Why are we doing this?
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. We think social action has a key role to play in augmenting public services, from community networks supporting older people to live well and peer networks for people living with long term health conditions, to 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 is running a £14 million Innovation Fund from April 2013 to March 2015 to help grow the impact and reach of innovations that mobilise people's energy and talents to help each other, working alongside public services.
Between April 2013 and July 2014 we invited proposals across our five priority areas (where there is a plausible account of how social action can make a difference). In total we received more than 1,400 expressions of interest. Our team worked to develop proposals with the best innovations and we have now given grants to more than 25 innovations, and more will be announced soon.
Click on the priority areas below to read more about the portfolio:
- Helping older people to live well
- Helping people with long-term health conditions to live well
- Supporting young people to succeed and find employment
- Using “impact volunteering” to support and improve public services
- Helping unemployed people improve their skills and get back to work
We also offer all our grantees non-financial support such as:
- Access to advice from our evidence partners to develop a clear Theory of Change and improve the innovation’s evidence of impact, moving up the Standards of Evidence.
- Access to a mentor who has scaled innovations in the past through the Social Innovation Mentor Network
- Input from the Innovation Fund advisory panel and Centre for Scoial Action Innovation Fund staff.
One of Nesta’s current strategic priorities is citizen engagement in public services. Over the past few years we have supported innovators in this space through People Powered Health, Innovation in Giving, Creative Councils and our work on Co-production. The Centre for Social Action Innovation Fund is our largest programme to date and builds on this legacy.
Want to know more?
You can get in touch at CSAinnovationfund@nesta.org.uk
Please note: the fund is currently closed for applications and we are not currently expecting to announce any new open calls in 2014-5.