Lets Keep Moving!

The Healthy Communities Together programme

Lets Keep Moving!

This programme offers up to £3 million of grant funding (over three years) to empower voluntary and community sector organisations to work together with the local health and care sector to boost the health and wellbeing of their communities.

Suitable for
Partnerships (see Who can apply?)
Funding size
Up to £500,000 over four years
Total available
up to £3 million
Application deadline

Eligibility deadline 11:59pm 27 May

What is it about?

Both The National Lottery Community Fund and The King’s Fund are committed to delivering the Healthy Communities Together programme. However, due to the ongoing and developing situation with COVID-19, and the additional pressures that this is placing on the voluntary and community sector, local authorities and NHS organisations, we have decided to allow additional time and extend the deadline for the submission of expressions of interest.

We have therefore decided to extend the deadline for expressions of interest to 27 May. The new revised timetable, until further notice, therefore will be:

27 May - Submission of the initial eligibility checks by applicants.

Early June - Eligibility checks assessed with the 40 successful applicants at this stage invited to submit a full application and asked for letters of support.

Early August - Submission of full application and letters of support (exact deadline date to be confirmed).

August/September - Assessment of the full applications, including some site visits.

Late September - Decision making and applicants informed of success.

We recognise that the situation is still rapidly evolving and will therefore keep this new date under review. If we do have to make any further changes we will communicate these as soon as possible. In order to stay up to date please sign up for further updates in order that we can communicate any changes.

Healthy Communities Together is a new programme developed in partnership between The National Lottery Community Fund and The King’s Fund.

The programme aims to support local areas to develop effective and sustainable partnerships between the voluntary and community sector, the NHS and local authorities to improve health and wellbeing, reduce health inequalities and empower communities.

As well as providing grant funding, the programme will support the development of relationships between partners, identifying and agreeing how best to work together, to ensure the involvement of organisations working across communities, and create a plan of activities.

The programme consists of two phases. In phase 1, a maximum of six areas will receive up to £50,000 funding from The National Lottery Community Fund and a package of learning and development support from the King’s Fund for up to nine months to develop their partnership and project plans.

Applications for phase 1 are to be submitted by 27 May, and with projects for phase 1 are projected to start in September 2020.

At the end of this phase, each site will be invited to apply for phase 2 of the programme for further funding and support.

Applications for phase 2 will be assessed on the strength of the partnerships that have developed, their involvement of relevant organisations working across communities, and the strength and feasibility of their project plans to deliver meaningful benefits for people and communities.

Successful partnerships will receive up to £450,000, as well as ongoing learning and development support from The King’s Fund, over a further three years.

We will reach a decision on phase 2 areas in 2021.

Who can apply?

We can fund a partnership (both new partnerships, and one that’s already been set up).

Partnerships must include:
  • a voluntary, community and social enterprise sector organisation
  • a local authority, and
  • an NHS organisation (including Clinical Commissioning Groups, NHS Trusts and primary care bodies).

One organisation may make an application and hold the grant on behalf of the partnership. Partnerships will be required to demonstrate the commitment and contribution of each organisation involved by obtaining a letter of support from a senior leader in their respective organisation. Senior leaders are defined as:

  • the CEO or an executive director of an NHS trust or CIC/social enterprise NHS provider, or an accountable officer, executive team member or primary care lead of a Clinical Commissioning Group.
  • the local authority Director of Public Health
  • a senior leader from the local voluntary and community sector.

An NHS body, a Director of Public Health and a VCSE leader may only provide a letter of support for one partnership. (A Director of Public Health who covers more than one local authority area may support one partnership for each.)

We can’t accept applications from:

  • individuals
  • sole traders
  • organisations based outside England
  • anyone who’s applying for another organisation
  • organisations that look to make profits and share these profits out privately. This includes organisations without the right asset locks. Or organisations that can pay profits to directors or shareholders – this might mean some CICs limited by shares
  • organisations that don’t have at least two people on their board or committee who aren’t married, in a long-term relationship, living together at the same address, or related by blood.

The partnerships we fund

Partnerships must cover a defined ‘place’ in England. It is up to the partnership to define its place (this could include an established geography such as a Local Authority area, or one that fits with the population’s needs that you want to address).

We will expect you to explain why your definition of place is appropriate to the impact you want the partnership to have. We are unlikely to select partnerships working with small numbers of people, such as a local neighbourhood groups or an individual Primary Care Network, who may not be able to bring about change across the local health and care system.

The partnerships we support will have at least some foundations in place, such as a locally agreed ambition or some experience of working together: the partnership will not be people who are all meeting each other for the first time. But equally, the partnership will not be so mature that it has already developed and embedded ways of working together: there must still be learning available from trying out ‘what works’.

We would expect the partnership to consider wider local plans for improving health and wellbeing and engaging and empowering the community, so that we can see how your plans will complement existing work.

What will the partnerships do?

We are keen to support partnerships to develop ways for the VCSE and statutory sector to work together as genuine partners to improve the health and wellbeing of their local community, engage and empower their community, and reduce health inequalities.

This may include:

  • developing infrastructure to engage the VCSE and enable effective partnership
  • developing a local approach to measuring impact on health and wellbeing
  • co-producing ways of commissioning and delivering services for particular groups of people, such as groups who are marginalised, have complex needs or live with long-term conditions
  • developing a commissioning framework which supports the diversity of the VCSE sector locally (for example, including very small organisations) or
  • developing community-centred approaches which aim to involve and empower local people in improving health and wellbeing.

How could the grant funding and leadership support be used?

The grant funding and the learning and development support provided as part of this programme aims to build the capacity and capability of organisations to work in partnership to improve health.

