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Issue:- 10 April 2014

Vital funding up for grabs for innovative social businesses

2 specialist social investment organisations based in the North West, First Ark and Fusion21, have challenged early stage social businesses across the region to apply for vital investment capital and business mentoring support to help propel their ventures to the next level.

The opportunity to grab a share of a funding pot worth £500,000 is open specifically to social businesses, which are enterprises that are created and designed to address a specific social problem. In particular, social businesses generate profits which are invested back into the business itself to help it grow, or are used to start other social businesses, with the ultimate aim of increasing social impact.

First Ark and Fusion21 are 2 of the partners which have provided funding towards the national Corporate Social Venturing (CSV) Challenge run by Big Issue Invest, the social investment arm of the Big Issue. The CSV Challenge is seeking up to 20 teams from across the UK to join an intensive mentoring programme. At the end, 10 finalists will be chosen to receive an investment of up to £50,000 each, as well as on-going business support.

Social enterprises, charities, public sector spin-outs or any businesses across Merseyside/the North West with a social mission are encouraged to apply. To be considered for investment, ventures must be able to deliver high social impact, have a track record and ambitious development plan, and be working in the fields of health, education, wellbeing, homelessness or the creative industries.

Bob Taylor, chief executive at First Ark, comments:- "At First Ark we're passionate about creating opportunities for social businesses to succeed and we've invested in this exciting programme because it will stimulate and enable enterprise and enterprising people here in Merseyside/the North West to reach their potential and generate a huge social impact. It's an amazing opportunity to make a real and sustainable difference to people and local economies and we're delighted to be one of the corporate partners."

Dave Neilson, chief executive at social housing procurement specialist Fusion21, adds:- "As a social enterprise we are committed to encouraging the growth of social ventures that will help to stimulate the economy and create jobs where they are most needed. Fusion21 has committed considerable financial investment to this scheme. As corporate partners we are looking forward to working and supporting social businesses tackling some of the toughest challenges in society."

Nigel Kershaw, CEO of Big Issue Invest and Chair of Big Issue, said:- "The Corporate Social Venturing programme is core to The Big Issue's mission. We don't want people ending up on the streets and that's why we're investing in brilliant social ventures that create jobs, training, accommodation and wellbeing. It's all about prevention.  The relationship we have with our corporate partners is not some fly-by-night 'social wash'; it's for real. They are putting in their own money and time to nurture these social ventures in the long term."

The initiative is an innovative partnership between Big Issue Invest and Barclays, with investment and support from 5 partners why are:- Experian, First Ark, Fusion21, Places for People, and The University of Northampton. The Challenge is also supported by the Cabinet Office, as part of the £10m Social Investment Fund.

Interested social businesses can visit:- to apply. The deadline for applications is 5pm on 19.

Sidmouth Lifeboat on Bike's team Visits Southport Lifeboat
Photographs and report by Scott Harrison.

Group Photo of Southport Lifeboat Crew, Sidmouth Lifeboat on bikes team and Southport Coastguard

ON Tuesday 8 April 2014 Sidmouth Lifeboat on Bikes (SLOBS) team came to Southport Lifeboat house. The Sidmouth Lifeboat on bikes is riding around the UK to as many INDEPENDENT LIFEBOAT'S as they can. On Tuesday they went from Carlisle to Southport. Sidmouth Lifeboat are Raising money to buy a new back-up boat.

Southport Lifeboat would like to thank the Rotary Clubs of Southport, Southport Meols, Southport Links and Southport Sunrise for their kind donation of £200. Sidmouth Lifeboat also received £200.

Pictured here is Tony D'Arcy-Masters from Southport Lifeboat with the Rotary Clubs of Southport receiving £200. 

You can see video footage of Sidmouth Lifeboat on bikes team leaving the Southport Lifeboat House on YouTube.

Southport Lifeboat and Sidmouth Lifeboat are both INDEPENDENT LIFEBOAT'S and receive NO funding from the RNLI. Both Lifeboat's are depend entirely on donations from the public. They both receive no Government grants.

If you would like to follow the Sidmouth Lifeboat on bikes team here is the Facebook and for more information about Sidmouth Lifeboat visit:-

To see more information about Southport Lifeboat you can visit:-

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