Village SOS, a partnership between the BBC and the Big Lottery Fund (BIG), will challenge villages to come up with brilliant ideas for new businesses to help revive their communities, many of which are seeing rural life eroded by economic pressures and the closure of local amenities. Village SOS will invite rural communities with lots of enthusiasm and a great business idea - from retailing to manufacturing, the arts to leisure - to apply for Lottery funding to help breathe new life into their area, create new jobs and improve the quality of life for local people.
Eighteen villages will be shortlisted to receive a development grant of up to £10,000, and will choose an enterprising ‘Village Champion’ to work with to advance their ideas. In May 2010 six of these projects will then be awarded Lottery funding of up to £400,000 each and their respective Village Champions will move into the villages for a year to help them turn their business idea into a reality. BIG will be searching for the villages and will fund the community-owned rural businesses for their first year. During this time they will be filmed for a prime time BBC One series set to air in Winter 2010, presented by successful Bombay Bicycle Club entrepreneur Sarah Wilmingham. The Village Champions will be recruited through a nationwide search run jointly by the BBC and Make Your Mark. We want to share our excitement about the value that entrepreneurial people can bring to places, and as the people who run the Enterprising Britain competition on behalf of the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform we know more than most what that value can be.
So, we’re helping with the selection process and are hoping that lots of enterprising people and enterprising villages will apply. The six funded villages will choose a Village Champion who will go and live in that village for a year and get paid £30,000. Deadline for both villages and Village Champions to apply is 14 August.
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