A £3.5m fund to support volunteering and mentoring programmes that reduce reoffending has opened for applications, the Cabinet Office has announced.
The department said in a statement that the Rehabilitation Social Action Fund would support charities to "scale up, build evidence of impact and develop sustainable business models" and that it would help charities "engage with future commissioners, funders and contractors".
It will be run by the Cabinet Office’s Centre for Social Action using priorities that were developed with the Ministry of Justice and the National Offender Management Service.
The statement said the fund would support charities to grow in scale over an 18-month period up to March 2015 "through partnership working, expansion of an existing service or replication of a model in a new location".
Charities or social enterprises using volunteering, mentoring or other similar activities to reduce reoffending in England can apply for grants of between £50,000 and £250,000. Applicants will need to have "well-tested models of social action supporting adult offenders" with at least two years of experience in delivering programmes and a knowledge of current government methods of referring offenders to the sector, the Cabinet Office said. Organisations will need to have a business case to show how they will scale up. Applicants with match funding will be "strongly welcomed".
The deadline for applications is 5 September.