Big Lottery Fund opens £20m fund for vulnerable children

Improving Futures will benefit voluntary sector organisations working with disadvantaged families in partnership with public authorities

Big Lottery Fund
Big Lottery Fund

The Big Lottery Fund has launched a £20m programme that will fund charity-led partnerships supporting families with vulnerable children.

The Improving Futures programme will provide funding for local voluntary sector organisations that work in partnership with public services to help UK families with children aged between five and 10 years old with housing, health, employment and other needs.

The scheme will fund up to 20 partnerships for three to five years, with up to £900,000 for each project.

The BLF will also fund an evaluation of the programme that will assess how the different projects' successes can be replicated elsewhere.

A statement from the BLF said the programme would aim to help not only individual families, but also local communities and society as a whole.

"It may also help realise savings for the taxpayer as a result of reduced need for further costly interventions such as taking children into care, housing evictions, hospital stays or criminal proceedings," it says.

Anna Southall, interim chair of the BLF, said: "We know that families in these circumstances interact with many different public services - from housing authorities to mental health services and schools to police. While some have benefited from integrated assistance, many have not.

"Improving Futures is designed to enable the voluntary sector to play a crucial role in reaching out to these families, providing holistic and tailored support in partnership with local public services."

The BLF said it would aim to support organisations that have a track record of working with disadvantaged families. Each proposal must be endorsed by the chief executive of the relevant local authority.

Applicants will need to submit expressions of interest to the BLF by midday on 12 May. These will then be reviewed and around 20 applicants will be invited to submit full applications by late September.

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