Ideas that Change Lives

Grant size: £500 to £15,000

Location: Leeds 

Deadline: Closed

Ideas that Change Lives

The Ideas that Change Lives programme offers business guidance and financial investment to help organisations and individuals develop socially enterprising ideas which support people in Leeds with care and support needs.


Focus of the fund

We want to support the development of social enterprises which help adults in Leeds with care and support needs to improve their health, improve their wellbeing and remain independent.

We want to support ideas which made a real impact with:

  • Older people
  • People with a learning disability, physical disability or sensory impairment
  • People with mental health needs
  • People with alcohol or substance use issues
  • People with long term health conditions
  • Carers
  • Young people in transition between services

The types of activity we seek to develop social enterprises to undertake include:

  • Alternatives to traditional day care and support services
  • Brokerage, supporting people with care needs to manage their personal budget and/or access the services which meet their needs
  • Health and wellbeing promoting activities
  • Employment related opportunities, and
  • Any other activities that enable people in Leeds with care and support needs to remain independent.



The programme is funded through Leeds City Council Adult Social Care’s “Better Lives” initiative, which aims to ensure services help people to live independently. The other key strand of Better Lives is the, which lists over 1,900 organisations and services including quality assured domestic services such as cleaning, gardening and personal care. The Directory also includes leisure, lifestyle, health and other general services, which can also support independence.

Ideas that Change Lives provides business support and development funding to individuals and organisations with socially enterprising ideas, because we think that social enterprise can be an important way of meeting the needs of adults with care and support needs, and helping them to live independently.


Support Available

Business Support is provided by experienced social enterprise business advisors from SEE Ahead. It is available at any stage of the process from developing your idea, drafting a business plan or applying for investment, to implementing the idea, i.e. to all applicants.

Financial Investment is provided in the form of grants. There are two levels of investment, which can fund capital items or revenue costs.  Funding can support pilot projects and start-up costs, or contribute to expanding or developing your current trading or enterprising activity. 

  1. Kick Start Investment (£500 – £4,000) for organisations with a socially enterprising idea that supports people to live independently in their own homes, but who need support to develop the idea into a full business plan. We are looking to fund new social enterprises/socially enterprising activities that can become financially sustainable beyond the end of the investment process, either through generating income, charging or being commissioned. The Kick Start funding can be used to carry out research, set up a pilot or feasibility study, access expertise or consultancy, or any other activity that helps to develop your idea further.
  1. Development Investment (£4,001 – £15,000): available for services/activities that support people with care and support needs to remain independent. If you apply for this, we would expect you to have a costed business plan and already be an incorporated body with social aims and profits used for social aims. The service must be capable of being delivered on a sustainable basis through income generated from trading e.g. through being contracted to deliver services or individuals paying for the service directly through personal budgets or self-funding.

Development funding recipients will be required to access the networking and training opportunities available through ItCL as a condition of the grant. If previously awarded a Kick Start Award, you must have spent the funding awarded and reported on impact before you can apply for Development Investment.


Who can apply?

Applications are invited from community groups, charities, social enterprises or other charitable organisations from the third sector looking to develop and/or implement ideas and services to help people to live independently in their own homes. Projects must have a clear economic focus around generating income. The service itself does not have to be located in Leeds, but the beneficiaries must be Leeds residents who are eligible for Leeds Adult Social Care services.

Organisations must:

  • Have a constitution or other relevant governance document
  • Have a management committee/board of directors/trustees of at least three unrelated people
  • Have an up to date child/vulnerable adult safeguarding policy and an equal opportunities policy
  • Have a bank account under the name of the group with at least two unrelated signatories (if your organisation doesn’t have its own bank account, but does meet all of the other criteria, please contact us to discuss how we can work around this)

Individuals in the final stages of setting up a constituted group or adopting a more formal legal structure (Community Interest Company, Charitable Incorporated Organisation, etc.) can apply for Kick Start Investment only but they must set up the organisation formally as a result of any grant offered.



Grants will not be awarded to or for:

  • For-profit organisations, statutory organisations (e.g. schools and hospitals) or overseas organisations
  • Retrospective funding (activity and costs that have already taken place)
  • Grant-making to other organisations and/or individuals
  • Activity targeted at a particular group (ethnic, gender, religious etc.) without a good justification for this
  • Activity that promotes a particular political or religious point of view
  • Activity primarily for the benefit of animals


Some examples of funded activity

Kick Start:

  • Feasibility and consultancy project to pilot activities
  • Start-up costs to establish as an organisation
  • To pilot a new scheme and test market viability
  • To transform an area such as a kitchen so that new activities are possible
  • Purchase of equipment, contribution to staff costs and room hire

Development Funding:

  • Developing and extending services from a pilot
  • Purchase of equipment, contribution to staff costs and room hire


Which level of investment is right for you?

If you are an individual or a group with no formal legal status you can access the practical support programme to develop an enterprise idea that fits the aims of the programme. To apply for Kick Start funding we would expect you to have set up/or be in the process of setting up a formal legal structure with social and/or environmental aims using our support. Please note you will need to have a constitution, at least three unrelated management committee members/directors and a bank account in the organisation’s name or demonstrate working towards this as part of the grant in order for payment to be released.

If you have a formal legal structure with social and/or environmental aims (this includes registered charities, companies limited by guarantee, charitable incorporated organisations, CICs, Development Trusts, and Registered Societies e.g. Industrial & Provident Societies and Co-operatives) you can apply for the practical support programme,  and/or Kick Start or Development  Investment. Your governing documents should include appropriate clauses regarding to use of surplus made (e.g. a not for profit clause), what happens if the organisation folds (e.g. a dissolution clause or asset lock), and shareholding and dividends (if applicable) which reflect the distinctive profile of social enterprise.




This programme is currently closed for applications. However, if you are interested in applying, prospective applicants are required to contact SEE Ahead to discuss their proposal. This is to ensure that applicants can obtain free advice from experienced social enterprise professionals and submit applications that are eligible for the programme. In order to arrange a call with SEE Ahead, please contact the Leeds Community Foundation grants team at



If you have any queries about the programme, or would like advice as to whether or not your project might be eligible, please contact Leeds Community Foundation on (0113) 242 2426 or email