Matthew Hancock

£1 million to support Voluntary & Social Enterprise

LEP agrees to finance new Prize Challenge Fund

The Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has earmarked £1 million of funding over the next three years to deliver this ground-breaking Prize Challenge Fund scheme which is officially launched today (Monday 20th May 2013).

Local voluntary organisations and social enterprises are being asked to come forward with innovative new ideas to help support unemployed and socially disadvantaged people return to work.

The Fund will offer up to 10 prizes for innovation to organisations working in the Voluntary and Social Enterprise (VSE) sector that can improve and develop the skills of people who are experiencing multiple challenges and struggling to access sustained employment.

Grahame Nix, Chair of the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough LEP, explains: “The LEP understands the importance to our region of having an appropriately skilled workforce. The Prize Challenge Fund will provide a number of cash prizes that organisations can use to generate positive outcomes. We aim to help 1,000 disadvantaged people to become job ready and 250 people into paid employment within our area through this activity. By fostering innovation we are creating new approaches for the future that will help our area to remain at the forefront of economic growth.”

Dr Lynn Morgan, Chief Executive of the Arthur Rank Hospice and LEP Board Member, added: “Voluntary organisations and social enterprises comprise committed people who are part of local communities. They are often best placed to understand the needs, motivations and opportunities within their communities. This makes them very well placed to come up with great ideas that can prove to be highly effective.”

Nick Hurd, Minister for Civil Society, said: “This Prize Challenge Fund is a great way to foster engagement between LEPs and the voluntary sector – and for LEPs to better understand the pivotal role the sector can have in helping them to deliver their priorities.  I look forward to hearing more about the interesting work and partnerships that develop”

Matthew Hancock MP, commented on a recent visit to Cambridge, “The LEP Challenge Fund for helping to get people back into work is a brilliant idea. Using small amounts of money to help voluntary organisations people who have fresh ideas, new approaches, and who know what will work to help people in their local area to get into employment, get the skills they need, as well as the self-confidence and motivation. It is innovative approaches like this that show how LEPs are making a difference across the country. It is great work, and I encourage everybody to get involved.”

The Prize Challenge Fund will be managed by Cambridgeshire Community Foundation, with the capacity-building and facilitation support of Big Society Funding CIC. Evaluation partners are Social Enterprise East of England.