Power to Change Community Business Fund

Status:Open to applications
Application Deadline: 9th October, 2018


Grants are available to help locally based and community-led businesses in England to increase their social impact and make them more viable in the long term.

Fund Value: £ 2,500,000
Maximum Value: £ 300,000
Minimum Value: £ 50,000

Value Notes

Round 6 is making £2.5 million available with grants of between £50,000 and £300,000.

Funding is available as follows:

  • Building-related capital costs (purchasing, renovating or adapting), applicants can request up to a maximum of 75% of these costs
  • Non-building related capital costs (purchasing other equipment and physical assets); applicants can request 100% of these costs.
  • Project specific revenue costs of running the business, applicants can request up to 75% of the revenue costs associated with the project.

Extended Description

In 2014 a consortium led by Locality, UnLtd and Plunkett Foundation were awarded a contract to deliver support to community businesses across England. Funding is provided by the BIG Lottery Fund and administered by the Power to Change Trust.

Power to Change will support the development of sustainable community-led enterprises across England to help more people respond to local need and opportunity, and change the places in which they live for the better.

The Community Business Fund aims to help locally based and community-led businesses to increase their social impact and make them more viable in the long-term.

As Power to Change is a charitable fund, it can only fund community business projects which further a charitable purpose and meet a charitable community need.

Latest Information

Round six applications will be accepted from 11 September until 9 October 2018 (12noon).

A free 'Is the Community Business Fund right for you?' webinar will be held on 13 September (2pm to 3pm). Organisations that are interested should go the Power to Change website to sign up.

Key Criteria

Existing Community Businesses that are incorporated and based in England can apply.

A variety of legal structures are eligible to apply but organisations must be incorporated and have a charitable purpose at the heart of the project that funding is being sought for.

Examples of incorporated organisations include:

  • Charitable Incorporated Organisation
  • Community Benefit Society
  • Community Interest Company Limited by Guarantee
  • Community Interest Company Limited by Shares
  • Company Limited by Guarantee
  • Company Limited by Shares
  • Cooperative Society

Please note that registration with the Charity Commission is not the same as incorporation. Applications will be accepted from registered charities which are incorporated.

A community business is often set up to tackle a local issue that the community faces together. There are many types of community business but the four key features that they must have are:

  • Locally rooted - they are rooted in a particular geographical place and respond to its needs, for example high levels of urban deprivation or rural isolation.
  • Accountable to local community - they are accountable to local people. This can be demonstrated in many ways but the organisation must have evidence of regular community influence on the business.
  • Trading for benefit of local community - they are businesses and their income comes from activities like renting out space in their buildings, trading as cafés or selling the produce they grow.
  • Broad community impact - they benefit the community as a whole and can clearly evidence the positive social impact on the broader community.

Organisations must have at least one year of accounts; this could be management accounts or annual accounts. Organisations that have not been operating long enough to have one year of financial accounts are not eligible, unless it is a subsidiary of an established organisation that can provide at least a year of accounts.

Eligible Expenditure

Funding is available to increase the social impact of the community business, and make it more viable in the long term by increasing traded income, securing an asset or reducing revenue costs.

Projects must have a charitable purpose, be for the public benefit and share one or more of the following impact goals:

  • Reduce social isolation.
  • Improve health and wellbeing.
  • Increase employability.
  • Create better access to basic services.
  • Improve local environment.
  • Enable greater community cohesion.
  • Foster greater community pride and empowerment.

Funding can be used for the following:

  • Capital costs including building, vehicles, equipment of significant value, refurbishment costs.
  • Project-specific revenue costs like staff costs, professional fees, volunteer costs.

Projects must be ready to start within six months and can last between 18 months to three years in total.

Match Funding Restrictions

Power to Change will not fund the full costs of the project.

Groups can apply for:

  • 75% of revenue costs for the project e.g. staff salaries, professional fees.
  • 75% of building-related capital costs e.g. purchasing, extending or renovating a building.
  • 100% of other capital costs e.g. the purchase of a vehicle

Applicants should have other sources of funding either confirmed or close to confirmation to show that the project is viable.


Funding is not available for the following:

  • Unincorporated organisations, such as charitable trusts and unincorporated associations.
  • Retrospective costs.
  • To pay for costs which someone else is paying for, whether in cash or in kind.
  • Existing day-to-day running costs.
  • Proposals that promote the advancement of religion or that are party political in nature.

Application Procedure

Application forms are available to complete online.

Applicants can contact Power to Change's grant partner, BE Group, at any point during the application process for free advice and guidance.

Address & Contacts

Contact details:

Application forms may be available to download check the funding body’s own website.

Contact details:
BE Group
Power to Change
The Chandlery Business Centre
50 Westminster Bridge Road
Telephone:0300 1240444