Smart Thinking

Social Action Fund Round 1 Recipients

An overview of the recipients of round 1 funding from the Social Action Fund – a key Big Society initiative in the UK.

The Social Action Fund is a key enabler of the UK government’s Big Society agenda.

The Big Society, Jesse Norman

It will be apportioned in two rounds (of £10m each). Its purpose is to target projects providing long term increases in giving, in either:

  • time – volunteering, time-banking
  • resources – money, property, fixed assets or equipment

Social Action Fund Round 1 Recipients

The round 1 recipients are:

Organisation Grant Awarded
StreetGames UK £754,411
Hastings Trust £269,199
Primetimers £134,999
Catch22 Charity Limited £897,940
Sandwell Council for Voluntary Organisations £145,273
Community Foundation Network £959,400
Teach First £201,414
Spice Innovations £547,634
Cathedral Archer Project Limited £105,000
National Children’s Bureau £2,000,000
Anne Frank Trust UK £241,428
Citizenship Foundation – Go-Givers £200,000
Environmental Vision £381,489
Beatbullying Limited £1,328,544
Citizenship Foundation – Giving Nation £300,000
The Challenge Network £963,733

Table 1 – Social Action Fund Round 1 Recipients


The following snippets are from each recipient’s website. It gives a sense of areas of interest, expertise and commonality.

Building Social Business: The New Kind of Capitalism that Serves Humanity’s Most Pressing Needs

The key themes for this funding round are visualised in Figure 1.

Social Action Fund Ecosystem

Figure 1 – Themes within the Social Action Fund ‘ecosystem’ 

The Social Entrepreneur’s Playbook, Expanded Edition: Pressure Test, Plan, Launch And Scale Your Social Enterprise

1. Street Games UK

StreetGames is a sports charity that changes lives and communities. We do it by supporting a network of projects which give sports and volunteering opportunities to young people in disadvantaged communities across the UK. Doorstep sport is StreetGames’ delivery method, whereby we bring sport close to the home in disadvantaged communities at the right time, for the right price, to the right place and in the right style.

2. Hastings Trust

The Hastings Trust, a registered charity, has these aims:
– To enable those who live in, work in or visit Hastings to protect and enhance their environment
– To promote and assist the sustainable economic and cultural development of Hastings and its inhabitants
– To promote and disseminate good practice in conservation and community regeneration locally, regionally, nationally and globally

3. Primetimers

As a social enterprise ourselves, we really understand the problems of other civil society organisations and know that getting the best results depends on you seeing us as a flexible extension of your organisation.

We will work with you on issues as diverse as income generation, mergers and acquisitions, governance, tender responses or change management. We have specialists in HR, finance and marketing and our members have held significant leadership and management roles in some of the UK’s largest companies. Our strong reputation is founded on our ability to deliver practical and innovative support – a fusion of our considerable breadth of business experience with our depth of knowledge about civil society.

4. Catch22 Charity Limited

Catch22 is a local charity with a national reach. We work with young people and others who find themselves in seemingly impossible situations.

Our services help them develop the confidence and skills to find solutions that are right for them- whether it’s getting back into school or training, choosing to stay out of trouble, finding a safe place to live or helping them to live independently after leaving care or custody. As young people become more positive, productive and independent, the whole community benefits.

We believe every young person deserves the chance to get on in life. No matter what.

5. Sandwell Council for Voluntary Organisations

SCVO is an independent charitable organisation which believes that the lives of Sandwell people will be happier and healthier where the Voluntary and Community Sector works closely with partners to identify and satisfy community needs.

Our Aims:

– Bring together local voluntary and community groups to promote and develop the effectiveness of local voluntary action.

– Raise the quality of and provide a wide range of services, information, advice and support to the voluntary and community sector.

– Act as a channel for local groups to voice their opinions on local, regional and national issues and policy.

– Identify real needs and develop services/initiatives to meet these needs.

– Actively support the development of new and emerging groups and organisations.

– Contribute to bringing about positive change in Sandwell to achieve sustainable economic regeneration.

6. Community Foundation Network

Community Foundation Network (CFN) is a registered charity that leads a movement of community foundations committed to positive social change in the UK through the development of “community philanthropy”.

7. Teach First

Teach First’s mission is to address educational disadvantage by transforming exceptional graduates into effective, inspirational teachers and leaders in all fields.

Educational disadvantage remains one of the most destructive and pervasive problems in the UK – perpetuating inequality and confining thousands of young people up and down the country to a life of unrealised potential.

8. Spice Innovations

Spice is a social enterprise that develops agency time-banking systems for communities and public services that engage and empower the many rather than the few.

Community decline and civic disengagement is not confined to the old mining towns in the South Wales valleys, it’s a national trend. Spice has developed agency time credit applications to engage people in the design and delivery of their public and community services and to support people to take a more active role in their communities. Whether that is with pupils in schools, tenants in housing associations or local people working with their community anchor organisation, these time agency tools increase active engagement, reduce dependency and build community and individual esteem.

