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£1m innovation fund opens for London charities

07 Dec 2020 News

Benjamin Davies

Charities have been invited to help address the “biggest challenges” facing London, through a fund backed by the city's mayor Sadiq Khan.

The £1m Resilience Fund, which will be funded through the Greater London Authority and managed by the innovation foundation Nesta, will make grants of up to £40,000.

The first stage of the application process, for groups to identify the challenges they hope to tackle, closes in a week.

Civil society groups based in London, including charities, local authorities and social enterprises, can apply for funds.

Funds and support

Ten groups in total will receive money to try and solve problems facing London. Nesta has provided a range of possible challenges including inequality, social cohesion, the impact of Brexit, and wellbeing, but applicants can choose any issue they want to address.

Successful charities will receive expert advice and mentoring, in addition to funding.

Khan: Developing ideas 'from the grassroots up'

London mayor Sadiq Khan said: “Our Resilience Fund will play an important role in helping the city recover from the pandemic.

“Great ideas, developed from the grassroots up, will be vital to helping the capital move forward, and so I’m urging individuals and groups from all communities to come forward with their solutions to London’s challenges.” 


Applicants have until 14 December to identify which social challenges they will try and solve, with 10 groups chosen by January 2021.

Those groups will then be matched with innovators, whose proposals for solving those challenges will be chosen in March. Nesta suggests that these innovations might include digital and data tools or new ways to help charities and businesses adapt after the pandemic.

£10,000 is available to finalists at this stage to develop their ideas.

In June, 10 overall winners will be selected, and will receive up to £30,000 to develop their projects in full.


Tris Dyson, the managing director of Nesta Challenges, said: “The Fund demonstrates how some of the capital’s most important groups can work together to help businesses and communities bounce back from Covid-19 in a rapid time frame.  

“We are first calling on community groups to come forward with identified issues that have arisen as a result of the pandemic.

“Importantly, the ten successful community groups will have the opportunity to co-create solutions with some of the best innovators across the UK, presenting opportunities for learning, sharing and ultimately the creation of successful prototypes.”

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