Work and Health Challenge Fund

Status: Open to applications
Deadline: 17th August, 2018


A £4.2m Challenge Fund to test new approaches that can help people experiencing mental health and/or musculoskeletal (MSK) issues stay in work.


Fund Value: £4,200,000
Min Value: £50,000

Value Notes

There is a total grant fund of £4.2m available.

The WHU expects to support around twenty different Initiatives (although the precise number will depend on the number and quality of proposals received). Applications must be for sums of at least £50,000.

Extended Description

The Work and Health Unit (WHU), which is jointly managed by the Department for Work and Pensions and the Department of Health and Social Care, is using a £4.2m Challenge Fund to test new approaches that can help people experiencing mental health and/or musculoskeletal (MSK) issues stay in work.

WHU are looking to fund around twenty Initiatives which will improve their understanding of what works in one or more of the following areas:

  • Helping people stay in work by increasing their ability to self-manage their conditions.
  • Helping people access advice and support about what sort of work they might be capable of doing given their wider needs and circumstances.
  • Developing new approaches to help employers and individuals develop workplace solutions, or ways of working that facilitate greater participation of people experiencing these conditions.
  • Improving systems by joining up services to strengthen communication, liaison or joint action.

It is hoped that the evidence gathered through the Challenge Fund will enable the WHU to develop and deliver policies that enable people with mental health and/or MSK conditions to stay in work, or reduce the incidence and average durations of long-term sickness absence from work.

Latest Information

The deadline for applications is 17 August 2018.

Key Criteria

Applications are invited from local/public authorities, the private sector (including employers and service providers) and third sector organisations.

Organisations can apply to carry out Initiatives in England, Scotland or Wales (or any combination of the three).

The WHU encourages partnerships and consortia to apply.

Eligability Expendeture

Applicants must be able to demonstrate that their proposed Initiative relates to one or more of these four broad areas.

  1. Self-management support
  2. Work capacity advice and support
  3. Adjustments to working environments
  4. Joining up services.

Initiatives will take place between October 2018 and February 2020, with all projects ending by 28 February 2020.

The Challenge Fund can be used for Initiatives which are:

  • Being set up from scratch, providing they can be fully set up and evaluated within the specified timescale
  • Are in development, but require funding to be completed
  • Have completed their development, but are yet to be implemented or tested
  • Require investment to be scaled up.


The Challenge Fund may not be used to fund the delivery of an existing service or an Initiative considered to be current business.

Addresses and contacts 

Application forms may be available on their website.


Contact details:
Challenge Fund Enquiries
Rocket Science
020 3291 1031
18001 plus 0345 4 10 20 30 (for those with a hearing or speech impairment)