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Major social enterprise funder looking for Lancashire community organisations

A free roadshow for social businesses across the North West will come to Lancashire next month, geared towards helping community-driven organisations understand what funding is available to them and how to access it to become more successful.

The event, organised by First Ark Social Investment, will discuss how social enterprises can become more sustainable. There will also be the opportunity to discuss how these businesses can access First Ark’s new ‘Invest for Impact’ fund, a scheme specifically for social enterprises that allows organisations to access up to £150k in a blend of grant and loan or pure loan.

The free event, open to all local charities, voluntary organisations, social ventures and entrepreneurs, is set to be held at the 3rd Floor Conference Suite, Cotton Court Business Centre, Church Street, Preston, PR1 3BY on Friday 10th February 2017 09:00-12:00.

Following similar events in Manchester and Cumbria, two North West organisations have already successfully secured a combined total of £249k.

Brathay Trust, based in the Lake District, has received funding to support vulnerable young people, helping them to avoid antisocial pitfalls, establish independence, and become more actively involved in making a positive difference to the community.

Emerge, a Manchester-based social enterprise that helps organisations become more sustainable, has received support in becoming more sustainable and growing their operations to help make Manchester greener.

Tony Cahill, executive director at First Ark, the parent company of First Ark Social Investment, said

“The launch of the Invest for Impact fund is the latest chapter in the unfolding story of the North West’s booming social economy. This fund is available to organisations across the region dedicated to making their communities a better place, who are ready to step up their operations and grow.

“We’re bringing this roadshow to Preston because we know that Lancashire has so many groups working to make a real impact in their area, and we want to help them. This event is all about helping these businesses become sustainable, diversify and keep on growing.”

Hannah Jones, Investment Fund Manager at First Ark Social Investment, said:

“The social economy in the North West is going from strength to strength, as more and more people recognise how crucial community-driven organisations are. From working closely with Liz Tapner, the chief executive of SELNET (Social Enterprise Lancashire Network), we’ve learned that Lancashire is one of the hotbeds of this growth.

“But for the sector to really flourish it needs two things: more opportunities for social enterprises to connect and support each other, and significant external investment. We’re bringing the First Ark Social Investment Roadshow to Lancashire to provide exactly that.

“I’m looking forward to bringing together some of Lancashire’s best voluntary and community organisations under one roof to meet each other, learn from each other, and discover how to access a level of investment that is bound to propel community-driven organisations into a long, bright future.”

The First Ark Social Investment Lancashire Roadshow takes place on Friday 10th February, 09:00-12:00, at the 3rd Floor Conference Suite, Cotton Court Business Centre, Church Street, Preston, PR1 3BY. It is free to attend and open to anyone with an interest in social enterprise or community-driven organisations. To register, head to https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/first-ark-social-investment-roadshow-lancashire-tickets-30919007584?aff=es2



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