How Hartlepool community groups can earn a share of new £4m grant

A new £4m plan to reduce poverty and inequality has been launched in Hartlepool.

Friday, 3rd December 2021, 10:51 am

Local Access Redcar Cleveland and Hartlepool (LARCH) is part of a £33m national enterprise and social investment programme and one of six areas to receive a mix of grant funding and repayable investment to grow the local social enterprise and voluntary and community sector and increase prosperity, boost the local economy and reduce inequality.

Anyone with a social enterprise business idea – or an existing organisation that has potential to do more – is being invited to register with LARCH to see how the funding might help.

Peter Gowland, a director of Hartlepower – one of the voluntary sector organisations helping represent LARCH in Hartlepool – said: “We urge anyone with a social enterprise idea to take up the LARCH offer.

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Peter Gowland

"It is not just about providing funding for a project, welcome though that is, but getting good quality, continuing support.

"Hartlepool has a very rich tradition of people coming together to meet local needs and LARCH could be just the tool people need to realise their ambitions.”

Carol Botten, independent chair of the LARCH Partnership Board, said: “The LARCH programme will support individuals and organisations at different stages of their enterprise journey, develop ideas and business models and provide mentoring.

“In addition, organisations will be able to access small enterprise development grants and repayable finance to help them realise their idea or sustain or grow their existing earned income streams.”

Hartlepower's Stranton home.

Ideas from organisations that qualify will be driven by social aims or goals, derive at least part of the income from trading, rather than from grant funding or donations, and will reinvest profits in the enterprise and its social aims.

They can also be profitable businesses which raise money to be used to tackle social issues – like an accommodation letting agency purely to generate funds for a local charity.

Ms Botten added: “This is an opportunity to register at the earliest possible stages of LARCH. We hope to launch the LARCH website in the New Year and make it as accessible as possible to people.”