VOLUNTEERS in Blackburn with Darwen CVS will be using a £50,000 Government grant to help entrepreneurs set up small and medium-sized firms in the hope they help others in need.

The cash has come from the new Innovation In Giving fund, which aims to help charities and companies help each other. Financed by the Cabinet Office in Whitehall and the UK’s national innovation foundation NESTA, it has awarded eight volunteer projects around the country with £50.000 each.

Blackburn with Darwen’s Community and Voluntary Services (CVS) at the Boulevard Centre in Railway Road, won the grant for its Community Hive project.

Its successful idea was to encourage small and medium businesses to give to the community at a time when firms are struggling to survive and finding it difficult to give cash donations.

Blackburn with Darwen CVS volunteer manager Kate Lee said: “Our Community Hive tries to reverse the concept of business giving by asking skilled volunteers, including local employees and students, to offer short -term practical help to support local people trying to establish businesses.

“Once established, the businesses that received help from a volunteer will return the giving pledge, with the offer of support for an unemployed volunteer, training, a donation, loaning equipment to a community group or agreeing to help another new business to start up.”

Nick Hurd, Minister for Civil Society, said: “The Innovation Fund is an opportunity to test new ideas.”

Blackburn with Darwen CVS, established in 1986, helps individuals from all walks of life to volunteer and have an impact within their community.