This post appeared first on The Plunkett Foundation’s website.

The Rural Community Co-operative Awards 2015 celebrate the most inspirational examples of what can be achieved when rural communities work together. The awards will showcase the co-operatives that have made a real difference to individuals within their community, from helping to overcome social isolation and loneliness to addressing specific health issues. They also recognise innovative business practices from both established rural co-operatives, as well as newer enterprises.

Why enter?

  • Winners will receive a £500 cash prize to reinvest in their community enterprise
  • If you are shortlisted you will receive a free ticket to the Community Co-operative Networking Event and Plunkett Foundation AGM
  • The Awards are free to enter
  • You will receive free publicity for your enterprise
  • You will have a fantastic accolade to impress funders and customers alike
  • Even if you do not win, the information you provide may lead us to create a case study of your enterprise, publicising your fantastic ideas or inclusion in our newsletters or future literature
  • The Awards are kindly supported by a range of organisations, representatives of which make-up the judging panel. Just entering the awards means your enterprise will be given exposure to these organisations, and, if you are shortlisted, you could receive a visit
  • Being a part of the Plunkett Foundation Rural Community Co-operative Awards means you are helping to raise awareness not only of your enterprise, but the community enterprise sector. You will be helping to raise awareness of the potential of co-operation in even more communities across the UK and Ireland, hopefully inspiring them to follow in your footsteps.

Who can enter?

The Plunkett Foundation is inviting enterprises from across England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Ireland to apply and help to inspire other communities to improve rural lives and livelihoods through co-operation. Applicants need to be:

  • A community co-operative enterprise such as a shop, bakery, café, garage, pub, bookshop, gym etc.
  • An incorporated body – suitable structures: IPS Ben Com, CIC (large membership) and CLG (with appropriate articles)
  • Open and trading
  • Located within the UK or Ireland
  • Rural

The deadline for applications is Thursday 30th April 2015 at 5pm.

Three co-operatives from each category will be shortlisted, and will automatically receive one free place to the prize-giving ceremony, which will take place at the national Community Co-operative Networking Event and Plunkett AGM on 25 June 2015.

Visit The Plunkett Foundation’s website for more info >>>>

We’re delighted to hear that our friends at The Funky Indian CIC are expanding, with plans to open a second restaurant in Newcastle!

At the end of 2014, The Funky Indian opened its Sunderland branch to rave reviews. The restaurant operates as a social enterprise, offering training and employment opportunities for young people. Owner-manager Kam is putting plans in place to open a second Funky Indian restaurant in Newcastle, to continue to expand his unique concept of high-quality dining as a social enterprise.

Read about this story on The Journal >>>>
Read about this story on BDaily Business News >>>>

More information about The Funky Indian on their Facebook page >>>>

To celebrate International Women’s Day 2015, Northumbria University’s Gender & Society Research Hub has organised a series of events with the City Library which focus on women’s role in society. Each event is focused on a particular theme and will feature women from the local community working in a variety of professional areas and contexts.


The Community Foundation is pleased to announce the launch of the Santander Social Enterprise Development Awards (SEDA) for 2015. The award is a national community investment programme, to help support growing social enterprises and enterprising charities working for the direct benefit of their community. The criteria list can be found here.

Launched on 2nd March 2015 the awards for the north of England are available through the Community Foundations for Lancashire and Merseyside and are open to Registered Charities and Constituted Community Groups who can demonstrate an enterprising element to their work and income.

Prizes of between £5,000 or £10,000 are available to help Registered Charities and Community Groups grow their enterprise activities and services under one of the following social outcomes: improving social inclusion, supporting disadvantaged people through skills, training and employment, or creating a greener environment.

In addition to the financial awards, the winners will also have access to a business support programme including; the opportunity to have a three month intern working in the organisation to help implement enterprising growth plans and specialist social enterprise consultancy support from Inspire2Enterprise.

For further information, detailed guidelines and to enter please click visit (administrator of the awards in North of England) or

The deadline for entries is 10th April 2015.

Time to Talk is the Community Foundation’s monthly lunchtime discussions on a range of topics.  They are usually on the first Wednesday of each month, but please note the June session is on a Tuesday so that anyone who is unable to attend on a Wednesday has an opportunity to join us.

There is no formal agenda but it is an opportunity for representatives from a range of groups and organisations to share thoughts, ideas, good practice, and hopefully learn a little. Each session will be hosted by two Community Foundation staff and will give you a chance to network and make new contacts.

We’ll provide tea, coffee and biscuits and you are welcome to bring along a sandwich.

Wednesday 1st April: Why is the Community Foundation changing its monitoring processes and how can Impact Reporting help your group?

Wednesday 6th May: How can the Community Foundation support arts activities?

Tuesday 2nd June: How do groups put themselves in the best position to be successful with the Community Foundation?

The sessions will run from 12.30pm to 2pm at the Community Foundation, Cale Cross, 156 Pilgrim Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 6SU.

Advance booking is essential and spaces are allocated on a first come, first served basis. As numbers will be limited, one representative per organisation may attend (unless you require a support worker).

If you would like to come to more than one of these three sessions please prioritise your choices and we hope to be able to guarantee at least one place for this round of talks.

You can reserve a place by emailing:


Builders’ merchant Jewson has launched a £100,000 Building Better Communities competition to celebrate and support the communities it serves across the UK.

The vote-based competition is open to any local group in the UK that has a ‘big idea’ that will benefit its community. Nominations for innovative and ambitious projects which make use of sustainable products and practices are particularly welcome.

