A grant programme for community organisations in deprived areas worth a minimum of £1.5m was launched yesterday by the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts.
The Neighbourhood Challenge will award 10 organisations at least £150,000 over 18 months to trial different approaches to tackling local problems.
The programme aims to show how community organisations can support local people to tackle issues that matter to them.
Money will be spent on providing organisations with tools and training, and to provide small-scale finance for local projects.
Jonathan Kestenbaum, Nesta’s chief executive, said: "We know that there is huge untapped potential in all communities and now, more than ever, we need to find ways of unlocking the ingenuity of people in their local neighbourhoods.
"We now urgently need better evidence of which approaches work best and in what context."
The challenge will be evaluated to provide ideas to the government on how to make big society policy work across the UK.
Expressions of interest should be submitted by 22 November.