Local Connections Fund Guidelines 

Round 1 of this programme is now closed, but the second round of applications will open on 28 June 2021.

Round 2 will focus on:

  • activities that physically bring people together in a safe and secure way
  • remote activities (when this is the best or only way for people to build connections) – for example, remote activities may benefit people who are geographically isolated, people with illnesses or disabilities, or those who are not quite ready to meet people in face-to-face settings
  • helping individuals to get out of the ‘lockdown mentality’ and meet people in their communities again
  • helping organisations who work to reduce loneliness restart their activities – for example, cleaning and refreshing meeting spaces or refreshing materials, and ensuring equipment is ready to be used.

The Local Connections Fund is a £4 million fund to help charities and community groups in England that are working to reduce loneliness by helping them build connections across their communities.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) and The National Lottery Community Fund are investing £2 million each.

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.

Two rounds of funding

The Local Connections Fund will be split into two equal rounds of funding. DCMS provided the first £2 million round of funding – which will be distributed by The National Lottery Community Fund.

The second round of funding is being provided by The National Lottery Community Fund and will launch in the summer of 2021. If you’ve received funding in the first round, you will not be eligible for funding in the second round.

Grants from the first round of funding strengthened and developed small and micro organisations that connect communities together and reduce loneliness.

What the funding’s for?

The funding will help to bring people together in safe and secure ways – including by covering the costs of technologies and equipment that will help people feel more connected within their communities.

Funding can also be used to help strengthen organisations and their services through, for example, training and development.

People understand what’s needed in their communities better than anyone. They know that different groups within different communities have different needs and so will need different levels of support. So they want to hear directly from organisations as to 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. But 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 local charities and grassroots 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 phase 1 – successful applicants must spend their grants and have completed their projects by 31 March 2021

Find out the full details for the next phase of the funding programme and how to apply here Local Connections Fund – Round 1 | The National Lottery Community Fund (tnlcommunityfund.org.uk)