See below for what the Foundation is doing to help build "Big Society" in Buckinghamshire
Bucks Big Society Bank
Voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations in Buckinghamshire will get a major boost to their funds with the launch of Bucks Big Society Bank.
Buckinghamshire County Council is the founding contributor to the new bank, providing a contribution of £75,000.
The Bucks Big Society Bank will be administered by Buckinghamshire Community Foundation, and the idea has been developed in partnership with Community Impact Bucks and The Clare Foundation. The bank will provide a low-cost loan fund for smaller voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations in all parts of the county. The bank's aim is to help these organisations achieve their objectives by providing loans which enable them to access other sources of income, including grants, private donations, lottery funding and trading income, which will help the organisations continue to build and develop their capacity to meet the vital needs of local communities.
Organisations which will be eligible to apply for funding from the bank will need to be based in Buckinghamshire and be providing services or support for local residents. The loans, which will start from just £1,000 to £25,000, may be used for a variety of purposes including staff costs, equipment and premises costs, as well as on a bridging loan basis pending receipt of other funds due or to allow the organisation time to change its business model. As well as showing ability to repay the loan over a term of up to five years, loan applicants will need to show broad community support and public benefit, either directly through the services provided or indirectly through the generation of income to support activities for wide public benefit.
Bill Chapple, Deputy Leader of Bucks County Council, said, "we're proud to be a founding contributor to the new Bucks Big Society Bank. The county has a thriving voluntary, community and social enterprise sector, with almost 4,000 organisations carrying out vital work. The launch of this bank recognises the vital role that the sector plays in running local community services and is part of what Big Society is about in Buckinghamshire."
"A low-cost loan from Bucks Big Society Bank – as part of a mix of different funding streams including grants - may help some groups and social enterprises to become more self-reliant," said Richard Dickson, Director of Buckinghamshire Community Foundation "The success of Bucks Big Society Bank will also depend upon the extent to which other local individuals, businesses and trusts get behind the idea and also contribute towards the bank's funds."
The picture shows Cllr Bill Chapple (right) presenting a cheque to Mr Graham Peart, Chairman of the Community Foundation, at a recent event at the House of Commons.