Community Impact Support Scheme (CISS)

The Community Impact Support Scheme (CISS) is a new business support and funding mechanism aimed at organisations within the social economy*. It has a grant making budget of £450,000 over 2 years. Through investing in the work of the social economy it is intended to help address the needs arising from welfare reform and wider public sector cuts by promoting independence and self reliance in communities.

In Round 1 five organisations across Devon were awarded funding.

Round 2 has now closed. Further rounds are subject to funding.

*The term social economy is used to here to include the voluntary sector, community organisations and social enterprise.

How does the CISS work?

The CISS seeks to encourage and support action that leads to improved longer term prospects for people most affected by welfare reform, focusing on those who are unemployed or in work but heavily benefit-dependent, and the applicant organisations that support them, particularly by means of employment and enterprise.

It is intended that successful applicant organisations will be supported through the process to become more attractive to a range of other investment opportunities such as from the private sector and social investment, and in turn help ensure their long term sustainability.

Support from the CISS comprises one-off grants, typically ranging from £10,000 to £50,000, together with access to business support to help applicants develop ideas, business plans and financial forecasts to make sure they are ‘investment ready’. As far as possible, the CISS Scheme will also assist with identification and cross-referrals to other potential sources of support and financial advice.

More detail is provided in the Scheme Overview.

Why is there a need for the CISS?

The CISS has been developed in response to the Government’s welfare reform programme which is having an impact on an increasing number of claimant households as it tries to move people from welfare into work. The Welfare Reform Act 2012 makes changes to the rules concerning a number of benefits, including the introduction of Universal Credit. However, the roll out of Universal Credit in Devon is unlikely to happen before 2016, and this, together with other changes to benefits and tax credits could have a significant impact on communities.

It is estimated that £343m per year will be taken out of the Devon economy through reductions to welfare benefits with the loss falling on working age households.

The CISS is one of a number of key mitigation measures to support the transition through these changes.

Who can apply?

Applications are encouraged from organisations within the social economy who support working age people most affected by welfare reform, focusing on those who are unemployed or in work but heavily benefit-dependent.

Guidance on Eligible Applicants and Proposals

How to apply?

Interested organisations will be required to make a 2 stage application.

Stage 1: Submit an Expression of Interest (EoI) – Applicants explain how they intend to use CISS support to develop their own organisational development, as well as meet the needs of the end beneficiaries, and contribute to the Scheme outcomes.

Stage 2: Full application – Those shortlisted will go to the next stage where business support and advice will be offered to support development of a full application. All proposals will be reviewed by an expert panel made up of key stakeholders and local authority representatives.

Round 1 – successful proposals

Timescales for Round 2

  • Expressions of Interest for Round 2 have now closed. Future rounds will be announced subject to availability of funds.

Who runs the scheme?

The CISS is being run by Devon County Council in partnership with key stakeholders including all the district councils, represented by Exeter City Council, Dartington School for Social Entrepreneurs, Devon Community Foundation, Devon Communities Together, Devon & Somerset Business Finance Network and Department for Work & Pensions.

Further information

If you have any questions, please email writing ‘CISS’ in the subject area. We will reply to emails within 5 working days.


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