Three new reports on partnership working between faith and local government.

Funding: Comic Relief – UK Grant Programme

Application Deadline: 28th September 2012


Comic Relief awards grants for projects that will benefit refugees, the young, the elderly and the disadvantaged in a wide variety of relevant fields across the UK.

Value Notes

Grants on average vary between £25,000 and £40,000 and rarely exceed the upper limit.

Grants are available for between one and three years.

Under the Sport for Change Programme, grants of between £10,000 and £100,000 are available.

Under the Older People’s Programme ‘Managing Money Better’ grants of over £10,000 are available. There is no maximum amount.

Extended Description

Comic Relief was set up in 1985 to tackle poverty and promote social justice. This is achieved by raising funds and awareness, and allocating money donated by the public to charitable projects across the UK and in some of the poorest countries in the world, especially in Africa.

In the UK Comic Relief promote actions that will enable people to live free from poverty, with their rights and safety protected, their needs provided for and where they can contribute to the communities in which they live.

Grants are awarded under the following programmes.

  • Mental health.
  • Sport for change.
  • Older People’s Programme ‘Managing Money Better’.
  • Refugee and asylum seeking women.
  • Young People aged 11-25:

    • Young people and mental health.
    • Sexually exploited and trafficked young people.
    • Domestic and sexual abuse: young people.
    • Young people and alcohol.

Latest Information

Cycle Nine deadline for Sport for Change and Older People’s Programme ‘Managing Money Better’: 28 September 2012 (12 noon).

Cycle Nine deadline for Other UK Programmes (Young people and mental health, Sexually exploited and trafficked young people, Domestic and sexual abuse, Mental health, Young people and alcohol, Refugee and asylum-seeking women): 19 October 2012 (12 noon).

Key Criteria

Applications are accepted from the voluntary and community sector throughout the UK including:

  • Constituted voluntary and community groups.
  • Charities.
  • Social enterprises.
  • Cooperatives.
  • Faith organisations.
  • Community interest companies.

Eligible Expenditure

Comic Relief can give grants for running costs and capital costs. Running costs include: core costs, which form part of the basic running costs of an organisation; and project costs, which are the costs of carrying out a specific piece of work. Capital costs include: equipment costs; and building costs (a low priority and only funded in exceptional cases).

Listed below are details of the Comic Relief programmes, under which grants are available.

Mental Health

This programme aims to promote the rights and support the recovery of people who have mental health problems, and to help them feel more included in society. It also aims to reduce the stigma and discrimination faced by people with mental health problems.

Applications are encouraged from organisations using a variety of approaches including advocacy, the development of social enterprises, user or peer support groups and campaigning activities.

Comic Relief are especially keen to support work which addresses the needs and rights of people from communities who are often overlooked, such as those from Black and minority ethnic communities or older people.

Funding is available for work that delivers one or more of the following outcomes:

  • Greater involvement of people with mental health problems in decisions that affect their lives.
  • A reduction in stigma and discrimination, and a positive change in people’s attitudes towards mental health.
  • More inclusive and accessible mental health services and organisations, in particular, for people from black and minority ethnic communities.

Sport for Change

The aim of this programme is to understand more about how sport can: play a part in delivering positive change within the lives of individuals and communities; and be used to tackle identified social issues as part of a broader programme to achieve a measurable social change.

Broader programme means other activities that are seen as part of a coordinated approach to a social issue or concern that supports or links to sporting activity. This might be workshops, educational sessions, awareness raising, work experience, volunteering, or mentoring.

Funding is available for work that delivers one or more of the following outcomes:

  • An increased sense of inclusion and wellbeing for marginalised and disadvantaged people.
  • Greater community involvement.
  • An increased understanding of how sport can help bring about positive changes in the lives of individuals and communities.
  • Greater knowledge across the community and sports sectors about effective work which uses sport as a tool for social change.

Older People’s Programme ‘Managing Money Better’.

