Government launches new £2.5m Communities Fund


Big contracts can deliver savings, but they aren’t usually the right solution to entrenched social problems. The government is saying – at last – that there is evidence that for people with more complex or demanding issues, it is more effective to use neighbourhoods and communities as partners in commissioning and delivering services more locally. This approach encourages greater tailoring and co-production of services, more focus on outcomes that matter to service users, potential efficiencies from joining up local services, and more effective harnessing of assets within the community.

Therefore, the DCLG (Dept for Communities & Local Government) is providing £2.5m worth of funding to local authorities working with community groups to deliver solutions to entrenched social issues, eg relating to:

  • early intervention and high cost individuals – people falling through gaps in statutory services perhaps because they do not meet individual service criteria or thresholds
  • adult social care – for example: tackling social isolation including via community transport schemes; projects aimed at safeguarding vulnerable people including rehabilitation and preventative work around domestic abuse; and/or; work aimed at increasing public health and wellbeing
  • children’s services – this could, for example, include work around disabled children’s support services or those aimed at helping children from disadvantaged backgrounds
  • employment support – they are particularly interested in proposals working with those furthest from the labour market and/or where the training is tailored to reflect opportunities in the local employment market and so more likely to result in sustainable outcomes

what’s on offer?

  • up to approximately £70,000 in grant funding (this is an indicative figure rather than an absolute)
  • access to a panel consisting of officials from the DCLG, external experts and local government representatives who will provide advice, challenge and an opportunity for different projects to exchange learning and network
  • opportunities for networking and shared learning across projects through events and online forums such as MyCommunity website
  • help and feedback with Cost Benefit Analysis tools
  • training on previous practice and advice on how to access other funding
  • opportunities to share your work with others

The fund will run over two years. The DCLG is keen for proposals to show how their approach will become self-sustaining and avoid over reliance on grant funding in the future. Joint bids from local authorities/other service providers and community-led groups have to be in by 16 January 2017.

For more information and to apply, please visit GOV.UK