Building Connections Fund Youth Strand

Status:  Open to applications

Application Deadline: 26 September 2018


Grants are available for not-for profit organisations to expand or enhance loneliness projects which benefit groups of young people within the most deprived 30% areas of England.

Fund Value: £ 20,000,000
Maximum Value: £ 80,000

Value Notes

The total budget is £2 million.

Organisations can apply for up to £80,000, as follows:

  • Up to £10,000 (to be spent between December 2018 and March 2019) to engage young people in co-designing innovations to improve the impact of existing provision on tackling loneliness
  • Up to £70,000 (to be spent between April 2019 and March 2021) to implement and evaluate these innovations.

Extended Description

The £2 million Youth Strand is made up of £1 million from Government and £1 million match funding from the Co-op Foundation.

The Fund, which is managed by the Co-op Foundation, is open to organisations with existing youth-focused activities that could be effective at helping young people avoid long-term loneliness. Successful applicants will receive funding to explore youth loneliness in more depth, test youth-led innovations within their existing provision and share learning as part of a national network.

The fund can also support projects based in any part of England which mainly benefit young people with any one or more of the following circumstances:

  • Being a carer
  • Being unemployed or precariously employed
  • Experiencing bereavement
  • Having a disability or long-term health condition
  • Having been in the care system.

The Youth Strand is part of the £11.5 million Building Connections Fund, which is a partnership between Government, Big Lottery Fund and the Co-op Foundation, and was set up in response to the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness to support projects in England that prevent or reduce loneliness.

The Building Connections Fund aims to:

  • Increase social connections and create a sense of community and belonging, helping people form strong and meaningful relationships and feel more connected.
  • Support organisations to build on their existing work.
  • Encourage organisations to join up with others locally.
  • Improve the evidence base and use learning to inform longer-term policy and funding decisions.

Latest Information

The deadline for applications is 26 September 2018 (5pm). Grants will be made by December 2018 and projects funded will be able to run until March 2021.                                              

Key Criteria

UK-based charities, social enterprises and other voluntary and community organisations that do not mainly aim to generate profits for private distribution can apply.

To be eligible, applicants must:

  • Be constituted.
  • Have a UK bank account in the organisation’s name
  • Have at least two unconnected people on the board or management committee.

Applications will be considered from organisations working in partnership, including projects joining up with statutory organisations and involving both voluntary and public sectors, provided they are led by a voluntary organisation.


Eligible Expenditure

Successful applicants will receive funding to explore youth loneliness in more depth, test youth-led innovations within their existing provision and share learning as part of a national network.

Most of the funding will be spent on revenue costs to deliver projects.

This includes but is not limited to:

  • Staff salaries
  • Training and organisational development
  • Equipment to facilitate activities
  • Venue hire
  • Communications campaigns
  • Marketing
  • Project activities and other resources to help run the project
  • Resources to implement or develop the project
  • Costs for learning and evaluation

Although capital costs (such as buying or refurbishing buildings or large pieces of equipment) are generally not funded, up to 30% of the funding can be used to cover capital costs that are linked to transport and travel.


The following are not eligible for funding:

  • Organisations based outside the UK
  • Individuals or sole traders
  • Applications made on behalf of another organisation
  • Organisations aimed at generating profits primarily for private distribution
  • Organisations that are mainly fundraising bodies or fees for professional fundraisers
  • Statutory duties
  • Services run by state or public authorities, unless as part of a partnership led by a voluntary organisation.
  • Political activities
  • Religious activity (Religious organisations can apply as long as their work benefits the wider community.)

Application Procedure

The guidance notes and online application form can be found on the Co-op Foundation website.

Contact the Co-op Foundation for further information.

Addresses and contacts

Application forms may be available to download their website.
Contact details:
Co-op Foundation Team
Co-operative Community Investment Foundation 
9th Floor 
1 Angel Square 
M60 0AG
08437 519251