The programme will help older people (65+) cope with the challenges of this particularly harsh financial climate and the resultant exclusion and hardship it is causing.

The work will need to deliver one or more of the following outcomes for older people to:

  • Manage their money more effectively.
  • Increase their income.
  • Experience less fuel poverty.
  • Deal better with financial distress (such as abuse, scams and so on).

Applications must also meet the following criteria:

  • Older people have been involved in the design of the proposal and will be supporting their peers who are less active.
  • There are strategic partnership approaches already in place with voluntary, private and public organisations and local people of all ages at the time of application.
  • New approaches are being tested and disseminated.
  • The most isolated older people and those who are traditionally hard to reach or live in the poorest and most deprived areas are being targeted.

Priority will be given to projects that are being developed in partnership with voluntary sector organisations and banks, building societies, credit unions, energy companies and others to recognise and respond better to the needs of older people and to ensure continuity at the end of the project period. Partner organisations that are simply providing referrals to each other will not be considered as strategic partners for the purpose of this programme.

Refugee and Asylum Seeking Women

This programme aims to provide support for refugee and asylum seeking women who have experienced rape, torture and other forms of violence in their home countries. Comic Relief are especially keen to make sure that women get the help they need in making their claims for asylum, and also get access to emotional and practical services they need to help rebuild their lives.

There are two strands to the programme:

  • Crisis Support: funding support services for refugee and asylum-seeking women that help them cope with the trauma they have experienced; this could include counselling or group work, legal support that recognises past trauma and enables women to disclose the full stories behind their asylum claims and health initiatives that help women with the impact of trauma on their mental and physical wellbeing.
  • Training: funding work to develop training and support packages that improve and embed knowledge and practice about how to work with this vulnerable group of women. Training can be targeted at refugee or mainstream organisations.

Funding is available for work that delivers one or more of the following outcomes:

  • Refugee and asylum-seeking women will feel more able to cope with the trauma they have experienced.
  • Women will get the specialist support they need to make successful applications for asylum around rape, violence and torture.
  • Organisations will have increased knowledge of the needs of vulnerable refugee and asylum seeking women and be able to meet their needs more effectively.

Young People and Mental Health

This programme aims to support work with young people aged 11-25 with current mental health problems.

There are two strands to the programme:

  • Services for young people – funding support services and approaches that help young people experiencing mental health problems make positive changes in their lives. Funding is available for interventions which directly relate to young people’s existing and identifiable mental health problems. This could include individual counselling, group work or peer support. Applications providing support in settings where young people feel comfortable and won’t fear being labelled or stigmatised are particularly welcomed.
  • Training – funding projects that ensure those working with young people with mental health problems, including youth workers, have access to good quality training to improve their skill base and confidence levels.

Funding is available for work that delivers one or more of the following outcomes:

  • Increased access to appropriate services for young people with mental health problems, resulting in improved mental health.
  • A greater understanding and specialist skill base amongst people who work with young people with mental health needs.

Sexually Exploited and Trafficked Young People

This programme aims to reduce harm to young people aged 11 to 25 years of age who have been sexually exploited or trafficked. Funding is available for a wide variety of work, including:

  • Direct services for young people which meet both immediate and longer term needs, especially in areas where there are no services or which are aimed at young people who are poorly served (eg young men, minority ethnic groups).
  • Prevention work.
  • Training for workers and professionals.
  • Work that raises awareness of the issues surrounding sexual exploited and trafficked young people.

Funding is available for work that delivers one or more of the following outcomes:

  • Fewer young people will be sexually exploited or trafficked.
  • More sexually exploited and/or trafficked young people and those at risk will know their rights, understand their situation and/or have access to the help and support they need.
  • More sexually exploited and/or trafficked young people will have increased choice to make positive decisions about their futures.

Domestic and Sexual Abuse: Young People

This programme aims to fund work to support young survivors of domestic and sexual abuse aged 11-25 years.

