The National Lottery Community Fund has announced the first grants, which total £3.4m, from its new Digital Fund.
Wag and Company, Addaction and the Law Centres Network are among the first recipients of grants that will enable them to improve or expand their services with digital technology.
A grant of £350,000 will help Wag and Company build a digital infrastructure and lead to the expansion of its model of volunteers visiting care homes with dogs to reduce social isolation.
Meanwhile Addaction will £500,000 to co-design new digital products with users and the Law Centres Network will use its grant to refresh its activity for the digital age.
Diane Morton, founding director of Wag and Company, said: “As a smaller charity experiencing an increasing demand for our services, we’re over the moon.
"This Digital Fund grant is going to be transformational for us – we can more than double our activities by 2022 and grow our volunteer base significantly, meaning we can play a bigger part in tackling social isolation among older people in our region.”
The other grantees are: Aberlour, a Scottish charity for vulnerable children; National Ugly Mugs, which runs a safety platform for sex industry workers; Family Lives, an advice service; Lancashire Women’s Centre, which wants to develop a solution for early intervention; and Children 1st, which wants to transform its helpline service into a digital hub.
Last autumn the National Lottery Community Fund opened the first funding round and said it woud spend £15m through its Digital Fund over two years.
Launch of The Catalyst
Last week a new initiative was launched to help smaller charities and civil society organisations adapt and use new technology in a more collaborative way and “bring a social purpose to the digital revolution”.
The Catalyst is being developed by the Centre for Acceleration of Social Technology .
The project has received nearly £500,000 from the National Lottery Community Fund. Other funders include City Bridge Trust, Comic Relief, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, the Department for Digital Culture Media and Sport and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation.
In a blog following the launch, Cassie Robinson, head of digital grant making at The National Lottery Community Fund who is involved with the project, said: “So many organisations are head down, in frantic and responsive delivery mode, all of the time.
“And without a bigger vision and sense of shared purpose there is a danger we’ll just be using digital to keep things as they are, just maybe in a more efficient and user-centred way.”
Attendees of the launch event were surveyed to identify trends and issues.