Charities and voluntary bodies invited to bid for £4.2m Innovation Fund

Chloe Smith, minister for political and constitutional reform, encourages organisations with ideas for improving voter registration among under-represented groups to bid for a share of the government fund

Chloe Smith
Chloe Smith

Charities and voluntary organisations with "innovative" projects aimed at getting more people on the electoral register have been invited to bid for a share of a government fund worth £4.2m.

The Cabinet Office said the Innovation Fund, which opened today, was aimed at specific groups that are under-represented on the register, including 16 and 17-year-olds who should register to vote ahead of their first elections, 18 to 24-year-olds and people in social housing.

There are two projects being supported by the fund, he said. One invites charities and small businesses to come forward with innovative ideas to improve engagement in the democratic process among under-represented groups to get more people on the electoral register.

Third-sector organisations can also apply to provide the Rock Enrol lesson framework in schools within areas of high under-representation among 16 and 17-year-olds. A spokesman for the Cabinet Office said there was no set amount for which charities should apply.

Chloe Smith, minister for political and constitutional reform, said: "I would like to urge any organisation that has an idea for improving voter registration among young people or people in social housing to come to us and bid for some of this money.

"Even if your charity or social enterprise is not in the business of getting people on the electoral register, your networks and expertise in your community could be invaluable in our quest to give everybody the opportunity to use their right to vote."

The projects have been launched in advance of the switch to Individual Electoral Registration, which will go live in England and Wales in June 2014 and in Scotland following the referendum on independence in September 2014. Under the new system, instead of receiving a household registration form, everyone will have to register themselves, and for the first time people will also be able to register online.

The deadline for expressions of interest for the funding is 21 August and the deadline for applications 3 September.

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