Latest round of Community Impact Support Scheme funding opens

Young Devon - Credit Nick Hook PhotographyYoung Devon – Credit Nick Hook Photography

Posted on: 22 February 2016

Applications are being welcomed for the latest round of business support funding for local communities from today (Monday 22 February).

Community organisations, social enterprise and voluntary sector groups are being invited to apply for Community Impact Support Scheme (CISS) funding. Online expressions of interest can be made until Sunday 6 March at https://new.devon.gov.uk/communities/ciss

Funding ranging from £10,000 to £50,000 is available through the scheme which is run by Devon County Council in partnership with district councils and with support from key stakeholders, including Dartington School for Social Entrepreneurs, Devon Community Foundation, Devon Communities Together, Devon and Somerset Business Finance Network and Department for Work and Pensions.

CISS was launched last year and the first round of funding saw grants awarded to five organisations in Devon.

Young Devon, based in Newton Abbot, which offers advice and counselling to young people on everything from health, housing, work and training, was among those to have benefited from a grant. It has been working with River Cottage to establish catering and customer service apprenticeships at its bistro cafe. The CISS funding has helped Young Devon recruit staff to run its Foodwise project, which will maintain its link with River Cottage.

Dan Coxon, Head of Fundraising and Communications at Young Devon, said: “This has been vital funding for us. We’re recruiting a Head Chef and General Manager and without appointing them we can’t deliver the project. The catering and customer service industry plays a large part in our local economy and we want to be able to use our café for more than income. It’s fantastic to have the support of River Cottage as well. We know the traineeships work and we want to help improve the skills and employability of the young people we work with. We can help them gain experience and a qualification that has real value and help retain those skills in the county.”

The CISS funding has also enabled Freedom Social Enterprises to set up its Freedom Salvage project in Barnstaple. The scheme works with those furthest removed from employment through disability, sickness, addiction, homelessness or other circumstances, providing them with work opportunities and experience in repairing, renovating and recycling donated items which are then sold to raise funds to keep the project running.

Staff and a team of 12 volunteers have repaired everything from bikes to garden furniture to gain skills and experience with a view to helping them back to paid employment. The project is now looking for further volunteers with an interest and skills from metal working and wood working to on-line sales.

Freedom Social Enterprises Managing Director Nigel Harris said: “The CISS funding has helped us to get the Freedom Salvage Project off the ground and over the coming year we will be aiming to establish ourselves as a self-sustaining business selling refurbished items that also gives people the chance to learn new skills, provide a creative outlet and to give something back to our volunteers and the wider community.”

Councillor Andrew Leadbetter

Councillor Andrew Leadbetter

Councillor Andrew Leadbetter, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Economy and Growth, said: “The first five organisations to receive funding through the CISS scheme are improving the skills and employment opportunities of the vulnerable people they are helping, and in many cases they are helping to turn their lives around. This funding is making a real difference. We were heavily oversubscribed on the first round of funding and we would expect the same again, but it’s another opportunity for organisations to put in their bid for a grant.”

CISS was introduced following changes to the Welfare Reform Act with the aim of supporting the long term employment prospects of unemployed people and those in work but dependent on benefits.

The five recipients of CISS funding (St Sidwells Centre, Young Devon, Freedom Community Alliance, The Trill Trust and the Exeter Community Initiatives) are attending the Devon Social Enterprise Programme at Dartington. It is hoped that funding can be found to offer this to successful round two proposals. This free learning programme, funded by Devon County Council and run in partnership with the school for social entrepreneurs at Dartington, provides support on to third sector organisations and social enterprises that are looking to develop and find new business opportunities.

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