Funded by the DCMS (Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport), grants are available to combat isolation through volunteering in Fenland.

The initial Year 1 phase of this Fund has passed. Years 2 and 3 aim to increase regular volunteering and reduce chronic loneliness in the District of Fenland. Grants can be multi-year, but all funded activity must be complete by 31st March 2025. Evaluation is a key part of this fund and costs associated with evaluation time should be built into your budget breakdown. Please read this Evaluation Info for Applicants before applying. You can also find a webinar recording for applicants here.
Awards to be communicated at the end of June 2023 so projects should start from July 2023.

Key aims of the fund

  • To build the evidence to identify scalable and sustainable place-based interventions that work in increasing regular volunteering and reducing chronic loneliness.
  • To increase the number of people in Fenland who volunteer at least once a month.
  • To reduce the number of chronically lonely people in Fenland who lack desired level of social connections.
  • To enable the local voluntary and community sector in Fenland to implement sustainable systems and processes that encourage volunteering and tackle chronic loneliness.

It is not necessary for projects to focus on all four key objectives, but this will be considered during the assessment and decision-making process to ensure a good balance across the programme.


Applicants must demonstrate

  • How you will increase meaningful and impactful volunteering and support people to connect with others in their local area, reducing loneliness.
  • How you will increasing volunteer engagement and/or engaging those not currently participating in activities. This is a priority, and decision making will be based on this.
  • That you are not duplicating services with anyone else in the area.

Fund details

  • The funding is available for the whole District of Fenland.
  • Staff, evaluation and project management costs are eligible expenditure. Please see the tab below for further details.
Eligible groups

This fund is open to:

  • Registered charities, constituted community groups and other charitable organisations including Social Enterprises and CICs limited by guarantee in England.  
  • National organisations with local branches (with their own management committee and bank account) can apply.  
  • New organisations that can demonstrate they are financially robust.
  • Please check our How to Apply webpage for information about required documents.
Defining chronic loneliness

The fund aims to tackle chronic loneliness and people at risk of chronic loneliness, i.e. currently experiencing loneliness, or are in one of the high risk groups for chronic loneliness:

  • People who identify as LGBTQ+ 
  • Young people (16-24)
  • People who recently moved to their current address
  • People who live alone
  • People in the lowest income quintile
  • People with a mental health condition
  • People with a disability or long-term health condition
  • New parents
  • People who are unemployed
  • People who are widowed
  • Groups identified through local knowledge of chronic loneliness
Eligible expenditure

Projects that support the overall fund aims can be considered, including:

  • Extending the scope of an existing volunteering project
  • New volunteering activities
  • Research and mapping exercises
  • Feasibility studies
  • Strategic planning time
  • Staff or volunteer training
  • Pilot work

Eligible costs include:

  • Project running costs/overheads
  • Project evaluation
  • Additional staff time for existing posts
  • Small capital purchases
  • Goods and equipment which would not be capitalised (e.g. to develop an enhanced physical environment and continue to deliver services)
  • Hiring external expertise in working with volunteers
  • Administration costs (up to 6% of grant and should be broken down so costs can be identified and justified)


Reporting requirements
  • Monthly – financial reports.  
  • Quarterly – learnings reports to local evaluator.  
  • 6 monthly – impact monitoring using a Common Minimum and Outcomes Measurement Dataset.
  • 1 or 2 times a year – learnings workshop.
  • 1 or 2 times over 3 years – interviews.

In addition, you need to consider how you will:

  • ask participants to complete surveys or take part in interview/focus groups
  • provide space at your premises for a local evaluator to carry out work

Who can apply?
Not-for-profit organisations

Maximum grant

Eligible area

Applications open
Tuesday 2nd May 2023

Tuesday 30th May 2023, 11:59pm

Apply for a Grant