Local Connections Fund


NOTE: This programme does not open until 5th January 2021.

The Local Connections Fund is a new £4 million fund to support charities and community groups in England that are working to reduce loneliness by helping them build connections across their communities.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Support (DCMS) and The National Lottery Community Fund are investing £2 million each into the programme.

This will be used to fund hundreds of ‘microgrants’ between £300-£2500 so that small local organisations (with an annual income of £50,000 or less) can bring people and communities together.


The Local Connection Fund will be split into two equal rounds of funding. DCMS will provide the first £2 million round of funding – which will be distributed by The National Lottery Community Fund. This first round will be open for applications on 5th January 2021 and close on 26th January 2021.

Successful applicants for this round of funding must have spent the money and finished their project by 31st March 2021.

The second round of funding will be provided by The National Lottery Community Fund and will launch in the summer of 2021.

Grants from the first round of funding will strengthen and develop small and micro-organisations that connect communities together and reduce loneliness.

What is the funding for?

The funding will help bring people together in safe and secure ways – including by covering the costs of technologies and equipment that will help people feel more connected within their communities.

Funding can also be used to help strengthen organisations and their services through, for example, training and development.

The funding aims to:

  • Build relationships in and across communities to help reduce loneliness and build connections between people and communities.
  • Bring together organisations who are working on social connections to celebrate their work, share learning and best practice, and form/bring together peer networks.

This is to help:

  • People in communities feel more connected
  • Individuals feel supported and less lonely or isolated
  • People more aware of services available that help them to connect with others and get involved
  • Organisations learn from each other

People understand what’s needed in their communities better than anyone. Different groups within different communities have different needs and will need different levels of support. DCMS and The National Lottery Community Fund are aware of this and this and want to hear directly from organisations as to who, in their community, needs additional assistance.

Who can apply?

DCMS and The National Lottery Community fund are interested in hearing from small organisations – with an annual income of £50,000 or less – that are working to tackle loneliness by helping people feel more connected within their communities.

You can apply if you’re an organisation that serves communities within England and are one of the following:

  • A voluntary or community organisation
  • A registered charity
  • A non-for-profit company or Community Interest Company
  • A faith group (but we cannot fund religious activities)
  • A constituted group or club

Organisations can still apply, even if they already have existing grants with The National Lottery Community Fund. But you cannot apply for costs which have been funded by other means, including Government or National Lottery funding. If duplicate funding does occur, the fund will take action to recover these funds.

Who cannot apply?

Applications from the following will not be accepted:

  • Individuals
  • Sole traders
  • Companies that pay profits to directors, shareholders, or members (including Companies Limited by Shares)
  • Organisations based outside the UK
  • One organisation applying on behalf of another
  • Unconstituted groups

The online application form for this fund will be available between January 5th and January 26th, 2021.

You should get a decision on your application by early February 2021.

Visit the National Lottery Community Fund website here for more information.


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