Scheme offers £1k to help caring entrepreneurs to make the breakthrough

Catherine Gray, chief executive and founder of Cup-O-T Wellness and Therapy Services Picture: CUP-O

Catherine Gray, chief executive and founder of Cup-O-T Wellness and Therapy Services Picture: CUP-O-T WELLNESS AND THERAPY SERVICES - Credit: Archant

A scheme to help a new generation of social entrepreneurs to get their business ideas off the ground has been launched.

Catherine Gray, chief executive and founder of Cup-O-T Wellness and Therapy Services, a social enter

Catherine Gray, chief executive and founder of Cup-O-T Wellness and Therapy Services, a social enterprise delivering mental health and occupational therapy services Picture: AKP BRANDING STORIES - Credit: Archant

The School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE) has joined forces with Lloyds Bank to offer social entrepreneurs and community businesses across the East of England access to £1,000 grants, a training programme and a business mentor.

The scheme, now open for applications aimed at people from across East Anglia who want to use business as a way to make a positive difference to their community or the environment. Over the past eight years, 130 organisations from the region have taken part.

MORE – Government’s business loan plan ‘illogical’ claims frustrated business ownerPrevious participants include Catherine Gray, who runs Cup-O-T: Wellness and Therapy Services, a not-for-profit occupational therapy practice providing mental health services to young people and adults across Norfolk, sometimes via a therapy van.

Another successful graduate is Kelly Lindsay from Friend in Deed, a charity which creates friendships across generations through various inter-generational schemes throughout Norfolk, Essex, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire.

Its work includes care home visits for babies and children of all ages, singing groups and other specialist activities in care homes, working with schools to encourage regular visits and partnerships, various community events and visits such as an annual sports day and pen-pal programmes.


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Ms Gray said the scheme put her into contact with like-minded entrepreneurs who want to make a positive impact on the world. “Setting up a social enterprise can be a lonely road, this course gave me a network of colleagues and friends that continue to keep me company on my journey,” she said.

People in the early stages of starting up a social enterprise, charity or community project can apply to the Start Up level of the programme.

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Established social entrepreneurs can apply to the Trade Up and Scale Up levels, which offer a Match Trading grant of up to £4,000 or £7,000, a support network, a mentor and a learning programme.

Applications to the programme are open until April 30, with learning programmes delivered across the UK, including Ipswich. Visit www.bethesocialchange.com

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