In addition to providing our services on a fee charging basis, Co-op Culture are approved providers on the following free or subsidised co-operative and community business support programmes:

The Hive co-op support programmeThe Hive

The Hive is Co-operatives UK’s national programme of business support for co-operatives and community businesses.  Suitable for co-operatives at all stages of development and has special modules focusing on the Co-op Option, Start-ups, Community shares, Employee Buyouts and Member development.

Videos: Leeds Bread Co-op, who Co-op Culture have supported through The Hive

Growing TogetherGrowing Together

We have been providing support to community growing groups both in England and Wales.

Growing Together supports community growing groups of all kinds from community gardens and city farms to community orchards, wildlife gardens and kitchen gardens. Their support covers a wide area of topics, including

  • Crowdfunding
  • Community Shares
  • Generating income through trading
  • E-Commerce (Digital Income Generation)

    Growing Together

  • Procurement
  • Business Planning
  • Financial Governance
  • Finding and securing land

For more details and to request support visit the Growing Together website.

Big Potential

The Big Potential programme provides investment readiness support.  It is aimed at eligible voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations (VSCEs) to improve their sustainability, capacity and scale and help them deliver greater social impact for communities across England. The programme is administered by the Social Investment Business on behalf of the Big Lottery Fund in partnership with Locality, Social Enterprise UK, Charity Bank and the University of Northampton.

A grant from the fund will help VCSEs, at the very beginning of their social investment journey, to get specialist and tailored support from providers like Co-op Culture to become investment ready.

What is investment readiness? (external link)
Investment ready is a term used to describe organisations that want to grow and expand and who develop their capacity to the extent that they will be successful in gaining external (repayable) investment. This means understanding the requirements of banks and other financial institutions (investors) when you are looking for investment and it includes knowledge about how to develop business plans to secure external finance and communication with investors.

How it works: Applicant organisations need to apply to Big Potential directly, undergo an eligibility check, an assessment and diagnostic. They then approach a provider to help them write and submit an application for a grant.  60% of the grant award must be spent with the provider.