Join us in looking back on Social Business Growth Fund’s first year of financially supporting social businesses in Wales. A fund truly putting money to work in communities.
16 organisations across Wales have benefitted from the
innovative support available from
Social Business Growth Fund since it opened its doors to
applications in November last year.
The funding, which financially supports social businesses to
create jobs and strengthen income generation activities in order to
become more sustainable, is supported by the European Regional
Development Fund through Welsh Government.
It all went off to a flying start with the fund proving very
popular - the first
panel saw over £470,000 awarded to five organisations and by May
2017, 70% of the East Wales funding had already been earmarked.
The last panel of 2017 pushed Social Business Growth Fund's total
contribution to social businesses in Wales to over £1m. With many
more projects in the pipeline for 2018, it is fair to say that the
fund has proved extremely successful.
The assortment of original projects, each one different from the
next, range from
the purchase of a dog rescue centre to an ocean going yacht…
Watching their journeys unfold has been an exciting experience
especially with some of the great things the projects have been
Let's take a look at how some of them are getting on:
It is difficult to believe that some projects have nearly come to
the end of their SBGF journey. Fern Partnership for example, opened
the doors of its newly refurbished children's soft play
centre, FuZe, in July,
after receiving £150,000 from SBGF. The play centre is now up and
running and the children (and adults alike) of Ferndale can't get
enough of the fun events and activities hosted by the social
For some, there have been some hiccups along the way but the SBGF
team were always at hand to help where possible. Fighting Fit Torfaen
received £10,000 to purchase kit for the gym and hire a new part
time coach to expand the services on offer to the community.
Jo Draper, Fighting Fit trustee remarked on the support she
received from the team:
"They have been focused, supportive, constructive and kept
our feet on the ground when things were going well whilst
preventing us from being buried when costs spiralled due to some
unforeseen structural issues.
It was imperative that our business plan was clear, concise,
realistic and achievable and added up! They've helped us to do
this. This businesses plan continues to change as we have to evolve
and refocus to ensure we stay on target with projections and
growth, but the business plan and support has provided us with the
foundations to do this."
Some of the projects are even gaining celebrity status: watch
Rugby Star Shane Williams, TV rugby analyst for BBC Wales Scrum V
Sean Holley and Welsh actor Julien Lewis Jones do an acapella on
top of a Peruvian mountain for Vi-Ability's luxury shampoo,
On the topic of rugby, when Alun Jones, Head of Social Investment
Cymru and staunch Scarlets fan received a phone call from Ospreys
in the Community, he set all things Rugby aside and supported them
through the application process. By August, the panel awarded the
social business nearly £42,000 to take their education programme to
market. Read more
about their project here.
Cycle Training Wales recently received £8,000 from the Social
Business Growth Fund in order to install a mezzanine floor in their
workshop which will allow them the space to offer bicycle repairs
to the public. Catrin and Korina from the SBGF team took a little
bike trip over to their HQ to see how this small (but very mighty)
sum of money will be put to use. Read
We think it is really important for projects to get an opportunity
to tell their own stories so people can really see the difference
being made to communities across Wales. Take some time today to
watch how one social business is truly putting money to work in
communities with the help of the Social Business Growth Fund.
We would like to thank everyone who has supported the work of the
Social Business Growth Fund over the past year and congratulate all
of the successful projects for their untiring contributions to
creating a financially stronger and more resilient third sector.
Considering how popular the fund has been in its first year, we
urge you to get in touch with the team if your social business
could benefit from the Social Business Growth Fund.