£2m in new funds to support volunteer-led programmes

Written by Matt Ritchie

Nesta and The Office for Civil Society have launched new volunteering funds worth £2m, to support early years development and improve the public’s money management skills.

The new funds aim to help scale existing volunteer-led initiatives like mentoring schemes or digital tools.

The Savers Support Fund offers four to six grants of between £150,000 and £250,000, to scale proven approaches to help people better manage money. Projects must work with families considered to be ‘just about managing’ and/or young people aged 14 to 25.

The Early Years Social Action Fund offers four to six grants of between £150,000 and £250,000, to help grow the reach and impact of existing volunteer led initiatives that support parents of 0 to 4-year-olds achieve their developmental milestones. Funded programmes must show evidence of existing impact and focus on families in need of support.

Announcing the funding, the OCS and Nesta said education department research shows 30 per cent of children in England are behind in development by age five. Figures from the Money Charity show about 16 million children across the UK have less than £100 in savings and owe more than £3,000, excluding mortgage repayments.

Minister for Civil Society Rob Wilson said volunteers are “invaluable”, and highlighted the support they provide communities.

”These latest funds will increase the numbers of volunteers even further, supporting more parents and helping adults and young people develop a positive relationship with managing money."

Vicki Sellick, a director at Nesta, highlighted the funds’ aims to mobilise thousands of volunteers.

“The innovations we back to grow through these new funds will make a lasting difference in improving the chances of pre-schoolers in succeeding and helping young people and adults in debt to learn lifelong habits of saving and money management.”

Today’s announcement follows the launch of four new funds for volunteers from Nesta and OCS last autumn. Worth £4.9m in total, the funds aim to boost volunteering among over 50s and grow the number of digital volunteers in schools. The first fund recipients will be announced in the coming weeks.

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