Centre for Social Action Innovation Fund

£14 million Fund to support the growth of innovations that mobilise people's energy and talents to help each other, working alongside public services.

Open Until:

Posted: 10/07/2013

Nesta Say:

Whether we call it formal or informal volunteering, giving, social action or simply “people helping people” – spending some of your time in the service of others is a deeply ingrained part of our culture.

From school governors to special constables and first aid training there are lots of great examples, but there could be more. Most of our public services still operate on a paternalistic model where they do things to people not with them, and fail to engage with the capabilities, networks and resources that they don’t directly control.

New models are emerging in the UK and internationally, from community networks supporting older people to live well, peer networks for people living with long term health conditions and young people helping their peers navigate job and training opportunities.

What are we doing?

As part of the Cabinet Office Centre for Social Action, Nesta will run a £14 million Innovation Fund.

We will provide financial and non-financial support to help grow the impact and reach of innovations that mobilise people’s energy and talents to help each other, working alongside public services.

Over the next two years the ambition is to:

  • Find innovations that harness different types of social action to make a positive difference across a range of outcomes
  • Support the most promising innovations to have more impact, including building evidence of what works
  • Enable a small number of proven innovations to achieve impact at significant scale, by reaching and benefiting many more people
  • The Innovation Fund will focus on a small number of big social challenges, like helping older people to age well or supporting young people to get into work, where there is a plausible account of how social action can make a difference and is under-exploited by the existing approach of public services.

Details of the current priorities and how to apply for support from the Fund can be found here:


Deadline for expression of interest is 31 October 2013

For more information about the Cabinet Office Centre for Social Action, visit this website: https://www.gov.uk/centre-for-social-action

"Just to say a huge thanks ... I am looking forward to progressing with this project thanks to your support, advice and guidance"

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