Local Connections Fund - Round 2

Headway Oxford

This is the second round of the Local Connections Fund, a £4 million investment designed to help small charities and community groups working to reduce loneliness by building community connections across England.

The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK, is investing £2 million into this second round of funding. This will be used to fund hundreds of ‘microgrants’ between £300 and £2,500, so small, local organisations (with an annual income of £50,000 or less) can bring people and communities together.

By a ‘community’, we mean people:

  • living in the same area - like a city, town or street
  • who share characteristics - like beliefs, values, interests or faith
  • who can be grouped together in some other way.

Two rounds of funding

The Local Connections Fund has been split into two equal rounds of funding. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) provided the first £2 million, which was distributed by The National Lottery Community Fund and completed at the end of March 2021.

The second round of funding is provided by The National Lottery Community Fund.

If you received funding in Round 1, you will not be eligible for funding in Round 2.

What the funding's for

The funding is aimed at bringing people together in safe and secure ways, making people aware of what services are available to reduce loneliness and to build lasting connections.

People understand what’s needed in their communities better than anyone. We know that groups within various communities will have different needs and will need different levels of support. We want to hear directly from organisations about who in their community needs additional assistance.

Who can apply

Organisations can still apply, even if they already have existing grants with The National Lottery Community Fund. You cannot apply for costs which have been funded by other means, including Government or National Lottery funding. If duplicate funding does occur, we’ll take action to recover these funds.

Area
England
Suitable for
Small (with an income below £50,000), constituted, local charities and community groups working to tackle loneliness by helping people feel more connected within their communities.
Funding size
£300 to £2,500
Total available
£2 million in Round 2 - successful applicants must have completed their project and spent their grant by 30 November 2021
Application deadline

Applications open - 28 June 2021 at 10am

Applications close - 6 August 2021 at 5pm

Apply

What information you need to apply

We ask for:

  • the contact details
  • home addresses
  • dates of birth

of two different people from your organisation.

We need:

  • a ‘senior contact’ - this is the person who’s legally responsible for your grant and could be chair, vice chair, treasurer, trustee, director or company secretary
  • the ‘main contact’ - this is the person we’ll contact about this application (this might be the person filling in your application).

These two people cannot be:

  • related by blood
  • married to each other
  • in a civil partnership with each other
  • in a long-term relationship with each other
  • living together at the same address.

Both contacts need different email addresses, and both need to live in the UK.

About your organisation, we ask for:

  • the legal name of your organisation
  • its address
  • what type of organisation it is

The legal name is the name on your governing document. Your governing document could be called one of several things - a constitution, trust deed, memorandum and articles of association, or something else entirely.

You might find it on a registration website - for example, Companies House or a Charities Register.

Make sure these details are up to date and match up with any information or identity documents we ask for (when you get to the application part).

We ask for information about your organisation’s accounts

We want to know the date your accounts wrap up each year and how much income you have.

If you do not have yearly accounts because you’re a new organisation (less than 15 months old), that’s okay. We can still look at your application.

We ask for a bank statement from the last three months

It should show:

  • your organisation's legal name
  • statement address
  • your bank's name
  • the account number and sort code
  • the date the statement was issued.

Here’s a handy picture of the kind of bank statement we’re looking for.

We cannot pay into all bank accounts: We cannot transfer money into certain types of bank accounts like Tide, Cashplus and Paypal. This is because your account needs to be a registered UK bank or building society protected by the Financial Services Compensations Scheme (FSCS).

What we'll ask you about your project

We ask you for information about what sort of project you’d like to do and how your project will help and involve your community. We'll ask you these three questions. (We'll have more detail about these on the form itself.)

1. What would you like to do? 

You'll be able to write up to 300 words for this section, but don’t worry if you use less.

In this section, it’s important to tell us how you can adapt to meet any COVID-19 restrictions which may be put in place at short notice.

2. How does your project meet our funding priority? 

The Local Connections Fund Round 2 has only one funding priority, please tell us how your project will meet this priority of building relationships in and across communities to help reduce loneliness, and build connections between people and communities.

