Thriving Communities Fund


Grants for local voluntary, community, faith and social enterprise projects that bring together place-based partnerships to improve and increase the range and reach of available social prescribing community activities – especially for those people most impacted by COVID-19 and health inequalities.

Maximum value:  £ 50,000

Objectives of Fund

The funding is for activities that will increase social connectedness and help communities cope with the impact of the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic.

The funded projects will work with the communities most affected by the pandemic, including Black, Asian and ethnically diverse communities, and will help to:

  • Strengthen the range of social prescribing activities offered locally
  • Enhance collaboration and networking between local organisations
  • Enable social prescribing link workers to connect people to more creative community activities and services.

Value Notes

A total of £1.4 million is available.

Grants range from £25,000 to £50,000.

Funded activity must take place between March 2021 and March 2022.

Match Funding Restrictions

Match funding of 20% is required.

This could include NHS partners (Clinical Commissioning Groups, Primary Care Networks, Integrated Care Systems); local government; other trusts and foundations; philanthropy or corporate social responsibility; or a wide range of other possibilities.

In-kind contributions can include support provided by partners, in addition to cash match – such as staff time, venue hire, project materials and equipment and online services.

Who Can Apply

Applications can be led by voluntary, community, faith and social enterprise (VCSFE) organisations working in any of the following sectors:

  • Arts, and culture, including libraries, museums and heritage
  • Sport, leisure and physical activity organisations
  • Financial wellbeing, advice, food and practical support
  • Environment and nature-based organisations
  • Non-statutory health and care organisations, working with social prescribing link workers

These organisations may be registered charities, community interest companies, co-operative societies or community benefit societies.

A key part of each funded project will be to bring together the necessary place-based partners to work together across all these sectors to plan and deliver community activity.

To be eligible, applicants must:

  • Demonstrate a commitment to work with partner organisations from all of the above sectors in the course of the funded period.
  • Evidence the commitment of three core partner organisations – including at least one partner organisation from the arts and culture sector – at the point the application is made.
  • Provide 20% match funding.
  • Provide a statement of support from the relevant social prescribing link worker(s) for the geographical location of the proposal. This ensures that social prescribing link workers can connect people to the community activities being funded.


The following are not eligible for funding:

  • For profit organisations.
  • Statutory agencies
  • Individuals.
  • Smaller, unincorporated organisations. (They can be part of project partnerships but cannot be the lead applicant).
  • Projects that do not include activities that support communities impacted by COVID-19.
  • Applications which do not demonstrate the required partnerships specified
  • Proposals that do not demonstrate a plan to engage the full range of specified sectors
  • Activities (including buying goods or services) that have started, been bought, ordered or contracted before a decision is made about the application.
  • Costs that are already paid for by other income including applicant’s own funds or any other funding
  • Capital (building and equipment purchase) costs
  • Salaried posts (though additional time-limited staff costs relevant to the delivery of the project can be included)
  • Costs related to the promotion of the beliefs of political or faith organisations
  • Any other non-project-specific costs.

Eligible Expenditure

The funding can be used to support partnership development, research and planning activities, and delivery of public-facing community activities.

Projects will run for a year including planning and delivery time. They are expected to commence on 15 March 2021 and end on 31 March 2022.

Funded projects are expected to increase and improve community activities and support for people impacted by coronavirus/COVID-19, by developing partnerships across all of the following local sectors:

  • Arts, and culture, including libraries, museums and heritage
  • Sport, leisure and physical activity organisations
  • Financial wellbeing, advice, food and practical support
  • Environment and nature-based organisations
  • Health care agencies, including social prescribing link workers

Partnerships will plan and deliver a programme of community activities. These will enable people to engage in positive activities including the arts and creativity, sport and physical activity, and connection to nature. They will also support people to deal with practical issues (such as food and debt), and to build confidence and social connections.

How To Apply

Applications will be accepted from Monday 23 November 2020 until 12pm (midday) on Friday, 8 January 2021. Decisions will be made in mid March 2021.

The guidelines are currently available on the Arts Council England website.

The application process is as follows:

  • Groups must set up a profile on Grantium (Arts Council England’s application portal) in order to access the online application form.
  • Arts Council England must approve the applicant profile, and this can take up to five working days. The cut off date to submit an application profile for validation is 12pm (midday) on 4 January 2021.

Arts Council England will be closed from Thursday 24 December 2020 until Monday, 4 January 2021 and will be unable to answer any queries during this time.

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