• The £2 million Youth strand of the Building Connections Fund is now closed. 

Charities and community organisations across England can now apply for a share of more than £11 million to tackle loneliness.

Part of this Building Connections Fund, announced last month by Prime Minister Theresa May, will be distributed by the Big Lottery Fund to projects tackling loneliness across all ages. This fund opened on 16 July 2018 and has now closed to applications.

The remaining £2 million of this fund will be distributed here at the Co-op Foundation to support projects that tackle youth loneliness specifically. Grants of up to £80,000 will be available and applications opened on 15 August. Please note, this fund has now closed to applications. 

Is your project eligible for youth strand funding?

Successful applicants to the youth strand of the Building Connections Fund will be charitable or community organisations already working to tackle youth loneliness.

We will be specifically looking to fund those organisations that benefit young people in one or more of the following circumstances:

  • Young carers
  • Unemployed or precariously employed
  • Experiencing bereavement
  • With a disability or long-term health condition
  • Have been in the care system
  • Live within the most deprived 30% of areas in England.

If your project meets one or more of these 6 criteria, you might be best suited to apply to the youth strand when this opens in August.

Update: Please note, this fund has now closed to applications.

What can the money be spent on?

Successful applicants to the youth strand will receive funding to explore youth loneliness in greater depth, test youth-led innovations within their existing provision, and share their learning as part of our national ‘Belong’ network.

Grants of up to £80,000 will be offered as follows:

  • Up to £10,000 (to be spent between December 2018 and March 2019) to engage young people in co-designing innovations to improve the impact of existing provision on tackling loneliness
  • Up to £70,000 (to be spent between April 2019 and March 2021) to implement and evaluate these innovations.

Projects funded through our youth strand will also participate in the wider Building Connections Fund evaluation.

Why youth loneliness?

Youth loneliness is widespread but not widely understood.

The Co-op Foundation has been focusing on this issue for the past 18 months, ever since Co-op research revealed that young people feel lonely more often than other age group. We recognised that, despite its prevalence, there had been limited efforts to understand in depth how loneliness affected young people, and what would help them.

We now fund projects across the UK that help young people come together to combat loneliness.



Terri Fletcher · 23rd July 2018 at 12:44 pm

Do you know what the age range of the youth loneliness funding will be? we work with 8 – 13 year olds.

    Co-op Foundation · 13th August 2018 at 11:32 am

    HI Terri, we don’t have a set age range but as a guide we’d expect project to be working with young people aged between 8 and 25. Hope that helps. Good luck!

Alex Dobinson · 26th July 2018 at 3:29 pm

If an organisation works with young people in all the categories above and plus other young people who are isolated such as those suffering from high anxiety or social skills problems can they still apply for this funding?

    Co-op Foundation · 13th August 2018 at 11:34 am

    Hi Alex. There will be a bit more detail on eligibility in the full application guidance which we’ll publish on Wednesday when the fund opens. If anything is still unclear after that, you can contact us with any questions at foundation@coop.co.uk.

The Breverton Group · 30th July 2018 at 12:25 am

We are the Breverton Group Lytham ST Anne’s a not for profit community group
We support profoundly disabled young adults in our area by providing a disco once a month where they can meet and we also take them out cycling with a friend or carer to give them the chance to meet people
These young adults are very isolated. There are few places they can go because of lack of changing places or facilities suitable for their disabilities
Please could you send us details of your youth loneliness project as we feel our group is eligible for this grant
Many thanks
Anna Hoyle.

    Co-op Foundation · 8th August 2018 at 4:36 pm

    Hi Anna, our new fund for youth loneliness project will open next week and we will publish full application guidance here on the blog which should give you all the information you need to apply. Good luck!

    Co-op Foundation · 13th August 2018 at 11:35 am

    Hi Anna, the fund will open for applications on Wednesday and we’ll publish full application guidance then too. That should help you to see if your group is eligible and if this fund is a good fit for you. If you have any other questions you can contact us as foundation@coop.co.uk.

Jeff Stafford · 30th July 2018 at 7:10 pm

My organisation supports young people who are on the Autistic spectrum and meet 3 of the criteria above ie. unemployed or precariously employed, have a disability (ASD) and have a long-term health condition.

We would be interested in learning more about the “youth strand” of the “Building Connections Fund”.

Thank you.

    Co-op Foundation · 8th August 2018 at 4:34 pm

    Hi Jeff, the youth strand will be opening next week and we’ll publish more detailed guidance about the fund then. If you subscribe to the blog then you’ll get a notification when we open the fund for applications.

    Co-op Foundation · 13th August 2018 at 11:37 am

    Hi Jeff, applications for funding will open on Wednesday and we will also publish full application guidance which should give you all the information that you need about the youth strand. If anything is still unclear or you want to ask any questions after you’ve seen the guidelines, you can get in touch at foundation@coop.co.uk.

Emma Graciet · 8th August 2018 at 2:52 pm


Are applications open and, if so, how can we apply?


    Co-op Foundation · 8th August 2018 at 4:30 pm

    Hi Emma, no applications are not open yet. They will open next week – we will announce here on the blog when we are accepting applications. Good luck!

Troy Tanska · 8th August 2018 at 7:17 pm

We’re just starting work developing a radio project bringing young people from a range of backgrounds, including disadvantage indicators above, together and helping young people in Bristol connect better with each other and services. Young people tell us this is a good way to help inclusion and combat loneliness and poor mental health. Would this be a good fund to apply to – or should we apply to the main fund?


Basement Studio

    Co-op Foundation · 9th August 2018 at 9:21 am

    Hi Troy, yes you would be able to apply to our fund for this as long as you work with young people meeting the eligibility criteria listed above. You can email us at foundation@coop.co.uk with any other questions. Good luck!

Sarah · 13th August 2018 at 10:25 am

I am part of a youth service in Trowbridge and would like to apply for this funding how do I find the application, I am signed up to the blog and what is the deadline for this funding?

    Co-op Foundation · 13th August 2018 at 11:30 am

    Hi Sarah,

    Applications to the fund will open on Wednesday. We’ll post on the blog when it opens and the full application guidelines will be published there too. We’ll be accepting applications for a 6 week period, and the deadline will be the end of September. Good luck!

Lynette Charles · 14th August 2018 at 9:59 pm

We work with young people from three of those categories so looking forward to hear more about this fund and how we can reach more young people

    Co-op Foundation · 15th August 2018 at 8:01 am

    Hi Lynette, our fund is now open for applications. For full guidance and how to apply, see our latest blog post. If you have any questions you can get in touch at foundation@coop.co.uk.

Leave a Reply

Your e-mail address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: