Applicants are advised to read the application guidance closely before starting their application to the fund.

Download the complete guidance

What is social action?

Social action can broadly be defined as practical action in the service of others, and is:

  • more than traditional volunteering, including a wider range of practical actions in the service of others
  • carried out by individuals or groups of people working together
  • not mandated and not for profit
  • done for the good of others; individuals, communities and/or society
  • bringing about social change and/or value

Who can apply for the Fund?

Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprises (VCSEs) and local NHS/social care organisations can apply for the fund. To ensure effectiveness of service delivery and increase the likelihood of projects being sustained beyond 2015, we welcome joint bids from VCSEs and statutory sector partners. We also require bids to be backed by the relevant local Urgent Care Working Group(s).

How much money will be available through the Fund?

The total size of the fund available is £2million, up to £200,000 of which may be spent on evaluation.

We anticipate that the average grant size will be approximately £200,000, but in exceptional cases we will consider awarding funding up to £400,000.

Where is the money for the fund coming from?

£1 million is being provided by the Cabinet Office’s Centre for Social Action and £1 million is coming from the national ‘tripartite’ group (i.e. NHS England, Monitor and the NHS Trust Development Authority, working with the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services).

What will be funded?

Projects based in hospitals and/or in the community that use social action to provide extra support to older people and reduce pressure on hospitals. We are interested in projects which have the potential to positively impact on one or more of the following:

  • A&E attendance
  • emergency admissions to hospital
  • delayed discharges from hospital
  • emergency readmissions to hospital
  • patient satisfaction          

We want to provide funding to projects that: 

  • can mobilise/scale-up rapidly
  • can give us some confidence they will have the impact we’re looking for
  • can use our support to move from the margins to mainstream delivery
  • have volunteers as a core element for their delivery          

That means:

We are interested in funding projects that -

  • are building on an existing service or existing set-up work, for instance by scaling up the service to reach a larger group of people or operate across a larger geography 
  • are building on services with some promising indication of impact, or are innovations with a well-evidenced hypothesis for why such a service should work
  • are innovations or are building on small-scale existing services, and therefore have significant potential to be scaled up 
  • involve volunteers as a core element for delivery

We are unlikely to fund projects that -

  • cannot be set up in time to have an impact over winter 2014/15
  • have little evidence to back up the hypothesis that they will work
  • are already operating at scale in a mainstream way across the NHS

How do I apply?

Organisations can register their interest and check their eligibility for the fund now. To apply, organisations will need to download the application form and guidance and submit the completed form before the deadline.

When do I need to apply?

Organisations can apply until noon on Friday 13 June 2014.

How long is the funding for?

The funding will be from July 2014 to March 2015.

How many projects will be funded?

We’re planning to fund between 5 and 10 projects.

Will applicants need to bring match funding?

There will be a preference for applications with match funding from local partners but this is not a requirement.

Why does this only apply to England?

The Centre for Social Action is an Office for Civil Society (OCS) programme. OCS only funds activities which directly or indirectly benefit the whole or any or part of England (whether or not they also benefit any other area). Organisations with a wider impact outside England will be able to apply, provided they predominantly benefit England. OCS cannot fund projects that are purely beneficial to those outside England.

When will the money need to be spent?

The first tranche of money will go out in July 2014. All money is to be spent by the end of March 2015.

Can I bid for money to spend on staff (including clinical staff) and technology (like telehealth)? 

Yes - but we expect social action to be core to the service you are proposing, and the spending on clinical staff/technology to be integral to the expansion of the social action service you are proposing (as opposed to subsidising existing services/staff costs). There is also a £5,000 limit on capital spending. 

Should I include in my bid the costs of extra data collection on top of what the evaluator will do, or can I assume that will all be done by the evaluator?

A: The external evaluator will support successful bidders to design an evaluation for their project, and will take on the job of analysing the data related to successful projects. Wherever possible, the external evaluator will make use of existing administrative datasets held at a national level (e.g. by the Health and Social Care Information Centre), to minimise the burden of new data collection on individual projects. However, it is important for bidders to be clear that they themselves will be responsible for data collection at project level, NOT the evaluator, and they will need to ensure their bids cost for the capacity needed to do this. The external evaluator will work with bidders to clarify exactly what data will need collecting, but it is likely to include as a minimum information on the individuals helped through the project (e.g. name, date of birth), and potentially collection of feedback from those individuals (e.g. to help measure patient  experience)

State Aid

See our guidance on State Aid rules before you apply.

Get the application guidance 

Download the complete guidance document for the Social Action to Reduce Pressure on Hospitals Fund.