You'll be able to write up to 150 words for this section, but don’t worry if you use less.

3. How does your project involve your community? 

You'll be able to write up to 200 words for this section, but don’t worry if you use less.

We also ask you to read and agree to our terms and conditions

Read our terms and conditions.

If your project works with children, young people or adults at risk, you need to have a policy that explains how they’ll be kept safe. Read our safeguarding statement.

If you’re not sure about the sort of things we ask for when you apply

Contact us by:

  • Phone: 0345 410 2030
  • Text relay: 18001 plus 0345 410 2030 (for those with a hearing or speech impairment)
  • Email: localconnectionsfund@tnlcommunityfund.org.uk.

You can read our Data Protection statement to see how we use the personal data you give us.

How to apply

When you click on Apply, you’ll start your application. This will consist of:

  • Eligibility checker
  • Form 1: Your idea
  • Form 2: Bank account details.

You must complete all to submit your application.

Before you start, have your bank account details ready to fill in Form 2 straight after filling in ‘Form 1: Your idea’.

Saving a copy of your application

Once you've completed and submitted Form 1, you will not be able to return to change anything on Form 1, even if you're still on Form 2. Print or save a copy of your application for reference - you will not be able to access it later.

If it's difficult or impossible for you to complete an application form

You can contact us if you have any communication support needs or any difficulties with completing the form. We’re happy to talk about alternative ways for you to tell us about your idea.

Apply online

What happens after you apply?

1. You send us your application - we’ll assess it on a first come, first served basis. During this time, we'll look at your idea and do our security checks. Find out more about the checks we do.

2. If your application is unsuccessful - if we cannot fund your application, we’ll let you know as soon as we can. We're sorry but we cannot give feedback due to the volume of applications we're expecting.

3. If your application is successful - we'll send you an email with the good news. You can start your project as soon as you get this email, if you want to. We’ll put the funding in your bank account within 14 days (or sooner if possible). Some credit unions and building societies may take a little longer.

4. You can start spending the fundingon your project  - you have up until 30 November 2021 to complete your plans and spend the grant. We might check in from time to time - to see how things are going. We know that plans can change. If this happens, contact us.

5. During your project - we encourage grantholders to share stories about the work they’re doing whilst the work is taking place. It’s a great opportunity to let people know about your grant and the amazing work you are doing in your community. Sharing news about your project with your community can be a great way to keep them involved and engaged. Find out how to share your story and download the logo.

6. We may contact some grant holders partway through their grant - we may ask for your receipts or other updates to show how things are going.

7. We'll contact you at the end of your funding - as the Fund’s responsible to the public for the money we distribute, we need to have confidence that the funds you’ve received have had a positive impact on people and communities. We also want to learn from this funding, including what has worked well, and not so well for you, and how effective this method of distribution has been.

We have, and will continue to, work hard to make this as simple and efficient as we can.

What will we ask you for at the end of November 2021?

At the end of your grant, we’ll contact you so you can tell us about what you’ve done. You may like to provide us with one of these:

  • a case study
  • pictures of your work
  • a video
  • a newspaper article
  • a brief report.

This is a great opportunity to promote the great work you do and showcase your organisation.

What happens when?

Applications for Round 2 opens - 28 June 2021 at 10am

Applications for Round 2 closes - 6 August 2021 at 5pm

Decision and payments made - mid July to early October 2021

Funded activity takes place - July to end November 2021

Progress update - around halfway through the activity period

All funds must have been spent and all activities completed - 30 November 2021

End of grant learning - 31 December 2021.

Who can and cannot apply?

Who can apply

We're interested in hearing from small organisations - with an annual income of £50,000 or less - that are working to tackle loneliness by helping people feel more connected within their communities. We know many organisations have lost income due to the crisis, so we’re happy to consider your projected income for the year.

People understand what’s needed in their communities better than anyone. We know that groups within various communities have different needs and so will need different levels of support. We want to hear directly from organisations about who, in their community, needs additional assistance.

There will be £2 million available for Round 2 of this funding. The budget will be split between regions according to population.

