Social enterprise fund awards £142,000

Emerging artists, an allotment and educational facility, a cultural hub, a business advice company and an indoor skate park are all due to benefit from an injection of cash thanks to Plymouth City Council’s social enterprise fund.

Plymouth City Council is believed to be the first council in the country to have a Social Enterprise Investment Fund, and this week they have awarded £142,000 to 5 social enterprises, creating over 29 new jobs. The awards have been made following a highly competitive application process.

The Social Enterprise Investment Fund comes from the Council’s ‘Building for Jobs’ Investment Fund – one of the Council’s 19 ‘Plan for Jobs’ projects aimed at unlocking stalled developments, creating new jobs and levering in additional public and private sector finance.

Councillor Chris Penberthy, Cabinet member for Cooperatives and Community Development said: “I am delighted to award this funding to some truly inspirational social enterprise projects.

One of the projects is Stiltskin, they propose to develop an un-used building in Devonport Park, and turn it into a Children’s Cultural Hub, creating over 5 jobs and cultural events that the whole family can enjoy. This is exactly the sort of project that we like to see benefit from this funding, as well as creating jobs, and making use of an unused building, the money will go towards a project that will benefit the whole community.”

Stiltskin are a grass roots community interest company, who create arts and theatre projects for children between the ages of 4-15. They aim to stimulate imaginations and creative abilities with projects that are inspiring.

Social enterprises are businesses like this with primarily social objectives whose surpluses are reinvested back into the business or into the community.

Other businesses which have been awarded funding during this round include Prime Skate Park, an indoor skate park situated in Cattedown, they attract users mainly aged between 9 and 25 as well as national and international professional skaters.

The investment fund of £29,000 will enable Prime to build additional facilities including ramps and obstacles. Also a community interest group, young people can drop into one of their skate club sessions, without the need to book. Prime hope that the funding will bring in more local people and help put Plymouth on the national skate map.

The Alamo Project, a professional artist’s studio in Millbay have also been awarded funding. They aim to offer incubation space for emerging artists leading toward their own studios and self-employment. Their package is £10,000 of match funding towards feasibility work.

The other two projects to get funding include BEES UK, bespoke engaging education services, they are an allotment and education facility working with young people in Plymstock. With thier £77,050 award they hope to offer employment and training opportunities for school leavers who may otherwise struggle to find employment.

In 2013, 13 young people enrolled on a BEES training program. In 2014 they enrolled a total of 26 young people and have now secured a further contract to support 20 year 7 students.

And Iridescent are the fifth social enterprise company, they aim to be the leading social enterprise business advice company in the South West, they have been awarded £16k to help grow and expand the business.