Comic Relief – Active Ageing

This funding programme is specifically targeting older people who don’t usually participate in volunteering or social activities because they are from a disadvantaged community, or face other barriers to participating. Applicants will be asked to provide information to demonstrate they have a good understand of the needs of the older people they’re working with, and a clear plan about how to address the barriers. We are willing to meet the additional costs of supporting people to participate where necessary e.g. by providing accessible transport costs.

Social action is about people coming together to help improve their lives and solve the problems that are important in their communities. This may include activities around campaigning and fundraising as well as volunteering, all of which can create a double benefit for communities and the older person themselves.

For the activities to have positive benefits for the older people involved, they should:

  • Provide meaningful roles with opportunities for social interaction and leadership.
  • Ensure that older people are recognised and valued for their contribution.

We are looking for creative, fresh approaches and are unlikely to fund standard lunch clubs, 1:1 befriending models or applications to run community transport schemes. We’re interested in organisations that already coordinate activities by and for older people that can demonstrate a need to engage with a ‘harder to reach’ group of older people. Or you could be an organisation that already works with disadvantaged older people that wants to bring a new twist or approach to your work.

We are interested in supporting spaces and activities which make older people feel valued and enable them to be creative and productive. These might focus wholly on older people, or use a broader community or intergenerational approach. We understand that putting on events isn’t enough to get marginalised or disadvantaged older people through the door. Applicants will need to convince us that they really understand the needs of their community, the role that older people can play in catalysing social change and make the case that they can deliver.

The primary outcomes of the work should focus on the benefits to the older people, though we will also be interested in capturing the wider benefits to the community. Applications will need to meet at least one of the following outcomes:

  • Older people improve their mental health and wellbeing;
  • Older people increase the quality and quantity of their social connections;
  • Older people develop an enhanced sense of purpose and empowerment.


Proposals are welcome for between £40,000 and £80,000 for up to three years for work in the UK.

We are keen to receive applications from organisations based in the community in which they are working. The focus of the applicant organisation must be in the local community, although it may choose to work with national or regional partners. We will also welcome application from partnerships.

Applicants should also check our grant making policies (links below) which explain our eligibility criteria for all organisations applying to Comic Relief for funding.

Key dates and process

We will be open for proposals from 17 July 2017 to midday 29 August 2017.

Once we receive your proposal, we will check whether your organisation and proposal is eligible for funding under this initiative and then shortlist the strongest proposals to go through for a full assessment. We will aim to notify all applicants of our decisions at this stage in by mid-October. If your proposal is unsuccessful at this stage, we will unfortunately be unable to provide any additional feedback due to our limited resources.

Assessments on the proposals which pass this stage will take place over October and November and final decisions will be made by our Grants Committee and Trustees.

We aim to inform all applicants of the final decision in January 2018. If your proposal is unsuccessful at this stage we’ll write to you explaining the reasons why and may offer further feedback by phone.

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