Charities and community organisations across England can now apply for a share of more than £11 million to tackle loneliness.

Part of this Building Connections Fund, announced last month by Prime Minister Theresa May, will be distributed by the Big Lottery Fund to projects tackling loneliness across all ages. Visit the Big Lottery Fund’s website to find out if your project is eligible. Applications are open until Friday 24 August.

The remaining £2 million of this fund will be distributed by the Co-op Foundation to support projects that tackle youth loneliness specifically. Grants of up to £80,000 will be available and applications will open in August. Subscribe to our blog to hear first when this happens.

Is your project eligible for youth strand funding?

Successful applicants to the youth strand of the Building Connections Fund will be charitable or community organisations already working to tackle youth loneliness.

We will be specifically looking to fund those organisations that benefit young people in one or more of the following circumstances:

  • Young carers
  • Unemployed or precariously employed
  • Experiencing bereavement
  • With a disability or long-term health condition
  • Have been in the care system
  • Live within the most deprived 30% of areas in England.

If your project meets one or more of these 6 criteria, you might be best suited to apply to the youth strand when this opens in August.

If you work with young people to tackle loneliness, but don’t focus on young people in any of the circumstances listed above, you might still be eligible to apply to the main fund – open now through the Big Lottery Fund.

Organisations can apply to both strands of the Building Connections Fund, if you have separate projects that are suitable for each of these. However, it is not possible to get funding from both strands for the same project.

What can the money be spent on?

Successful applicants to the youth strand will receive funding to explore youth loneliness in greater depth, test youth-led innovations within their existing provision, and share their learning as part of our national ‘Belong’ network.

Grants of up to £80,000 will be offered as follows:

  • Up to £10,000 (to be spent between December 2018 and March 2019) to engage young people in co-designing innovations to improve the impact of existing provision on tackling loneliness
  • Up to £70,000 (to be spent between April 2019 and March 2021) to implement and evaluate these innovations.

Projects funded through our youth strand will also participate in the wider Building Connections Fund evaluation.

Why youth loneliness?

Youth loneliness is widespread but not widely understood.

The Co-op Foundation has been focusing on this issue for the past 18 months, ever since Co-op research revealed that young people feel lonely more often than other age group. We recognised that, despite its prevalence, there had been limited efforts to understand in depth how loneliness affected young people, and what would help them.

We now fund projects across the UK that help young people come together to combat loneliness.

Deadline: Wednesday 26th September

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