We all need a purpose, to have a sense of wellbeing and to be connected to others. There is good evidence that the strength of our social relations is an important determinant of individual health and wellbeing, and community ties build trust in others and social cooperation between people and our institutions.
We know that giving our time in the service of others has a huge impact on the quality of our lives as we age, and want to support many more people to have opportunities to give throughout the life course.
We supported 16 organisations to mobilise the time and talents of people across the lifecourse, to improve outcomes for a broad range of citizens.
This included programmes that focused on; sharing resources, reciprocal models of support, creating better responses to reducing waste and pollution and preparing for responding to and recovering from emergencies.
There were two sizes of funding awards available, depending on the maturity of the idea.
- Early stage ideas: Grants of £50-75k were provided to early stage ideas with high potential for impact on public service outcomes which ran for 12-18 months.
- Growing great ideas: Grants of £100-250k were provided to innovations ready to sustainably grow their existing social action project or programme to reach and benefit many more people in new locations over 2 years.
Across the programme £2.75 million was allocated to 16 innovations who mobilised 8,695 volunteers, 3,076 of whom were over 50, that in turn supported 26,604 people.
Here are some of our key learnings:
- The connected Communities Innovation Fund offered vital learning for future delivery and scaling of innovations which led to some significant and tangible impacts for beneficiaries, volunteers and public services.
- You can read more about the impact of the work in our report on Evaluating Social Innovation to Create Lasting Change.
- Read our People Power Shift report: What next for people power in public services? How compassion, connection and our collective power can take forward the next stage of people-powered public services
- Read The Value of People Power report that includes an economic analysis of the value of people power and explores how public services can better value the contribution of citizens.
- Read The Age of Inclusion: Lessons from social action innovations developing age-inclusive and age-friendly practice.