The Connected Communities Innovation Fund will support the best innovations that mobilise many more people throughout the lifecourse, to support people and places to thrive, alongside public services.
Why are we doing this?
We all need a purpose, to have a sense of well–being and to be connected to others. There is good evidence that the strength of our social relations is an important determinant of individual health and wellbeing, and communities ties build trust in others and social cooperation between people and our institutions.
Whether we call it formal or informal volunteering, giving, social action or simply ‘people helping people’, spending some of your time in the service of others is a deeply ingrained part of our culture. Over the last five years, in partnership with the Office for Civil Society (now part of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport – DCMS) we have run a number of Funds, including Innovation in Giving, the Centre for Social Action Innovation Fund, and more recent funds, such as the Second Half Fund, Early Years Social Action Fund, and Savers Support Fund, that seek to harness the power of social action alongside public services to transform the lives of beneficiaries.
We know that innovative forms of social action have a key role to play in augmenting public services and achieving better outcomes for us as individuals, and we now want to support more great ideas in new areas where we have identified significant opportunities for people helping people models.
In recent years, there has been a huge and exciting focus on youth social action. However, we want to ensure that people across the lifecourse have social action opportunities that suit their needs and interests. As such, we will be supporting great innovations that enable a wider group of volunteers to give their time and skills, and will work with selected projects to develop their plans to consider how they will mobilise volunteers including:
- People aged 50+ – we want to back social action innovations that mobilise the time and talents of people aged 50+ in new ways, especially those who may not have previously volunteered.
- People who want to give less intensively – we want to back social action initiatives that offer a variety of opportunities from high commitment to smaller commitment, sharing time and resources in new ways, and enabling a variety of people to give their time and talents.
- People who want to connect online – we want to back social action initiatives that make the most of technology to connect with and engage volunteers, and that perhaps even allow them to give their time online.
What are we doing?
The Connected Communities Innovation Fund is a partnership between Nesta and the Office for Civil Society at DCMS, providing up to £4 million in grants, alongside significant non-financial support, to the best innovations that mobilise the time and talents of people across the lifecourse, to create outcomes in any of the following themes:
- Community connections and thriving places: innovations that mobilise the time and talents of people within local communities to share resources, create reciprocal models of support and enable people to help each other in key priorities within their communities.
- Community resilience in emergencies: innovations that mobilise the time and talents of people to enable communities to prepare for, respond to and recover from emergencies.
- Digital Innovation: innovations that harness the opportunities of digital technologies to help mobilise the time and talents of people in new ways that suit 21st century lifestyles and needs.
- Improving our environment: innovations that mobilise the time and talents of people to create better responses to reducing waste and pollution.
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