New fund tackling loneliness opens to applications


Charities and community groups in England can now apply for a share of close to £9 million aimed at tackling loneliness by building strong social connections and welcoming communities.

The money is from the £11.5 million Building Connections Fund announced on 19 June by the Prime Minister, Theresa May, and lead Minister for Tackling Loneliness, Tracey Crouch, in response to the Jo Cox Commission’s recommendations on Loneliness.

Almost £9 million will be distributed by the Big Lottery Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK, and will support projects already working to prevent or reduce loneliness to increase their impact.

Grants of between £30,000 and £100,000 will be available for projects which reach out to people of all ages who feel lonely or isolated, and encourage them to take part in activities, helping them to feel more connected.

This could include making the most of community spaces, improving access to transport, using digital technology, or joining up local services to have a bigger reach.

Applications open Monday 16 July and will close on Friday 24 August. Guidance and criteria are available on the Big Lottery Fund website.

Minister for Loneliness, Tracey Crouch MP, said: “Loneliness is a serious issue that can affect anybody. Communities suffer when people feel disconnected or alone but by working together we can reduce its stigma and build on the legacy of Jo Cox.

“I encourage charities and community groups across the country to help us tackle loneliness. This fund will help improve people’s lives and build stronger communities.”

Dawn Austwick, Chief Executive of the Big Lottery Fund, said: “Feeling connected to the people around us can have a profound impact on our wellbeing, encouraging a sense of belonging and helping to prevent loneliness.

“That's why we’re proud to be launching this new fund in partnership with Government and the Co-op Foundation. Thanks to funding raised by National Lottery players, it will help inspire community spirit and spark new friendships between people of all ages.”

The remaining £2 million from the £11.5 million Building Connections Fund will be distributed by the Co-op Foundation, the UK’s leading funder of projects tackling youth loneliness.

Grants of up to £80,000 will be available for youth organisations already helping young people avoid long-term loneliness.

Successful applicants will receive funding to explore youth loneliness in greater depth, test youth-led innovations within their current services, and share learning as part of the Co-op Foundation’s national Belong network of youth partners.

Applications to this youth-focused strand of the Building Connections Fund will open in August 2018. Guidance and criteria are available on the Co-op FoundationGoes to different website website.

Groups should apply to the strand which is most appropriate to support their work.

All grants will be announced in December 2018, with funding available to support projects until March 2021.