Twenty-four local social enterprise schemes have been given £1.4m of national funding to deliver community health and social care services.

The funding, of up to£625,000 for each organisation, will pay for start-up costs and business advice and training, and is on top of the£73m made available for the government's social enterprise fund.

Alston Healthcare in rural Cumbria has been given funding to provide remote health services for older people. The Open Door, which provides gardening and music therapies to Grimsby patients, will also get funding. It will pay for legal fees and architecture services.

The organisations receiving funding as part of the social enterprise pathfinder programme were selected by local strategic health authorities.

The Department of Health has created a Social Enterprise Unit to encourage not-for-profit firms to provide health and social care.