In Kent and Medway

In this section we will keep you up to date on activities relating to Social Enterprise in the Kent and Medway area

Social Enterprise in Kent & Medway

National Policy and Strategy

Local authorities and other public bodies regularly engage with Social Enterprise to meet their strategic objectives. The Social Enterprise Guide for People in Local Government looks at how local authorities can engage with Social Enterprises to benefit the communities they serve. Developments at a national level in a number of policy and strategic areas have set the scene to support promotion of Social Enterprise as part of a thriving economy in Kent and Medway and surrounding areas.

The Localism Act 2011 aims to free local authorities and local communities by devolving more decision making power to them from central government while retaining the power to ensure that local decisions do not conflict with national policies. It sets out 5 key measures relating to Community Rights. Neighbourhood Planning, Housing, Empowering cities and other local areas and a General Power of Competence. There is a Plain English Guide to the Act.

The Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012 became law in March 2012 and reflects key policy changes about approaches to social value when considering how to provide public services. Click here for more information.

The Local Growth White Paper published in October 2011 outlines a new approach to local growth, shifting power away from central government to local communities, citizens and independent providers. It sets out how the Government will put businesses and local communities in charge of their own futures, give greater incentives for local growth and change the way central government supports and maintains growth. The aim is to connect people to jobs, help them get the skills they need and equip local areas with the tools they need to create and shape dynamic and entrepreneurial local economies.

Local Economic Partnership

The East Sussex, Essex, Kent, Medway, Thurrock and Southend LEP exists to help businesses grow and will focus its efforts on areas of cross-border economic importance where there is added value in working together. It is the largest strategic LEP in England and has a combined population of 3.9 million people, which is larger than any UK city region outside of London. It has identified 4 main priorities


  • to unlock the potential of the Thames Gateway
  • to unlock the potential of coastal East Sussex, Greater Essex and Kent and Medway
  • to unlock the potential of rural East Sussex, Greater Essex and Kent and Medway
  • to unlock the potential of our key towns and cities

Kent County Council

Bold Steps for Kent sets out a number of strategic aims for Kent County Council to 2014/15. This includes supporting the role that social enterprise, community and voluntary groups play in the future delivery of public services. Steps identified include


  • Supporting community groups to gain skills and knowledge to develop sustainable solutions to local problems
  • A new approach to community asset transfer,
  • Continued use of the Sustainable Communities Act allowing local residents and communities to suggest changes in the law and government policy to deliver more sustainable communities.

For a copy of Bold Steps for Kent click here


Kent Big Society Fund

Launched by Kent County Council in partnership with Kent Community Foundation, the Kent Big Society Fund offers a source of finance for Social Enterprise. To be eligible, organisations need to demonstrate that they operate as Social Enterprises. This can include charities, community interest companies and cooperatives. Applicants must be operating within the Kent County Council administrative area and use the loan finance to benefit Kent residents. For more information about sources of finance and funding for Social Enterprise click here.