Funding news

Anger over short application windows for DH and Social Investment Business funding programme - 2 March 2010

The Social Enterprise Investment Fund had two strands with deadlines that gave charities less than a month to apply.

The Social Enterprise Investment Fund provides loans and grants to social enterprises which improve the quality of health and social care for local communities in England. The Fund is managed on the behalf of the Department of Health by The Social Investment Business.

Ellen Cross, a funding advice network coordinator for the North Yorkshire Forum for Voluntary Organisations, said her organisation received a large number of complaints from members after it advertised a £16m strand of the scheme that was open to applications from 27 January to 21 February, and a second £6m scheme open from 18 December to 15 January.

Sue Peters, managing director of investments at the Social Investment Business, the government-backed grant and loan provider, said the money from the Department of Health became available only late last year and had to be distributed by the end of the 2009/10 financial year in April. Despite the short timescale, she said, 750 organisations had applied, asking for a total of more than £200m and that the same DH grants would be available in 2010/11 and the period for applications would be longer.

A spokeswoman for the Commission for the Compact said the Compact required public bodies to give charities enough time to apply for grant schemes, but did not stipulate a period.

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