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£8.6m awarded in Digital Fund second round

Melanie May | 17 January 2020 | News

The National Lottery Community Fund has announced the second round of organisations to receive grants from its Digital Fund.
£8.6 million will be shared between 20 organisations including Parkinson’s UK, Refugee Action, Mental Health Innovations, Cruse Bereavement Care, and GoodGym.
The Digital Fund was set up by the National Lottery Community Fund to help community and voluntary sector organisations who are either using digital tools to re-think and transform the way they operate, or who have already launched services that use digital technology to increase scale and impact.
In addition to the grant, each organisation will receive support on everything from help with recruitment and Board level engagement through to responsible tech practices, service design and data audits. Grantees will also collectively document and share learning between themselves and the wider sector.
Cassie Robinson, Head of Digital Grant Making at The National Lottery Community Fund, said:

“We’re delighted to be able to support this diverse set of organisations as they harness digital technology in creative and forward-thinking ways, to both transform the way they operate, and the way that services are delivered across the voluntary sector over the long-term. Now, thanks to National Lottery players, these organisations can increase their digital capacity to have a greater impact in communities and support our sector to thrive in the digital age.”

Mental Health Innovations has been awarded £500,000 to scale the UK’s first 24/7 text message-based support platform for people experiencing mental health crises. The funding will enable the platform to reach more people in crisis and mean that other mental health charities will be able to white label the platform to use themselves.
Victoria Hornby, Chief Executive of Mental Health Innovations, said:


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“We’re delighted that The National Lottery Community Fund has recognised our work in this way. We know there is a huge demand for mental health support services, and at Shout, we are using technology to meet that demand at scale, helping people connect by text to trained and supervised Crisis Volunteers, at moments when they need support.”

Cruse Bereavement Care has been awarded nearly £500,000 to re-design how its services are delivered. The digital funding will help the organisation make better use of data and put user-centred design at the forefront of service development. The charity will also use the funding to develop practical, digital self-help content to help bereaved people access support on-demand, alongside ensuring more expensive face-to-face support is available to those in the most need.
The first recipients of the Fund were announced last July, and there is currently £2.4m remaining of the £15m that was allocated to the Digital Fund in 2018 with work being carried out to determine the needs of micro organisations across the UK, whether these needs are primarily digital and how these groups could be supported in 2020. Alongside this, the National Lottery Community Fund scoping how the remaining funds can have the most impact and hopes to launch a small number of small, strategic funds in 2020.