Circus
London SE1 6FE

020 3857 7270

2016 Power to Change Trustee Ltd is a company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales, no. 08940987, and registered charity, no. 1159982.

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