Comic Relief – Levelling the field – Deadline midday 16th March 2017.


The lives of women and girls across the world have improved in many ways over the last 25 years, but there is still much to do. Empowering women and girls so that they are safe and free to lead the lives they choose is a key programme area in Comic Relief’s new global strategy.

Sport is a powerful tool for social change, and can be used to address issues affecting women and girls. It can support the development of essential life skills, deliver powerful messages, foster confidence and improve self-esteem. It can also be used to challenge gender roles and propel women and girls toward better lives.

Levelling the Field, offers funding to organisations working in partnership in the UK, which use the power of sport to empower women and girls to reach their full potential.

Funding available

This is a £1 million initiative funded by Comic Relief and the Treasury to support projects in the UK. Applications are welcome for a minimum of £30,000 and a maximum of £250,000, over a period of between 12 and 36 months.

We are encouraging a variety of different types of projects. This could be a pilot for an innovative piece of work or the continued development of a proven piece of work. Funding is available for project delivery, research, or for a campaign.


This initiative was developed following a consultation event in July 2016 with organisations from the Sport for Change and the Women and Girls sectors. The consultation highlighted a number of issues that disproportionately affect women and girls such as lack of opportunities, gender stereotypes and social isolation. This programme has been designed to address those issues.

We also received feedback that Comic Relief has a role to play in helping to facilitate the development of partnerships. In response, we have set up a Slack Channel to help maximise these opportunities. We strongly encourage you to join this channel, as it will allow you to make connections with other organisations which are interested in applying to the initiative and/or interested in forming new partnerships.

Join the Slack channel by emailing: [email protected]. We will send you the link by email and further guidance on registering and using the Slack Channel.


We are looking for creative solutions which influence, motivate, and inspire women and girls to break down the barriers that prevent them reaching their full potential. Organisations may address the many challenges faced by women and girls in different ways. All proposals must use sport as a tool for change in their approach.

Proposals must work towards the overall outcome of inspiring women and girls to reach their full potential. In addition, proposals must work towards a minimum of one of the following outcomes:

    • Reduce gender stereotypes that have a negative impact on women and girls – the use of realistic role models may be appropriate
    • Increase social inclusion of women and girls – please note that proposals must focus on more than just bringing women and girls together
    • Increase opportunities for women and girls to access education, employment and training – these may, or may not be within the sport industry
    • Improve the leadership skills of women and girls – equipping women and girls with the skills to become leaders, in the setting appropriate to them
    • Tackling violence against women and girls – enabling women and girls to live free from harm, and with access to crucial support

Proposals must be targeted, and do not need to address all of the above outcomes.

We also appreciate that men and boys can be part of the solution. We welcome applications that include work with men and boys, however the main focus of the work must be change for women and girls. We are more likely to prioritise applications which are targeting the most vulnerable and marginalised groups, rather than women and girls as a general cohort.

Sport for Change

We know that taking part in sport leads to an increase in self-esteem and self-confidence for most people and for this initiative, we are making the assumption that this underpins all programming. However, for this programme we want proposals go above and beyond confidence building and to demonstrate how sport can be used to achieve positive social change. Proposals to this initiative will need to demonstrate wider social outcomes and not just focus on increasing female participation in sport.

For more information on our approach to Sport for Change click here.


We will only accept applications from organisations working in partnership. The partnership must include a track record of working with women and girls, and using sport as a tool for change. There must be one lead organisation which must have at least one partner, however we expect both/all partners to play a role in project delivery. We will require the lead organisation to upload a partnership agreement for each partner as part of the application process. More detail is provided in the guidance notes with the application form.

It is not a requirement for organisations to use the Slack channel. Applications from existing partnerships, or partnerships developed outside this channel are also welcome.

There is no minimum / maximum turnover for applicant organisations.

Key dates and process

We will be open for proposals from 5th January 2017 to midday 16th March 2017.

Once we receive your proposal, we will initially check whether your organisation and proposal are eligible for funding under this initiative and then shortlist the strongest proposals to go through for a full assessment. We will aim to notify all applicants of our decisions at this stage in April 2017. If your proposal is unsuccessful at this stage, we will be unable to provide any additional feedback due to our limited resources.

Assessments of the shortlisted proposals will take place during May 2017 and final decisions will be made by our Grants Committee and Trustees.

We aim to inform all applicants of the final decision in July 2017. If your proposal is unsuccessful at this stage we will write to you explaining the reasons why and may offer further feedback by phone.

Click here for the funding page


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