Thanks to your help, government is funding social enterprises

25 May 2020

At the end of April, we asked for your help to #SaveOurSocEnts – save our social enterprises. Working with others across the social-enterprise sector, this was our collective rallying cry.

Half of social enterprises were forecast to run out of cash by the end of June, according to estimates from Social Enterprise UK.

That would put one million jobs at risk – many held by society’s most vulnerable people and those typically disadvantaged in the labour market.

We needed government to act fast, and we called on your help.

Many of you added your name to our open letter to Chancellor Rishi Sunak, outlining a four-point plan to save our social enterprises. We put it together with our friends at Co-operatives UK, Community Leisure UK, Locality, Plunkett Foundation, Social Enterprise UK, Social Enterprise Mark CIC and Social Value UK and UnLtd.

Over 1,000 social enterprises, including The Co-operative Group, signed the letter.

We are very pleased that the government listened.

At the end of May, the government announced that £85 million is being released in a significant step towards saving the sector, in response to our calls for urgent intervention.

The government will unlock dormant asset funding, releasing £45 million in emergency loans for charities and social enterprises, and £30 million additional support for social enterprises, helping people in vulnerable circumstances. This is a welcome response to sector campaigning.

It will also make up to £10 million available for emergency support through social lenders, while developing a wider programme of recovery finance for the social sector. 

Our CEO Alastair Wilson says: “Social entrepreneurs are supporting and employing many of the most vulnerable people in society, while trying to keep their businesses afloat during this crisis. We are pleased that the government has recognised the vital role they play in society and economically, as well as their potential to rebuild an economy that works for all. This a welcome step in government support for our sector, and the people who depend on it.”

However, there is more still to do to deliver the full package needed to ensure the UK’s most valuable organisations survive the coronavirus pandemic.

With our friends across the sector, we will continue to campaign for the measures outlined in the letter:

  1. Extending existing business grants to include social enterprises; particularly those working in deprived communities or with vulnerable workers; 
  2. Changing the delivery of loan finance to work for social enterprises; 
  3. Opening up emergency financing for public services to social enterprises delivering services on behalf of the state; 
  4. Providing bespoke business support so that social enterprises can use any funds they do receive effectively to transition their business. 

Thank you again for your support, and we’ll keep you posted with next steps.