Skip to content

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

Research reveals that nearly a third (30 percent) of children in England1 are behind in development by age five, while 16 million across the UK have less than £100 in savings and owe more than £3,000, excluding mortgage repayments2.

The two new funds will help to scale some of the volunteer-led initiatives already operating to counter these problems, such as mentoring schemes or digital tools. Existing examples operating in health and social care include the RNIB which runs a peer-led, telephone-based education and support service for people newly diagnosed with sight loss and GoodSam which alerts qualified first aiders to cardiac arrests in their vicinity at the same as sending an ambulance. The funds will also demonstrate the role that volunteers can play in supporting a wide range of public services.

The two new funds are:

  • Savers Support Fund: Four to six grants of between £150,000 and £250,000 to scale proven approaches to help people better manage money. Projects must work with families considered to be ‘just about managing’ and /or young people aged 14-25.
  • Early Years Social Action Fund: Four to six grants of between £150,000 and £250,000 to help grow the reach and impact of existing volunteer led initiatives that supports parents of 0-4 year olds achieve their developmental milestones. Must show evidence of existing impact and focus on supporting families in need of support.

For more information and to apply please visit the Nesta website (

Minister for Civil Society, Rob Wilson, 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, added: “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.”

The Savers Support and Early Years Social Action Funds follow the launch of four new funds for volunteers from Nesta and The Office for Civil Society in autumn 2016. Worth £4.9million in total, the funds will boost volunteering among the over 50s and grow the number of digital volunteers in schools. The first fund recipients will be announced in the coming weeks.

From 2013-16 the partners ran the Centre for Social Action Innovation Fund which mobilised volunteers to work alongside public services. An evaluation of the 52 projects’ funded is available on the Nesta website and showed that it mobilised 70,000 volunteers to support 175,000 people.



  1. Early Years Foundation Stage Profile, Department for Education, 2016
  2. The Money Statistics, 2017

About Nesta: Nesta is a global innovation foundation. Our mission is to spark and shape new ideas to improve how the world works for everyone. We use our knowledge, networks, funding and skills to take on big challenges, working in partnership with others to make change happen. We are a UK charity and our work is enabled by a financial endowment. Nesta is a registered charity in England and Wales 1144091 and Scotland SC042833.

About the Centre for Social Action: Since 2013 the Office for Civil Society has invested more than £36 million through the Centre for Social Action to identify and accelerate the development and spread of high impact social action initiatives that complement public services and improve social outcomes.

For more information contact Laura Scruby in Nesta’s press office on 020 7438 2697/2543,  [email protected]