You can apply if you’re an organisation that serves communities within England and is one of the following:

  • a voluntary or community organisation
  • a registered charity
  • a not-for-profit company or Community Interest Company
  • a faith group (but we cannot fund religious activities)
  • a constituted group or club (a group that has a set of rules describing its purpose and how it's run)
  • a parish council
  • a community benefit society.

We cannot accept applications from:

  • individuals
  • sole traders
  • companies that can pay profits to directors, shareholders or members (including Companies Limited by Shares)
  • organisations based outside the UK
  • one organisation applying on behalf of another
  • an unconstituted group (a group that does not have a set of rules describing its purpose and how it's run).

You can only submit one application to Round 2. We’re expecting a very high number of applications, so we’ll assess and award these in date order.

If you were unsuccessful for the first round of funding, you can still apply to this second round. If you were unsuccessful due to eligibility reasons, you’ll need to resolve these before you reapply.

If you received funding in Round 1, you will not be eligible for funding in Round 2.

Board or committee members

Organisations that apply must have at least two people on their board or committee who are not related.

By related, we mean:

  • married to each other
  • in a civil partnership with each other
  • in a long-term relationship with each other
  • living together at the same address
  • related by blood.

All companies who apply must have at least two directors who are not related in any of these ways and are recorded at Companies House. This also applies to companies that are also registered as charities.

If you’re not sure if you can apply

Contact us.

The projects we fund

What we can fund

This funding is available to small, constituted voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations with an annual income of £50,000 or less. They must be able to contribute to reducing loneliness, and build connections between people and communities. If you were awarded funding in Round 1, you cannot apply to Round 2.

The funding is to build relationships in and across communities to help reduce loneliness and build connections between people and communities.

This is to help make:

  • people and communities feel more connected
  • individuals feel supported and less lonely or isolated
  • people more aware of services available that help them to connect with others and get involved.

As the COVID-19 restrictions start to ease, we want to change the focus of this funding for Round 2. We know the dangers of COVID-19 are still present, so it’s important applicants demonstrate how they can adapt to meet any restrictions which may be put in place at short notice.

For Round 2, we want to focus on:

  • activities which physically brings people together in a safe and secure way
  • remote activities but where this is the best or only way to build connections for that particular community - this might work well for people who are geographically isolated, those with illnesses or disabilities, or those who are not quite ready to meet people face-to-face
  • helping individuals to get out of the ‘lockdown mentality’ and meet people in their communities again for activities which will be a positive experience for people
  • helping organisations who work to reduce loneliness restart activities - this might be getting volunteers or service users to clean and refresh their meeting space or grounds, or refreshing materials and ensuring equipment is ready to be used.

COVID-19 pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has, and continues to have, a significant impact on people’s lives. In addition, infection rates and restrictions, can change quite quickly. They can also vary locally and nationally. It’s very important that any activities carried out as a result of this funding must be able to adapt to comply with current rules around social distancing and Government advice regarding the reduction/control of the virus.

If you’re not sure about the sorts of projects we fund

Contact us.

What you can spend the money on

We can fund most things that support the aims of the Fund. The following lists describe most of the things we can and cannot fund but they do not include everything. If you're not sure, contact us.

We can fund:

  • staff salaries
  • volunteer expenses
  • management costs
  • monitoring and evaluation
  • overheads
  • general project costs
  • small items of equipment, like a laptop.

We cannot fund:

  • capital costs - capital can be large pieces of equipment, vehicles or the large-scale refurbishment of venues
  • activities where a profit will be distributed for private gain
  • retrospective costs (costs incurred/committed before your funding has been confirmed)
  • loan repayments
  • activities outside England
  • alcohol
  • items which will only benefit an individual or family, rather than the wider community
  • religious activity (although we can fund religious organisations if their project benefits the wider community and does not include religious content)
  • statutory activities
  • political activities
  • contingency costs
  • fundraising activities
  • paying someone else to write your application for you.

If you're ready to apply to start your application

Apply online

If you’re not sure if you can apply 

Contact us. The team will be happy to help. You can also check what other funding programmes you might be able to apply to.