Today the Cabinet Office has announced a new £10 million fund to help increase volunteering and charitable giving.

The fund focuses on new technologies and networks that make it easier for people to help each other. All part of the Big Society that everyone has been intrigued, sceptical and occasionally excited about. The money hopes to help people find out about more opportunities and make it easier for them to give up their time or money for charitable causes and in turn increase the action behind this Big Society they keep talking about.

The first round of the fund is split into two sections

  • Approximately 20 pots of up to £50,000 for organisations to back new innovations to potentially engage hundreds of thousands of people over time
  •  Around 15 pots of £50,000 to £150,000 for projects that have proven track records and have the potential to be scaled, replicated or adapted to increase impact.

All applications must take note of the five main criteria; impact, innovation, sustainability, openness and capacity and be focused on ‘increasing giving and exchange of time, assets, skills, resources and money in England.’

Check out the call for ideas for further information. Deadline for submissions October 14th

So is this what we need? Are the Government doing the third sector proud? 

Well, it is better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick or so the saying goes, but is more innovation what the sector needs right now?

Yet again charities will be changing and moulding their current projects to try and make them fit into what the funding says they should be fitting into, rather than being able to fund already successful projects. The many charities, community projects and local groups that have lost their funding to cover basic roles won’t be back in action and instead, perhaps a new set of charities will emerge that will then go under again in a few years time when this splash of funding runs out?

Will these ‘new’, ‘innovative’ projects not just be reinventing the wheel anyway, putting a new name, writing new project descriptions and buying new stationary for a project that was running well last year but then ran out of funding got thrown in the bin, only to picked back up again next year spending half the time and money doing what someone else already did?

I support innovation don’t get me wrong and I am sure some inspirational projects will come out of this but is it the best way to spend £10 million?

There will soon be more information announced on the £24 million Social Impact Fund, fingers crossed for something useful, needed and not just reinventing the wheel.

Find more information about the new funding here:

http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/news/%C2%A310m-back-big-society-innovators

http://www.nesta.org.uk/home1/assets/features/innovation_in_giving_fund

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