15 August 2018

Charity and community organisations tackling youth loneliness across England can now apply for a share of £2 million to expand or enhance their support for young people.

This is part of the wider £11.5 million Building Connections Fund, announced in June by Prime Minister Theresa May and the lead minister for tackling loneliness Tracey Crouch. The youth-specific strand includes £1 million match funding from both government and the Co-op Foundation, the leading funder of projects tackling youth loneliness in the UK.

Eligible organisations can apply to the Co-op Foundation for funding from today to explore youth loneliness in greater depth, test youth-led innovations within their existing provision and share their learning as part of the Foundation’s national ‘Belong’ network.

Grants of up to £80,000 are available with guidance for applicants and eligibility criteria available on the Co-op Foundation website. The fund is targeted at organisations supporting young people in more deprived areas or with specific circumstances that increase the risk of loneliness.

Applications will close on Wednesday 26 September.

Jim Cooke, Head of the Co-op Foundation, said: “People can feel lonely at any age, with research showing young people are particularly affected. The Youth strand of the Building Connections Fund will help bring young people together to come up with innovative solutions to tackling loneliness while also building their confidence and skills to strengthen their connections and sense of belonging.

“We look forward to receiving applications from organisations across England looking to explore youth loneliness in greater depth and share their learning with partners nationwide.”

Tracey Crouch, Minister for Sport and Civil Society, said: "Loneliness can affect anybody, whatever your age, and we know that many young people struggle with feelings of isolation. This fund will support new ways to tackle youth loneliness, reduce stigma and make a real difference to the lives of young people across the country."

The remaining £9.5 million of the Building Connections Fund is being delivered by the Big Lottery Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK. This is made up of £4.5 million from the Government and £5 million of National Lottery funding.

Grants of between £30,000 and £100,000 are available to support projects which reach out to people of all ages who feel lonely or isolated, and encourage them to take part in activities, helping them to feel more connected. Guidance and criteria are available on the Big Lottery Fund website.

Groups should apply to the strand which is most appropriate to support their work

Successful applicants will be announced in December 2018, with funding available to support projects until March 2021.

For more information on how to apply for the Youth strand of the Building Connections Fund, visit the Co-op Foundation website


To request interviews with spokespeople, please email Andy Mortimer, Communications Manager, on andy.mortimer@coop.co.uk. Alternatively, call 0161 692 7756 / 07702 603516.

Notes to Editors
- The £11.5 million Building Connections Fund was created as part of a partnership between the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, the Big Lottery Fund and The Co-op Foundation. It is made up of £5.5 million from the Government, £5 million of National Lottery funding is being contributed by the Big Lottery Fund, and £1 million in being provided by The Co-op Foundation. - Application criteria and guidance about the Youth strand of the £11.5 million Building Connections Fund is available on the Co-op Foundation’s website.

About DCMS - The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) helps to drive growth, enrich lives and promote Britain abroad.
- We protect and promote our cultural and artistic heritage and help businesses and communities to grow by investing in innovation and highlighting Britain as a fantastic place to visit. We help to give the UK a unique advantage on the global stage, striving for economic success.

About Co-op Foundation - We are the Co-op’s charity, set up to help communities UK-wide work together to make things better. - We are the leading funder of projects tackling youth loneliness in the UK. Our ‘Belong’ programme aims to connect and empower at least 5,000 young people while also strengthening youth services and tackling stigma associated with loneliness. - We also provide interest-free loans and grants to eligible organisations looking to grow sustainably-funded community spaces. - Co-op Foundation is a working name of Co-operative Community Investment Foundation, a charity registered in England and Wales (1093028) and Scotland (SC048102). www.coopfoundation.org.uk

About Big Lottery Fund The Big Lottery Fund uses money raised by National Lottery players to help communities achieve their ambitions. From small, local projects to UK-wide initiatives, our funding brings people together to make a difference to their health, wellbeing and environment. Since June 2004 we have awarded £8.5 billion to projects that improve the lives of millions of people. WebsiteTwitterFacebookInstagram