Big Society schemes get £3.1m financing boost

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Big Society projects are set to receive £3.1m raised from dormant bank accounts, the Government announced yesterday.

Cash will go towards helping the long-term unemployed set up businesses, supporting vulnerable young people to get into employment, a community energy project and the creation of the first social stock exchange.

The investments were agreed “in principle” by the Big Society Investment Fund, which was set up to support innovative community schemes.

Civil society minister Nick Hurd said: “This is about putting money that has been lying around dormant in bank accounts for years to good use in projects that will benefit our local communities and social entrepreneurs.

“These investments will bring real changes to people’s lives. They will help young people into jobs and give the long-term unemployed the opportunity to set up their own businesses.

“The Big Society Investment Fund, under the auspices of the Big Lottery Fund, is doing a fantastic job forging the way. Already, their investment decisions show the range of exciting projects that just need financial backing to get going.”

FranchisingWorks will receive £1m to help the long-term unemployed set up businesses while Triodos Bank will use £500,000 to support vulnerable young people back into work in Merseyside.

John Kingston, chairman of the committee which agreed the fund, said: “We’ve been impressed by the strength of the deal-flow under the Big Society Investment Fund, and I’m confident we’ll be approving more investments in early 2012.”

The Big Society Investment Fund was set up to support projects until the Big Society Capital becomes operational early next year.

Nick O’Donohoe, chief executive of Big Society Capital, said: “I am very excited by the breadth of ideas and the geographic spread of the investments of the Big Society Investment Fund which bodes well for future financing proposals we hope to see when Big Society Capital opens for business next year.”