Four community groups from across Lancashire are the first to secure more than £7,000 in funding from a charity set up by one of the county’s leading business awards.

The BIBAs Foundation has handed out grants to the East Lancashire Deaf Society, Hyndburn Arts Trust, Red Rose Sports Club and disabled services provider Spring into Action CIC.

The funding will support projects to give young people, aged 16-24 years old, business skills including running a theatre production company, becoming freelance sports coaches and setting up their own businesses.

The Foundation is backed by £30,000 from the Be Inspired Business Awards, the BIBAs, generated by the profits of its 2014 awards which celebrate the successes of local firms and individuals.

Tony Raynor, of telecommunications group Abbey Telecom a long-standing sponsor of the BIBAs, said the Foundation was building “a legacy of enterprise”.

He said: “The BIBAs has always been about providing a spotlight for the stars of the Lancashire business community to shine in, but the Foundation takes it to a new level.

“When you look at these first four successful applications, you see exactly how it will work to boost the skills of young people, inspiring them to reach higher than ever before to secure a better future for themselves and our community.

“I cannot wait to see the successes of these projects and see more similar schemes supported by the BIBAs Foundation.”

The four successful applicants were:

East Lancashire Deaf Society

The East Lancashire Deaf Society, which works with young deaf people across the region, has been awarded a grant for its project, Step Up!, which gives deaf youngsters skills to help develop their own businesses.

It consists of 10 weeks of sessions focusing on areas including developing an idea, managing finances, recruiting and employing people, and health and safety in the workplace.

Red Rose Sports Club

A Preston-based group which supports people from disadvantaged backgrounds to get involved with sport.

Its project aims to train up youngsters, including NEETs, those not in education, employment or training, to become freelance sports coaches.

Spring Into Action CIC

Based in the Ribble Valley, the Spring Into Action Community Interest Company (CIC) provides development opportunities for people with disabilities or specialist needs.

Its project, Phab Volunteering, will train 12 young people with a range of skills to help them set up and manage an activity club for young people, aged 16-24 years.

It will introduce them to roles including marketing, fund-raising, planning and consultation through weekly workshops.

Hyndburn Arts Trust

The Hyndburn Arts Trust, which is based in Oswaldtwistle, provides a cultural venue to provide creative opportunities for people of all ages.

Its project, Behind the Mask, will allow youngsters to create an in-house threatre company which will see them work towards achieving a nationally-recognised Arts Award qualification.

They would each take on a role including marketing manager, finance team leader, script writer and musical director.

All applicants were selected and will be supported by the Lancashire Community Foundation, a charity which manages funds set up by groups and philanthropists through the region, which worked with the BIBAs to set up the Foundation.

It is now looking for further groups seeking up to £2,000 in grants to support projects which will help create a culture of enterprise across Lancashire.

Any group wishing to apply for funding, should visit the Foundation’s website at for further details.

Babs Murphy, chief executive of BIBAs organisers, the North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, said: “Each of these projects will help build skills among our young people and hopefully develop some BIBAs applicants of the future.

“The initial £30,000 which the BIBAs put in came from the profits of our awards and we will be doing the same again when we hold our awards in September, to celebrate the pride of Lancashire’s business community.

“Our aim is to create a fund which can continue to hand out grants for generations of young people and leave a true legacy for our awards.”

The BIBAs will hand out 18 prizes to businesses and individuals from across Lancashire in front of a sell-out crowd at the Blackpool Tower on Friday, September 11.

Anyone wishing to join the waiting list for tickets for the BIBAs 2015 should contact organisers the North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce on 01772 653000 to register.

A lifetime achievement award, Lancastrian of the Year, will also be handed out on the night, selected by a panel of the prize’s former winners.

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If you want to give your business a bigger competitive edge, enter the BIBAs today.

Closing Date: 31st July 2020