The Comic Relief definition of ‘young survivors’ includes young people who have grown up in homes where they have witnessed violence and harm, and young people directly affected by abuse caused by a family member, by an outsider such as a stranger or family friend, or as a result of their own dating experiences.

There are two strands to the programme:

  • Crisis Support: funding direct services for young survivors that help them to cope with the harm they have experienced and support them in building safer futures by increasing their understanding of abuse and their resilience to it. This could include services such as counselling, advocacy and group work.
  • Young Voices: funding work that helps young people to heal through having a voice. This could include setting up a new survivors group or support for an existing group. Support is also available for work which aims to build networks of young survivors who can speak out to policy makers, planners and the sector, so that their views and voices are directly heard.

Funding is available for work that delivers one or more of the following outcomes:

  • Young survivors aged 11-25 feel that support services have helped them to cope and improve their mental and emotional well being.
  • Young survivors aged 11-25 feel that support services have helped to keep them safe and increase their resilience against future harm.
  • Young survivors aged 11-25 feel that having a voice and hearing from fellow survivors has helped to progress their healing process.
  • Policy makers and planners are more aware of the needs of young survivors.

Young People and Alcohol

This programme aims to fund work for young people aged 11-25 years who are misusing alcohol or drinking excessively.

Funding is available for services that aim to reduce the levels of young people’s drinking, create greater awareness of the dangers of harmful drinking and provide direct support to them. This could include individual and/or group work sessions or street-based outreach. Applications for work targeting young people who traditionally find it hard to access services, such as those from black and minority ethnic communities and young women are particularly welcomed.

Funding is available for work that delivers one or more of the following outcomes:

  • A reduction in alcohol consumption by young people.
  • Increased access to help for young people who have alcohol problems, leading to a reduction in harm.
  • Closer working relationships between alcohol and young people’s services.
  • An increase in relevant skills to deliver services targeted at young people who have alcohol problems.

Match Funding Restrictions

Applications can be made for all or some of the project costs, but applicants are encouraged to get some funding from other sources.

Comic Relief will not generally fund the full cost of applications made by charities with an annual income over £10 million.


The following are ineligible for funding:

  • Individuals.
  • Medical research or hospitals.
  • Churches or other religious bodies where the monies will be used for religious purposes.
  • Work where there is statutory responsibility to provide funding.
  • Projects where the work has already taken place.
  • Statutory bodies, such as local authorities and Primary Care Trusts, or organisations seeking funding to replace cuts by statutory bodies.
  • Profit-making organisations, except social enterprise.
  • Organisations with 'free' (unrestricted or designated) reserves of more than one year’s running costs.
  • Minibuses.
  • Under the Mental Health Programme:

    • Therapeutic interventions, such as counselling.
    • Helplines.
    • Services for carers, people with learning disabilities or dementia.
  • Under the Refugee and Asylum Seeking Women Programme:

    • Integration work for refugee and asylum seekers.
    • Job-seeking programmes, volunteering initiatives, and befriending schemes to alleviate isolation.
  • Under the Young People and Mental Health Programme:

    • Work seeking to improve young people’s general wellbeing.
    • Projects for young people with learning disabilities, autism or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), unless they are supporting these young people with mental health issues.
    • Prevention projects targeting those at risk of developing mental health problems.
    • Projects dealing with young people’s general emotional wellbeing.
  • Under the Domestic and Sexual Abuse: Young People Programme:

    • Work with children under the age of 11 years.
    • Preventative awareness raising work.

Application Procedure

Initial applications must be made via the online 'Grant Management System'.

Full applications are by invitation only.

Addresses and contacts

For further information on how to obtain this funding opportunity locally, please contact the following:

Contact details:
UK Grants Team Comic Relief
1st Floor
89 Albert Embankment
020 7820 2000
This article has been taken from Funding Central – www.fundingcentral.org.uk