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The Local Connections Fund is a new £4 million fund that is set to help small organisations in England that are working to reduce loneliness by helping them build connections across their communities.

The funding aims to bring people together in safe and secure ways – including by covering the costs of technologies and equipment that will help people feel more connected within their communities. This could cover the costs of technology enabled care (TEC) products like personal alarms and GPS monitoring devices.

Funding can also be used to help strengthen organisations and their services through, for example, training and development.

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The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) and The National Lottery Community Fund are investing £2 million each. This will be used to fund hundreds of smaller grants between £300 and £2,500, so small, local organisations (with an annual income of £50,000 or less) can bring people and communities together.

The Local Connections Fund will be split into two equal rounds of funding.

DCMS will provide the first £2 million round of funding, which will be distributed by The National Lottery Community Fund. This first round opened for applications on 5 January 2021 and will close on 26 January 2021. Successful applicants for this round of funding must have spent the money and finished their project by 31 March 2021.

The second round of funding will be provided by The National Lottery Community Fund and will launch in the summer of 2021.

Grants from the first round of funding will strengthen and develop small and micro-organisations that connect communities together and reduce loneliness.

Organisations can still apply, even if they already have existing grants with The National Lottery Community Fund. But organisations cannot apply for costs which have been funded by other means, including government or National Lottery funding.

The National Lottery Community Fund says that applicants should receive a decision about whether an organisation will receive funding by late January to early February 2021.

Read more about the fund and apply here

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