Headlines: February 25th, 2013

The Cabinet Office has announced the launch in April 2013 of a Centre for Social Action. It will support organisations who want to mobilise people to take part in social action.

Planned investments for the centre include Join In, capitalising on the Olympic Legacy for volunteering in sports, and the Dementia Friends campaign launched by the Prime Minister, which seeks to train one million volunteers to support people with dementia.

Within the Centre for Social Action, Nesta, the UK’s innovation foundation, will run a new Innovation Fund, extending its existing work and support of innovative social action initiatives. The Centre for Social Action’s Innovation Fund will be backed by £10m from the Cabinet Office and £4m from Nesta. It will provide financial and non-financial support to help grow the impact of innovations that harness the capabilities, expertise and resourcefulness of citizens and civil society.

Nesta currently supports organisations meeting social challenges with funding from the Innovation in Giving Fund with Cabinet Office backing. Five projects will get continued backing from the Innovation in Giving Fund. These include Volunteers, Care4Care a membership organisation where members spend a few hours a week supporting an older person in their local community. Tyze: an online tool that enables a network to organise support for people with care needs, bringing together family, community, friends and professionals. Good Gym the service that makes it easy for people to combine exercise with doing good in their local community. Apps for Good is a highly successful technology education programme that uses volunteers to help teach young people how to build mobile and Facebook apps to solve real life problems. Inspiring the Future is a free service which matches state schools with people from all sectors and professions who want to volunteer their time to inspire young people with their own experience of education, jobs and careers.

In the last year, these five programmes have all been supported through the Innovation in Giving Fund, which was launched in 2011 to find and support new and better ways to enable the giving and exchange of time, assets, skills, resources and money for causes that they care about.

Philip Colligan, Executive Director of Nesta’s Public Services Lab, has been appointed to the Cabinet Office as Government Adviser on Social Innovation and will advise on the wider strategy of the centre. He said: “What we see with these five innovations is the massive potential for social action -people helping people -to make a difference to really big social challenges. This is what the next chapter of public services reform will be about – better ways of engaging people, their families and communities alongside professionals. Through the Centre for Social Action’s Innovation Fund we want to help make this a reality.”