What is the Community Knowledge Fund?

The Community Knowledge Fund is a new fund available to community groups and local organisations around the UK. It aims to develop and test new ideas and different approaches to creating, sharing and using community knowledge to make progress on local and national challenges.

Who is funding and delivering the Community Knowledge Fund?

The Community Knowledge Fund is funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and delivered by The Young Foundation. 

Launched in April 2018, UKRI is a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). UKRI brings together the seven disciplinary research councils, Research England, which is responsible for supporting research and knowledge exchange at higher education institutions in England, and the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK.

The Young Foundation is the UK’s home for community research and social innovation driving positive change and supporting collective action to improve people’s lives.

How much is available to apply for? How many grants will be awarded?  

The Community Knowledge Fund provides a total pot of £950,000 to support up to 34 grants to grassroots community groups and local organisations across the UK.  

In Phase 1, development grants of up to £10k will be awarded
In Phase 2, a small number of larger grants from £50,000 up to £100,000 will be awarded

What are the different grants?  

  • Groundwork and Early-Stage Testing grants
    Grants up to £10,000 to support grantees to create the conditions for research and innovation and to develop and begin early testing of their ideas.
  • Invest, Implement and Test grants
    Grants of up to £50,000 to refine and further test the ideas that showed the most promise from early testing.
  • Invest and Grow grants
    Grants up to £100,000 for ideas that have been tested and proven successful in practice so that they can be grown to have greater impact.   

Can I apply for a £50k – £100k grant in Phase 1?

No. All applicants must first submit an Expression of Interest for a Phase 1 and be successful in their application for a Groundwork and Early-Stage Testing grant to be eligible for Phase 2.

When can I apply for Phase 1?  

Expressions of interest for Phase 1 will open Wednesday 21 September 2022 and close at 11.59pm on Monday 7 November 2022.

When will Phase 2 funding be available?

Further details about the timeline and application requirements for Phase 2 funding will be shared with Phase 1 grantees in early 2023. 

Who is eligible?

Only incorporated community groups or organisations are eligible to apply if they are one of the following:

A charitable trust, registered charity, community interest company (CIC), social enterprise, cooperative society, local authority, community benefit society, voluntary or community group, non-profit company limited by guarantee. We also welcome partnerships of several of the types listed here.  

Unincorporated community groups are welcome to apply but will need to clearly state who will sponsor their work (e.g., a constituted group which is happy to hold the funding on their behalf).

The Community Knowledge Fund is an open fund with particular interest in the two following themes: 

  • Community safety and resilience  
  • Environment and sustainability   

Those applying to our Open category must clearly demonstrate how the idea the want to test reflects the ambitions of the fund to build stronger community connections to research and innovation.

Can partnerships apply? How should partnerships be organised?  

We welcome expressions of interest from partnerships. How the partnership is organised should reflect the needs it is coming together to meet. Working out the best ways to work together and the exact structure of your future partnership will be an important aspect of preparing your expression of interest. We encourage potential partnerships to attend one of our Community Knowledge Fund Pre-Application Workshops. 

All partners within a partnership should be from our list of eligible community groups or organisations. 

Are international organisations or groups able to apply?  

Only organisations registered in the UK can apply. Organisations based in overseas territories and crown dependencies are not eligible to apply or to be listed as partners.   

Aside from funding, what support is offered?  

In addition to funding, there is a bespoke support package that includes a learning programme, coaching support and events for community groups and organisations to share learning, draw on the skills, knowledge and expertise from across the fund’s participants, and to develop new relationships and networks. 

What are the key dates I should be aware of?   

Expression of interest window for Phase 1 (development grants of up to £10,000) 

  • Expression of Interest window opens Wednesday 21 September 2022 
  • Expression of Interest window closes at 11.59pm, Monday 7 November 2022 
  • Successful applicants will be announced by Friday 27 January 2023 

Community Knowledge Fund Application Workshops: 

  • Monday 3 October 2022 5pm – 6:30pm
  • Wednesday 5 October 2022 5pm – 6:30pm 

Key dates and information for Phase 2 will be available early 2023. 

How do I apply?  

You can fill out an Expression of Interest form here.

Where can I go for support? 

We want to make applying for the Community Knowledge Fund as accessible as possible. 

If you are considering applying to the fund, we encourage you to attend one of our virtual Community Knowledge Fund Pre-Application Workshops to ask questions, explore suitability of your idea and connect with others working on a similar theme or challenge.  

The Young Foundation is committed to making support for applicants accessible to everyone. If you would like support completing an expression of interest or require a different submission method, please get in touch with us.

What does ‘community’ in the context of this fund?  

We understand and respect that the term ‘community’ takes lots of different forms. The Community Knowledge Fund is interested in what community means to you, and in working with groups or organisations that are focused on one of the specific themes we have set out. Community does not refer to a single defined geography or location in this funding call and could also refer to communities of interest

What does ‘research and innovation’ mean in the context of this fund?  

Research, as we know it, is creating new knowledge in order to drive new and innovative solutions.  

Innovation can take many different forms; however, the Community Knowledge Fund sees the starting point for innovation as an awareness of a need that is not being met and has some idea of how it could be met. Through action, ideas are tested, refined and improved in practice so they can then be grown to have greater impact. 

Will community groups be matched with researchers?

Knowledge can be created in different ways, by different sources, and for different purposes. You don’t need to be a researcher or be working with a researcher to apply to the Community Knowledge Fund. This fund is not open to those working in the formal research sector, including institutions of higher education. It is for community groups who are interested in learning and sharing, with the hope of shaping research and innovation. 

Is there anything that the funding cannot be used for?

We want to work with grantees to support them to consider how best to use the funding to develop and test their ideas. However, there are some things the funding cannot be used for including, but not limited to, activities that have already taken place, general overheads of your community group or organisation not related to the delivery of your work within this fund, profit making activity that won’t be reinvested in further community-based activity, or fundraising activities.

Can we share this funding call with our wider contacts? Is it OK to circulate it and encourage others we know to apply?  

Yes. Please share this opportunity widely across your networks. We are keen to make sure a wide range of potential applicants hear about it.

I still have questions, who should I contact? 

If you’ve not found an answer to your question, we’ll be happy to help. Send us an email at communityknowledgefund@youngfoundation.org   

We will continue to update our FAQs page with questions and answers as they are received.

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