Earlier this year, we announced a new £2m partnership with Government to fund projects looking to expand or enhance their work tackling youth loneliness – the Building Connections Fund Youth strand.

Part of the wider £11.5m Building Connections Fund, our youth-specific strand offered eligible applicants up to £80,000 for projects looking 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.

The response to this fund has been exceptional.

We’ve received more than 800 applications, which far exceeds the number of projects we can fund. In fact, the response means we would have to reject more than 95% of all applications. Many of these are very high quality and commit to working with young people to design projects that tackle youth loneliness. This is an integral part of how Belong works, utilising our value of Democracy to ensure young people with first-hand experience of loneliness have a say in projects that create change.

What’s happening now?

Thanks to the high volume of applications we received, we’ve successfully secured an additional £1.5m from Government for 2018/19 to extend the Building Connections Fund Youth strand for existing applicants. This is split up as follows:

  • Up to £450,000 for organisations to work with young people to explore youth loneliness in depth and co-design improvements to existing projects. We will be offering grants of up to £10,000 to some organisations that scored highly in their existing application but, due to the very competitive field, will not receive full, multi-year funding. The remaining £50,000 of funding will be spent on programme management and evaluation.
  • Up to £1m for organisations to pilot innovative approaches to maximise underused community spaces that help improve access for young people – this helps make immediate progress on the commitments announced in the Government’s Loneliness Strategy. We will be offering grants of up to £10,000 to some organisations that scored highly on their commitment to work closely with young people to build their project.

Extending the Building Connections Fund Youth strand in this way means we can fund up to an additional 145 applicants. This will help vastly improve our understanding of youth loneliness, strengthen local youth services and far exceed our Belong target of supporting  5,000 young people.

Thank you for applying

We’re encouraged that so many youth organisations recognise the importance of working with young people to tackle loneliness and thank all organisations who applied to the original Building Connections Fund Youth strand.

We’ve contacted all organisations whose original assessment scores made them eligible for the additional funding to request further information about their projects. We will review these applications further based on the information we receive.

Decisions on all awarded funding will be made in December.


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