A new project is being launched today to help Weymouth residents fight poverty by developing their own businesses – the first scheme of its kind in the UK.

Government data recently outed Weymouth & Portland as being among the most deprived areas in the UK, and is officially bottom of the league for social mobility – which is measured by whether people have opportunities to earn a decent wage and achieve career fulfilment.

But now a new project being launched by Weyforward Community Interest Company (CIC) - the Weymouth Basic Income Grant (WBIG) - is being set up to give people a chance to turn their fortunes around by setting up their own business - as long as their idea benefits the community in some way.

The team behind the project will contribute time and money to help businesses start to turn around a profit - a percentage of which would eventually go back into funding the scheme.

Organisers from Weyforward say they have successfully trialled phase 1 of the grant scheme - with several projects already flourishing - and today the opportunity is being opened up to all residents.

To fund phase 2, a crowdfunding campaign has now been launched, with the aim of raising £60,000 - equivalent to everyone in the borough donating £1.

Darryl Stephenson, founder of Action Facilitate, which will provide business advice under the scheme, said: "Our trial proved the project works, so now we're looking for people in the community to back WBIG by donating to the crowdfunder.

"If everyone in the borough chips in £1, we can reach our target - helping us work towards our ultimate goal, of ending the poverty trap for residents in Weymouth & Portland."

Weyforward co-founder Jason West said he believes long hours and low pay lead to people becoming trapped in the poverty cycle.

"The grant enables people to focus on something they're passionate about, by spending fewer hours working for the minimum wage," he added.

"This is a genuine attempt to improve the lives of people who deserve more - more reward for their efforts, more time to themselves or with their kids - and more money."

Baron Miles, also a co-founder of Weyforward, said:"We have to transform the lives of our children and leave the world better than we found it.

"Many people feel the system has failed them. We think it is time for something different for the community - something aspirational, mutual and creative."

To find out more about submitting your business idea, or to donate to the crowdfunder, visit www.crowdfunder.co.uk/weymouth-basic-income

So how does it work?

Organisers say the project is particularly aimed at helping young people and those on low incomes, but anyone with an idea is welcome to apply.

Step 1 - Have an idea that would help both you and the community.

Step 2 - Submit your idea to the scheme to receive £100 to go and investigate your proposal further, and fill out a start up template.

Step 3 - Come back with a plan that shows a benefit to the borough. The community votes to decide which ideas are successful - people who submit successful ideas will receive £500 per month to make it happen.

Step 4 - When the business becomes profitable, Weyforward asks that a percentage of profits are reinvested back into the scheme, to help more community projects get off the ground.