Grant funding

  • We anticipate most grant funding being directed to voluntary and community organisations. Types of activities that it may support include:
  • staff salaries (including covering staff costs so they have time to work in the partnership without unduly impacting on the delivery of services).
  • time and resources associated with organising the partnership and its activities.
  • leadership and organisational development (including coaching, facilitation and consultancy)
  • running costs (for example, room hire for partnership activities or community engagement)
  • resources to support the involvement of groups who may be poorly represented in health and care
  • resources to support the gathering and sharing of learning across the area.
  • small-scale equipment
  • other activities depending on the plans for what the partnership will work on.

This is not a complete list, and areas will need to tell us how they want to spend the money.

Grants can be made to voluntary sector organisations, or to local authorities or NHS bodies, but they can’t be used to fund routine NHS or local authority services.

We can't fund:

  • activities that make profits for private gain
  • religious activities (but we can fund religious organisations if their project benefits the wider community and doesn’t include religious content)
  • activities that replace government funding (for example, we can’t fund health services or staff posts which would normally be funded as part of the NHS or local authority’s responsibilities for commissioning services)
  • activities that benefit individuals, rather than the wider community
  • political activities
  • things you’ve spent money on in the past and are looking to claim for now
  • loan repayments.

Learning and development support

In phase 1 each partnership will receive dedicated support from a Senior Leadership Consultant at The King’s Fund with extensive experience of supporting and developing leaders across the health and care system.

In addition, staff from The King’s Fund will support local areas to access and use evidence to support the development of their plans and to capture learning from the work.

Activities may include:

  • working with partners and organisations across a place to help them develop shared understanding, reach agreements and identify solutions
  • coaching to develop leadership capability
  • sharing ideas and learning between the partnerships we support
  • offering independent feedback as a ‘critical friend’ and source of evidence.

How will we select the partnerships?

Many more areas could benefit from the Healthy Communities Together programme than we can fund.

We will need to apply selection criteria strictly.

Depending on what we learn from this work, we may want to extend this offer in the future, but at present we can only fund up to six partnerships.

There are three stages to the application process for phase 1 of the programme:

Stage 1: Programme eligibility (deadline – 27 May)

You must complete a short form, which we will use to establish your eligibility for this programme

Download the Health Communities Together programme eligibility form (PDF, 98KB)

If you’re having issues completing the form, we’re happy to accept a Word version.

All eligibility forms must be submitted by 27 May 2020.

The most important work you will need to do before completing this form is:

  • Confirm you have a partnership in place and senior people from the Local Authority, NHS and Voluntary Sector can demonstrate commitment to the work and will be prepared to write to us to confirm this if you get through to stage two.

  • Develop a clear and shared idea of what you want to do and why. You may not have all the detail of how you will do it or know how you will overcome any problems that might arise, but you will be able to link your idea or vision to what is going on in your area and show it could have wide impact and learning.

Please do not apply unless you can answer the two points above.

You do not need to provide letters of support at this stage, but we will ask for the names and job titles of who you will ask.

We will score your application against the assessment criteria listed on the eligibility form.

When the form is complete, please return via email to: hct@tnlcommunityfund.org.uk

Stage 2: Letters of support (deadline - August (exact date TBC)

Submissions that are deemed eligible to apply for the programme will be asked to provide letters of support from the partners referred to in the application.

Stage 3: Application form (deadline - August (exact date TBC)

When we have your letters of support, we will send you a link to the application form.

We will review your application against our criteria and may also want to speak to you to check some points.

Stage 4: Site visit and final decision (August/September)

Up to 10 sites that score highest against our criteria will be invited to take part in a site visit so we can have a more detailed conversation with you and your partners, learn more about your work and ideas, the different organisations’ commitment, and how we could help.

Final decisions will be made by a decision-making panel, including representatives from the National Lottery Community Fund, The King’s Fund, and our Trustees or Committee Members.

Phase 1 work would start in the areas by July and last for six to nine months.

Further information

For further information on this programme, contact the Advice Team on 0345 4 10 20 30 or by email at general.enquiries@tnlcommunityfund.org.uk



Submissions will be considered in relation to a number of overarching criteria to ensure the programme includes a range of different approaches. The overarching programme criteria are:

  • Includes a diverse range of partnerships (e.g. rurality, geographical spread, approach to partnership).
  • The partnership and its proposed work is distinct from or complements work being undertaken by other similar programmes. This includes but is not limited to programmes supported by NHS England and NHS Improvement, The Health Foundation, the Local Government Association and Public Health England).
  • Includes partnerships which are taking different approaches to delivering improved health outcomes.
    • a. Different approaches to developing effective and genuine partnership working
    • b. Partnerships which aim to reduce health inequalities, work with marginalised groups, or those with complex health needs
    • c. Partnerships which aim to engage communities in developing a community-based approaches to health.

Individual questions
Each submission will be scored in relation to the criteria below.
Q3. Our criteria: Understanding of Healthy Communities Together programme and why it’s
right for them? What is the strategic approach to working together and why?
Q4. Our criteria: What is the scale of ambition, ability to create transformative change and is it
realistic and feasible?
Q5. Our criteria: Does this take account of relevant plans and what is the potential to create
positive impact within the wider context
Q6. Our criteria: What is the current status of the partnership; how would they like to see the
partnership working in the future; and what will enable them to achieve that?
Q7. Our criteria: What is the partnerships understanding of the current barriers and issues to
effective working and how might the support be used to overcome this.
Q8. Our criteria: How far developed is the partnership and relationships between the
organisations, what is the level of buy-in and support, what are the reasons to be confident it
will be ongoing?
a. Different approaches to developing effective and genuine partnership working
b. Partnerships which aim to reduce health inequalities, work with marginalised
groups, or those with complex health needs
c. Partnerships which aim to engage communities in developing a community-based
approaches to health