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£9m fund to tackle loneliness opens for applications

£9m fund to tackle loneliness opens for applications

Almost £9 million is available from the Big Lottery Fund for charities and community groups in England who are tackling loneliness. The funding is to help them achieve this by building strong social connections and welcoming communities.

The funding is from the £11.5 million Building Connections Fund which was 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.

The Fund was created as part of a new partnership between Government, led by the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, the Big Lottery Fund and the Co-op Foundation.


£30,000 to £100,000 grants

Eligible organisations can apply for grants of between £30,000 and £100,000. These must be used for projects which:

  • reach out to people of all ages who feel lonely or isolated
  • encourage them to take part in activities
  • and help 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.

In addition the funding can be used for collecting and sharing of evidence and learning to increase understanding about what works to tackle loneliness.

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.”

Applications open on Monday 16 July and will close on Friday 24 August. Guidance and criteria are available on the Big Lottery Fund website.


More loneliness funding from Co-Op Foundation

The remaining £2 million from the £11.5 million Building Connections Fund will be distributed by the Co-op Foundation, which focuses on tackling youth loneliness.

Grants of up to £80,000 will be available for youth organisations already helping young people avoid long-term loneliness.

Successful applicants will receive funding to:

  • explore youth loneliness in greater depth
  • test youth-led innovations within their current services
  • and share learning as part of the Co-op Foundation’s national Belong network of youth partners.

Applications for this funding will open in August 2018. 

Applications to this youth-focused strand of the Building Connections Fund will open in August 2018. Guidance and criteria are available on the Co-op Foundation website.


Which fund to apply to?

The funders recommend that “groups should apply to the strand which is most appropriate to support their work.”

All grants will be announced in December 2018, with funding available to support projects until March 2021.


Howard Lake is a digital fundraising entrepreneur. Publisher of UK Fundraising, the world's first web resource for professional fundraisers, since 1994. Trainer and consultant in digital fundraising. Founder of Fundraising Camp and co-founder of Research massive growth in giving.

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