Council launches new free support programme for community organisations


North Somerset Council is encouraging not-for-profit and community organisations to sign up to receive free targeted business support. A new fully funded programme aims to help those looking to increase their skills in bid writing, business planning and property management, as well as providing advice on governance structure.

Funded through the Government’s UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF), the programme is being delivered on behalf of the council by Raise Partnership who have extensive experience and expertise in helping to build the capacity of organisations and locally-led regeneration projects. It will support groups to increase their sustainability, to utilise vacant properties, support local cultural assets, and to transition into social enterprise status.

The programme, which has just opened and will run until the end of March 2024, is open to organisations throughout North Somerset. Those eligible for this free support include community groups, social enterprises, Community Interest Companies, not-for-profit organisations and charities.

A universal business support offer for those not eligible for this programme is expected to launch later in the spring.

Councillor Mark Canniford, North Somerset Council’s Executive Member for Placemaking and Economy, said: “Last month I was delighted to announce that we’d secured £2.5m UKSPF funding to deliver programmes to provide a welcome boost to prosperity across North Somerset. It’s great to see work progressing at speed – first the launch of the community grants scheme, and now this fantastic fully-funded programme to provide organisations with a range of free support.

“We’re using the UKSPF fund to tackle local challenges, including unlocking the potential of empty buildings by encouraging them to be utilised by organisations including community groups and social enterprises. This will drive local wealth building, improve the quality of our high streets, and create more appropriate spaces for locally beneficial activities and economic activity.

“We want to help local organisations across the area, so if you’d like more information or want to sign-up, why not get cracking and email the team today?”

To find out more and sign-up please email

For more information about the UKSPF programme in North Somerset, visit



The UK Shared Prosperity Fund is a central pillar of the UK government’s Levelling Up agenda and provides £2.6 billion of funding for local investment by March 2025. The Fund aims to improve pride in place and increase life chances across the UK investing in communities and place, supporting local business, and people and skills. For more information, visit

The UK Shared Prosperity Fund replaces the EU Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF).

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) launched the Rural England Prosperity Fund (Rural Fund), a top up to the UKSPF worth up to £110 million for 2023/24 and 2024/25. It is the domestic replacement for the European funded LEADER Programme used to support the development of rural economies. For more information, visit