New £5m digital fund opens for applications

Charities are being invited to apply for a share of a £5m fund designed to help them improve their digital capabilities. 

The funding, which is being provided by the National Lottery Community Fund in partnership with the technology charity Cast, will be provided in a mix of grants and support worth up to a maximum of £60,000 per successful organisation. 

The fund is expected to prioritise organisations that work with groups that have been disproportionately affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, including older people, people who experience health inequalities or social isolation and disabled people. 

Of the funds available, £1.8m will be made available in direct grants with the remaining £3.2m going to fund expert support that will be provided to successful applicants. 

The scheme is open to any social organisation that is part of a network of 10 or more other charities and is willing to share what it learns with that group. 

Applications are particularly welcome from user-led organisations and those representing ethnic minority communities, LGBT+, disabled and other marginalised communities, organisers said in a statement. 

Dan Sutch, director of Cast, said: “Covid-19, and social distancing in particular, has demonstrated the importance of digital in ensuring social organisations can continue to serve the needs of their communities. 

“And we’ve also seen clear evidence that organisations that are better equipped to use digital, data and design have been able to respond more quickly to the new needs and environment in which we’re operating.”

He said the scheme would enable charities to access funding to develop their digital practice and access the support of digital partners who were experts in digital, data and design, and working with charities. 

The first deadline for applications is 7 September. For more details and to apply, click here.

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