Centre for Social Action's £14m fund open for applications

Philip Colligan of Nesta, which runs the Innovation Fund, says social action can make a huge difference to communities

Philip Colligan
Philip Colligan

The first round of the Centre for Social Action’s £14m Innovation Fund has opened for applications.

The fund will support programmes that encourage people to create positive change through social action and is run by the innovation charity Nesta on behalf of the Cabinet Office.

The fund is open to charities, social enterprises, public services and for-profit businesses. Applications in the first round are being sought from organisations and projects working in four areas: ageing well, longer-term health, young people and impact volunteering, which means using volunteers to enhance public services.

The Centre for Social Action was established in February by the Cabinet Office, which has invested about £36m in the initiative.

The innovation fund will provide grants of between £50,000 and £500,000 and non-financial support. It is looking to fund sustainable ideas that use social action alongside public services.

A spokeswoman for Nesta said the total amount of funding allocated in the first round would depend on the ideas that came up. The first round of the two-year funding programme will close in October.

Philip Colligan, executive director of Nesta’s Public Services Lab and a government adviser on social innovation, said: "We know that social action can make a huge difference to some of the biggest challenges facing communities and the public services they rely on. 

"From supporting older people to age well to helping young people to get jobs, we want to support the most promising innovations through the Innovation Fund to reach and benefit more people."

Nick Hurd, the Minister for Civil Society, said: "To succeed as a country we have to develop better responses to our social challenges. That should include more opportunities for active citizens to get involved. We are excited by the opportunity to support programmes that mobilise people to help people. Early evidence shows it can make an enormous difference to outcomes and wellbeing. We want to build on that."

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