Cabinet Office will launch £36m scheme to support volunteering and social action

The Centre for Social Action will provide financial and non-financial help and will include a new Innovation Fund run by Nesta

Cabinet Office

The Cabinet Office will invest about £36m over the next two years in a programme designed to support volunteering and social action.

The initiative, called the Centre for Social Action, will be launched in April and will help organisations that "want to mobilise people to take part in social action", the department said.

The Cabinet Office cited two examples of schemes the initiative might support: Join In, which aims to build a legacy of volunteering from last year’s Olympic Games in London and received £2m of Cabinet Office funding in August; and the Dementia Friends initiative, which aims to train one million volunteers to support people with dementia.

A spokesman for the Cabinet Office said the breakdown of how the money would be allocated, in terms of grants and other forms of finance, was not yet clear and further details would be made available in due course.

The Cabinet Office said that the innovation support charity Nesta would operate a new £14m Innovation Fund within the Centre for Social Action.

It will be supported by £10m from the £36m, and by £4m from Nesta, and will provide financial and non-financial support to ideas that "harness the capabilities, expertise and resourcefulness of citizens and civil society", the department said.

The Cabinet Office announced that Philip Colligan, executive director of Nesta’s Public Services Lab, had been appointed as a government adviser on social innovation and would advise on the wider strategy of the centre, which will be run by the Cabinet Office.

Nick Hurd, the Minister for Civil Society, said: "We have seen the impact that can be made when successful programmes are given the support they need to grow. The Centre for Social Action will be an opportunity for us to build on what we have learnt in the last two years and ensure the best ideas and ventures in the social sphere get what they need to mobilise significant numbers of people and help build a bigger, stronger society."

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