The competition is aimed at transforming spaces and places in need of a little love and attention across the UK. The awards are meant to be used to support building projects of all shapes and sizes, no matter how innovative or ambitious.

Jewson will be giving away a top prize of £50,000 to help pay for both materials and labour, plus other prizes of between £1,000 and £5,000 to cover the cost of building materials

The money can be spent on anything from a new roof for the local village hall, a sensory garden, a community festival or a much needed coat of paint for a neglected public facility.

Nominations can be made to the following categories:

  • Former Glories – projects that return a building or space to how it used to be while delivering environmental benefits.
  • Great British Sport – projects that will create a legacy of community sport and inclusion that will help promote an active and healthy lifestyle in the local area.
  • Inclusion for All – projects that needs sustainable materials to open up places, spaces and opportunities for the wider community to enjoy.
  • Support in the Community – projects that celebrate culture of any kind (music, art, theatre, dance, photography, etc.) and provides lasting support services to local residents.

Nominations are to be made online via the Jewson Building Better Communities website.

Once the nominations are all in, a shortlist will be drawn up. The shortlisted projects will be open to a community vote. Once the voting has closed, the panel will judge each entry and pick regional winners who will get an award of £1,000 and £5,000 and one main winner who will receive £50,000.

The deadline for nominations is 12 April 2015.

Source: Jewson, 26/02/2015

Assembly member sought to represent the VCS on Social Prescribing Planning Group

Social prescribing is a way of linking patients with non-medical sources of support within the local community.  It involves signposting and supporting people to be involved in local community based activities that compliment traditional medical interventions.

The VCS Assembly has been asked to work alongside Public Health, Northumberland CCG and the Health and Well Being Communications and Engagement group to form a planning group and organise an event of VCS, providers and CCG commissioners to understand expectations around social prescribing and move this forward to enable delivery at a local level. The event is planned to take place in September 2015.

We are looking for an Assembly member working in the health and social care sector to represent the VCS on this Planning Group.

If you would be interested in being a member of this group, then please email, or telephone Anne Lyall on 01670 858688.

You are invited to participate in the first national Community Interest Company (CIC) innovation and productivity survey.

The research is led by Drs. Helen Haugh and Kate Thirlaway at the Judge Business School, University of Cambridge, and endorsed by the CIC Regulator, Sara Burgess.  The research is funded the Edmond de Rothschild Foundation and the Isaac Newton Trust.

The aim of the research is to investigate the determinants of CIC innovation and productivity and analyse their impact on economic, social and environmental growth.  All information that you provide in the survey will be used solely for academic research and publications of survey results will be anonymized.  In addition to using the data collected to advance academic research, the results will also be applied to informing policy makers and practitioners about mechanisms for improving CIC innovation and productivity.

Innovation and productivity are crucial to organizational sustainability and we warmly encourage you to complete the survey.  Your participation in the study is voluntary and you are free to withdraw your participation at any time.  If you would like to receive a summary of the results please provide your contact details at the end of the survey.  Further, if you have any questions regarding the survey, or the study in general, please do not hesitate to contact Dr. Kate Thirlaway.

Please follow the link below to access the survey. The researchers kindly request that you complete the survey within 14 days of receiving this invitation.

New funding is available to help you make a difference in your local community.

Attend a Roadshow event and find out about three new funding opportunities to help tackle important local issues and reshape local services.

Locality is holding six free events around the country where you can learn more about what’s available:

London – Friday 13 March
Birmingham - Friday 13 March
Bristol - Monday 16 March
Manchester - Monday 16 March
Chelmsford - Wednesday 18 March
Newcastle upon Tyne – Wednesday 18 March

Three new funding opportunities

  • Our Place: Is a fund to enable you to make lasting change in your neighbourhood.
  • First Steps: Offers funding to support grass roots community groups to take more control of their neighbourhood.
  • Neighbourhood Planning: to give communities more of a say in the development of their local area.


A really useful post from The Big Lottery Fund blog about common application mistakes, and how to avoid them!

When we announced our latest round of Awards for All grants this January, we took a look at some of the most common mistakes made when applying for our small grant funding, and how you can avoid them.

It seems obvious, but you’d be amazed by the number of application forms we receive that are incomplete. If your application is not complete then it can’t be assessed. Make sure you thoroughly read through the application guidance first and ensure you answer all the questions in the form.

Again, it might sound simple but please double check that all of your personal information, such as names and addresses are spelled correctly.

The most common application mistakes we see are:

  • Contacts not being suitable; ensure your senior contact is able to be legally responsible for any grant we may offer.
  • The main and senior contact being the same person.
  • Home addresses, dates of birth and landlines not included for both contacts, which includes schools.
  • If you are a company, the senior contact needs to be registered as one of at least three unrelated directors at Companies House.
  • If you are a registered charity, the senior contact needs to be listed as a trustee and there should be at least three unrelated trustees registered at the Charity Commission.
  • The name and address of the organisation not matching what is registered at the Charity Commission or Companies House – we do check this.
  • The bank account name not being the same as your organisation’s name.
  • The organisation’s incomings and outgoings not being provided.

If you have a great idea for a project and think you might be eligible for funding, please see ourwebsite for more information. Any arts, heritage or sports activities that do not meet one or more of our outcomes should apply for funding from another source.

If you have any questions about your application, please call our Big Advice Line on 08454 10 20 30.

The original post can be found here >>>>


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