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Nesta and OCS launch £2m ‘innovative volunteering’ funds

16 Feb 2017 News

Nesta and the Office for Civil Society have today launched two new volunteering funds worth £2m to support “early years development” and “improve the public’s money management skills”. 

Applications have opened today for the Savers Support Fund and the Early Years Social Action Fund, offering between four and six grants of between £150,000 and £250,000 to charities and social enterprises. 

Both funds are designed to “scale proven social action interventions that improve money management skills and reduce debt” through volunteering and peer-to-peer mentoring programmes. 

Nesta said that charities and social enterprises applying for the Savers Support Fund must “work with families considered to be ‘just about managing’ and/or with young people aged 14-25”; while those seeking to apply for the Early Years Social Action Fund must “show evidence of existing impact and focus on supporting families” in need of help. 

The funds launch today and the application window for charities and social enterprises interested in applying closes at midnight on 29 March. Shortlisted applicants will then be invited to a workshop held by Nesta on 2 May. The funds are scheduled to end in December 2018. 

According to Nesta, charities and social enterprises “across the UK” are free to apply but, due to the OCS only having “responsibility for social action in England only, the benefits from the proposals should be in England only”.

The grants will be aimed at funding a 12 to 18-month project starting in August. Nesta said the grants would “have a catalysing impact on your future growth and so would want to be assured at full proposal stage that it is part of your longer term growth strategy to scale”. 

Rob Wilson, minister for civil society, said: “Volunteers are invaluable, supporting communities and helping to build a shared society for everyone. These latest funds will increase the numbers of volunteers even further, supporting more parents and helping adults and young people develop a positive relationship with managing money."

Vicki Sellick, director at Nesta, said: “We’re delighted to launch two new funds to mobilise thousands more volunteers to give their time alongside schools, councils and other public services. The innovations we back to grow through these new funds will make a lasting difference in improving the chances of pre-schoolers in succeeding and helping young people and adults in debt to learn lifelong habits of saving and money management.”


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