The Big Lottery Fund has launched a new fund of nearly £9 million for VCSE sector organisations that support current projects that prevent or reduce loneliness in England.
The money is from the £11.5 million Building Connections Fund announced on 19 June by the Prime Minister, Theresa May, and lead Minister for Tackling Loneliness, Tracey Crouch, in response to the Jo Cox Commission’s recommendations on Loneliness.
Voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations in England can apply now for grants of between £30,000 and £100,000 to support current work that helps to prevent or reduce loneliness and help people, communities and local services connect in a variety of different ways.
The funding is to be used to for projects which reach out to people of all ages who feel lonely or isolated, and encourage them to take part in activities, helping them to feel more connected.
This could include making the most of community spaces, improving access to transport, using digital technology, or joining up local services to have a bigger reach.
The funding must be spent on activities that will directly prevent or reduce loneliness and help to build connections between individuals and communities.
Revenue costs could include (but are not limited to):
- Staff salaries.
- Training and organisational development.
- Equipment to facilitate activities.
- Venue hire.
- Communications campaigns.
- Project activities and other resources to help run the project or intervention.
- Resources to implement or develop the project.
- Costs for learning and evaluation (recognising that applicants will be working with an evaluator as part of their funding).
Capital costs – applications can be made for up to 30% of their funding of capital costs to buy, maintain or improve fixed assets that are linked to transport and travel. Applicants will need to secure competitive quotes on all purchases, keep a record of any assets acquired or improved with the funding, and may be subject to additional conditions.
Projects do not have to be a set length of time but must be finished by March 2021 and start by January 2019.
Minister for Loneliness, Tracey Crouch MP, said:
“Loneliness is a serious issue that can affect anybody. Communities suffer when people feel disconnected or alone but by working together we can reduce its stigma and build on the legacy of Jo Cox.
“I encourage charities and community groups across the country to help us tackle loneliness. This fund will help improve people’s lives and build stronger communities.”
The deadline for applications is 24 August 2018 (12 noon).