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Government launches £7m volunteering fund

Melanie May | 23 November 2021 | News

A pile of notes and pound coins

Launched with Arts Council England, Pears Foundation and NHS Charities Together, the Volunteering Futures Fund aims to help people access more volunteering opportunities across a range of sectors including the arts and sport.

Of the £7m, almost £6 million comes directly from the Government, and £1.15 million from Pears Foundation and NHS Charities Together.

In recognition of the barriers some people face to volunteering, the Volunteering Futures Fund will have a strong focus on young people, and those experiencing loneliness, with disabilities and from ethnic minority backgrounds.


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Organisations that run projects across the arts, heritage, museums, libraries, sport, civil society and youth sectors can apply. These could be nationwide projects to create placements for young people, in addition to more regional and local projects, such as those working with a particular football club to provide volunteering opportunities.

Arts Council England will be distributing £4.7 million of the fund provided by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), and Expressions of Interest for £100,001 or above can now be submitted. Arts Council England will award grants by the end of March 2022, kicking off two years of activities.

In addition to the £4.7 million of grants that ACE will administer, DCMS has awarded Pears Foundation and NHS Charities Together with £1.15 million. The two grant makers are also adding to the total themselves with a further £1.15 million, bringing the combined fund to £7 million.

Ellie Orton OBE, Chief Executive at NHS Charities Together, said:

“This fund offers a much-needed boost to help young people from all backgrounds access life-changing volunteering opportunities.


“We support a network of 240 NHS Charities across the UK – many of which have unparalleled expertise in delivering youth volunteering schemes – and we look forward to working with them to get these funds to where they are needed most, and can have the greatest impact. This includes increased support for our NHS workforce, as they face their most challenging winter ever.”

Sir Trevor Pears CMG, Executive Chair, Pears Foundation, added:

“For so many civil society organisations, volunteers are the backbone of their work; the extraordinary volunteer response to Covid-19 has only served to emphasise this. Now, as we look forward, it’s crucial that we support these organisations to build on that response, remove remaining barriers to recruitment, and further develop the infrastructure to support and invest in their volunteers.


“We are delighted to be working in partnership again with DCMS to support some of our long-term partners in this work, delivering projects to develop volunteering opportunities for, and for the benefit of, people with disabilities and young people.”