Press release

£5.2m grants announced by the Centre for Social Action

£5.2 million of grants have been awarded to 34 volunteer-led programmes in communities across the country.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

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The Centre for Social Action has today announced £5.2 million of grants to 34 grantees which will support high impact volunteer-led programmes in communities across the country.

The Centre has now invested £40 million in 185 projects that encourage active volunteering, including youth projects, improving patient satisfaction in hospitals and support for older people and those living with long-term conditions. Many of these projects are already making a significant impact, such as Dementia Friends which to date has mobilised more than 600,000 people to better understand and help those with dementia.

The Centre is backing exciting social action projects which not only encourage people to create a positive change in their communities but are also sustainable and have the potential to grow.

The final grantees include:

  • Seven awards to grow and help evaluate projects that use volunteers to support the non-medical needs of people at the end of life and reduce loneliness and isolation
  • Seven awards to projects using social action programmes to support unpaid, family carers
  • Four awards to help scale projects that support young people to raise their aspirations and reach their potential
  • Five awards to test, develop and evidence a range of social action projects inspired by community organising
  • Eleven awards through the Innovation Fund, a partnership with Nesta. Of these, 6 will help test and develop digital platforms, such as mobile apps, and the use of ‘big data’ to mobilise people to help people and 5 will provide accelerated scaling to high impact initiatives.

Taken together, these programmes are mobilising tens of thousands of people in communities across the country.

The 34 organisations announced in the final funding round include:

  • IntoUniversity: £462,000 to grow the model of 18-25 year old volunteer mentors and tutors to work with young people in challenging inner city neighbourhoods. This funding will enable an expansion to 3 new cities – Leeds, Bristol and Southampton – and explore how the model could be taken to rural areas

  • Shared Lives Plus: £130,000 to enable a number of local branches of Shared Lives to provide more breaks to carers. Shared Lives is an innovative ‘family model of care’ where an adult who needs support moves in with or regularly visits an approved Shared Lives carer

  • Aquarius: £91,000 to deliver a project called ‘Reaching Out’, providing advice, support and befriending services for people with alcoholic liver disease, and their families, through a team of well trained volunteers

  • Code Club: £475,000 to support the teaching of computer coding to children. By 2018 the group aims to operate in 50% of primary schools, helping 66,000 children to build their digital skills;

  • London Ambulance Service: £120,000 to aid the development of an app that will mobilise trained first aiders within proximity to a reported cardiac arrest before an ambulance arrives. The chances of survival double for those who get CPR in the first few minutes of an attack.

The Centre for Social Action will be working with these organisations over the next year to provide support, including on the evidence and impact evaluation of the programmes as well as business planning and marketing advice, mentoring and networking.

The Centre was launched to help develop a modern and effective infrastructure to enable citizens to help the people and communities around them, alongside public services, with a specific focus on:

  • supporting people to age well and live independently for longer
  • improving health outcomes and wellbeing
  • supporting young potential
  • creating stronger and safer communities
  • contributing to prosperity

Over the last 18 months, the Centre has been gathering evidence of the impact of social action. Each of the organisations supported is developing its evidence base, with a number of them undertaking randomised controlled trials, allowing them to compare the outcomes of the group undertaking the project with an identical group that isn’t.

Rob Wilson, Minister for Civil Society, said:

I’m delighted to announce our investment through the Centre for Social Action for 34 wide ranging and exciting organisations. These projects will show the incredible potential of how volunteers improve lives across the country - often in close partnership with public services.

Vicki Sellick, Director at Nesta, commented:

The Centre for Social Action Innovation Fund is supporting an exciting and novel range of programmes that are helping to tackle some of our biggest social challenges; from helping young people find work to making sure we age well. We know that when people are generous with their time, helping others alongside public services, outcomes are improved – patients get better faster, children who’ve fallen behind at school catch up quicker, isolated older people feel less lonely and much more.

Find out more about the Centre for Social Action and the organisations supported by the Innovation Fund, one of the Centre’s sub-funds that is delivered in partnership with Nesta,

Published 29 December 2014