The Cabinet Office has announced a new £2m fund to support volunteer-led projects that will reduce the pressure on NHS services.
The department said the initiative would fund volunteer-led schemes that help older people stay out of hospital or assist them in making the transition from hospital to home.
The fund will be administered by the Social Investment Business on behalf of the Centre for Social Action, the Cabinet Office’s £36m initiative to fund sustainable ideas that use social action alongside public services, and the National Tripartite, a group set up in May 2013 to work on local improvement plans for accident and emergency standards and made up of NHS England, Monitor, the NHS Trust Development Authority and the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services.
The SIB said it expected the average grant size would be about £200,000 but it would consider awarding funding of up to £400,000 in "exceptional cases".
Nick Hurd, the Minister for Civil Society, said: "We want to make sure that older people have the support they need next winter. There is already some excellent work being done in the voluntary sector and this partnership is about finding the best programmes and supporting them to do more."
Sir Stephen Bubb, head of the charity chief executives body Acevo, who last year called on the government to provide funding for thousands of extra volunteers who would work with older people in hospitals, said the fund was "an important recognition of the role played by charities as key providers of care and support to the older population".The fund will be open for applications until midday on 13 June.