The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has given £2.7m to 16 projects working to bring communities together through volunteering.
The funding, which is being delivered through the Connected Communities Innovation Fund, managed by the innovation foundation Nesta, will be used to develop and test new ideas to boost volunteering and enhance existing programmes that are working well.
Successful applicants included Cities of Service, which received £235,425 for its Next Generation project to mobilise volunteers in cities, and Equal Arts, which was granted £244,000 to expand a project using hen-keeping to build relationships between care home residents and their communities.
In2Science was awarded £250,000 for its work to support 16 to 17-year-olds from disadvantaged backgrounds to study science subjects at university, and UpRising Leadership got £270,000 for a programme to give all young people access to mentors.
Tracey Crouch, the Minister for Sport and Civil Society, said: "Volunteering has a hugely beneficial impact on people’s lives. It has the power to harness community spirit and strengthen local areas by improving people’s wellbeing and decreasing social isolation.
"This investment will create more opportunities for people to share their skills while supporting people in need – it will also help to provide a rewarding experience for the volunteers themselves. I am looking forward to seeing the impact it has on a range of areas over the next few years."
Carrie Deacon, head of social action innovation at Nesta, said: "We know that when citizens share their time, knowledge and skills alongside public services, communities can achieve great things together.
"By supporting these innovative social action projects to develop and grow, we know they will transform lives and make a significant impact on some of the biggest social challenges we face."