New funds aimed at encouraging volunteers

A new £2 million fund is to be made available to help fund volunteer programmes which benefit early years development and money management skills.

Independent charity, Nesta, which encourages innovation within the UK, has joined forces with the Civil Society to launch the two new funds, which are aimed at helping existing volunteer-led programmes to increase their offering.

The Savers Support Fund offers four to six grants worth between £150,000 and £250,000, to projects which help people to better manage their money. To qualify, charities must work with families who are deemed to be ‘just about managing’ – otherwise known as JAMs -and/or young people aged 14 to 25.

The second tranche of money, the Early Years Social Action Fund, will similarly provide 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.’

Explaining the reasoning behind the new funding, Nesta and the OCS point to research conducted by the Department for Education. Findings show that 30 per cent of children in England are behind in development by age five.

Meanwhile, data from The Money Charity, which tracks the UK’s financial capability, reveals that an estimated 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: “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, commented: “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.”

The two new funds announced this month follow four similar funds for volunteers announced last year, worth a total of £4.9million, which aim to support volunteering amongst the over 50s and digital volunteers in schools. It is expected that the first recipients of these funds will be announced shortly.

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