9. Cathedral Archer Project Limited

The Cathedral Archer Project (CAP) is a day centre that supports the homeless and vulnerable in Sheffield.  It was founded in 1990 as a breakfast project.  In 2007 CAP moved into purpose built premises in the heart of the city centre at Sheffield Cathedral.

CAP works with the homeless and vulnerable in Sheffield to help them find pathways away from homelessness and exclusion. Homelessness can include sleeping rough, occasional hostel spaces, camping on friends’ floors and sofas, and squatting. The majority of our client base is made up of street drinkers, alcoholics and drug users of varying levels.  Many are not registered with a local GP and rely on the prescribing nurse at CAP for their medical support.

10. National Children’s Bureau

NCB is the leading national charity which supports children, young people and families and those who work with them. Our vision is a society in which children and young people are valued, their rights respected and responsibilities enhanced; our mission, to advance the well-being of children and young people across every aspect of their lives.

We undertake around 60 projects each year to improve the lives of children, especially the most vulnerable. We ensure that children, young people and families are at the heart of all our work.

11. Anne Frank Trust UK

The Anne Frank Trust UK draws on the power of Anne Frank’s life and diary to challenge prejudice and reduce hatred, encouraging people to embrace positive attitudes, responsibility and respect for others. We aim to do this through our educational projects, operating across the country in schools, prisons and communities.

12. Citizenship Foundation – Go-Givers

We are an independent education and participation charity. We encourage and enable people to engage in democratic society.

Founded in 1989, we focus on developing young people’s citizenship skills and their knowledge and understanding of the law, democracy and public life.

Our work involves:

– championing civic participation;

supporting teachers, schools and colleges in delivering citizenship education;

– working with young people in community-settings on issues that concern them.

13. Environmental Vision

Our programmes provide hands-on support for young people in schools and colleges on issues relating to citizenship education, sustainable development and the local community.

We have a wealth of experience working with groups of young people to facilitate practical projects that have a positive impact on the young people, their schools and the wider community.

We also provide Active Citizenship Workshops for higher education institutions and INSET days for teachers as well as working with businesses and community partners to support young people in building their employability skills and confidence.

14. Beatbullying Limited

Beatbullying is the UK’s leading bullying prevention charity, creating a world where bullying, violence and harassment are unacceptable. Beatbullying empowers people to understand, recognise, and say no to bullying, violence and harassment by giving them the tools to transform their lives and the lives of their peers. Working with families, schools, and communities to understand the problem, campaign for change and provide a sustainable efficient and proven solution.

15. Citizenship Foundation – Giving Nation

We are an independent education and participation charity. We encourage and enable people to engage in democratic society.

Founded in 1989, we focus on developing young people’s citizenship skills and their knowledge and understanding of the law, democracy and public life.

Our work involves:

– championing civic participation;

supporting teachers, schools and colleges in delivering citizenship education;

– working with young people in community-settings on issues that concern them.

16. The Challenge Network

The Challenge brings young people together from diverse backgrounds and throws them in at the deep end. They take on physical, social and civic challenges that prepare them to design and deliver a project that will make a difference in their community. Along the way they learn key skills such as teamwork, leadership and communication, and are encouraged to develop trust in others, responsibility for themselves, understanding and empathy.

Social Action Fund Innovation Network

The Social Action Fund is very important and demonstrates commitment from government. Looking back at Figure 1 – there are clearly significant areas of common interest, for example in tolerance (bullying, multiculturalism), education, citizenship, localism, social enterprise, civic engagement. It would be a ‘shame’ if this commonality was not formally recognised and encouraged in the creation of a Social Action Fund Innovation Network.

Inside Social Enterprise: Looking to the Future

Essentially I see:

  1. An opportunity for government to stimulate efforts across what is (at the very least) an implicit social action ecosystem. The 16 charities above could be the vanguard of Social Action Fund collaboration
  2. Potential for a ‘smart cluster’ approach – e.g. shared services, shared networks, innovations, idea sharing, mentoring, expertise pooling
  3. Potential for the social enterprises created out of Social Action Fund grants to become part of the ecosystem and hence add to its scale
  4. Potential for more joint working, cost sharing, and participating in each others projects.

Government or a social enterprise could invest seed money and expertise to set this up.

There seems to be an opportunity for Spice Innovations and Primetimers to take coordination roles. SCVO and CFN already operate as ‘aggregators’ or ‘hubs’ for others – why not apply the same thinking to tranche 1 and 2 recipients of the Social Action Fund? Could more be achieved ‘together’?

Further Reading on Social Enterprise

By Steve Nimmons

Steve is a Certified European Engineer, Chartered Engineer, Chartered Fellow of the British Computer Society, Fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology, Royal Society of Arts, Linnean Society and Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. He is an Electric Circle Patron of the Royal Institution of Great Britain, a Liveryman and Freeman of London and serves on numerous industry panels. He is a member of Chatham House, the Royal United Services Institute and the Chartered Institute of Journalists.

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