The Big Society Network

exists to support and develop talent, innovation and enterprise to deliver social impact.

By working with business, philanthropists, charities and social ventures we believe we can unleash the social energy that exists in the UK to help build a better, healthier society.

FAQs

We are an independent charity that supports and develops talent, innovation and enterprise to deliver social impact through our programmes.

We work with social entrepreneurs, social ventures, innovative charities, third sector organisations, business and government to unleash social energy to help build a better, healthier society.

To see what we do, please navigate our projects listed on the home page.

If you have any questions about the ‘Big Society’ or need more information, please click here to visit the Cabinet Office’s Big Society page.


How is the Network funded?

The Network is supported by a combination of project funding, foundation funds, private donations and business investors.


I have a project, how do I apply for funding?

The Big Society Network does not provide funding. We aim to facilitate collaboration between the different parties involved in bettering communities as well as showcase and highlight existing projects and stories. If you are looking for funding opportunities, please see below for a selection of websites which may be of help:

  • Awards for All: Awards for All is a Lottery grants scheme funding small, local community-based projects in the UK.
  • Big Lottery Fund: The Big Lottery Fund is the largest distributor of Lottery money to good causes. They deliver funding throughout the UK, mostly through programmes tailored specifically to the needs of communities in the areas of health, education, the environment and charities.
  • Charities Aid Foundation: The Charities Aid Foundation is a registered charity that works to create greater value for charities and social enterprise. We do this by transforming the way donations are made and the way charitable funds are managed.
  • Community builders: Invests in the sustainability of multi-purpose, inclusive, community –led organisations which aim to support empowered communities by:
    • Providing a place for community activities to take place
    • Providing and running local services
    • Stimulating community involvement and enterprise
    • Generating independent sources of income
  • Community Foundation Network: Community Foundations brings together local philanthropists and businesses who wish to give money to support their communities but supporting local projects.
  • Community Development Foundation: CDF manages a variety of grant schemes aimed at supporting community and voluntary groups working to improve communities.
  • Directgov Local Government Funding: This link will direct you to your local authority website where you can find out about any local government funding opportunities.
  • Directory of Social Change: This is an independent source of funding information for voluntary and community organisations. Please note that is this is a fee-based subscription services, however, discounts are offered to voluntary organisations. They run the following funding websites:
    • Grants for Individuals: Allows you to search for grants related to welfare or education services.
    • Government Funding: An extensive database of available funding schemes from Central and Regional Government, Independent Grant Administrators, European Sources and Local Authorities.
    • Trust Funding: Helps to identify trusts that are sympathetic to your particular cause and may be able to provide support.
    • Company Giving: A website where you can search for companies that give to good causes
    • Funding Central: Funded by the Cabinet Office, this is a free website for charities, voluntary organisations and social enterprises. It provides access to funding and finance opportunities as well as provides tools and resources.
  • Grantnet: This site allows you to enter information about the project you are seeking funding for and will provide brief details about funding opportunities available in your area.
  • Lottery Funding: This is a joint website run by all of the lottery funders in the UK. It allows you to search for information on current funding programmes across the UK.
  • Nominet Trust: A UK registered charity founded to provide support to organisations that contribute to a safe, accessible Internet used to improve lives and communities. Their areas of focus are:
    • Web access: providing people with the motivation, skills and tools to get online in a meaningful and sustained way.
    • Web safety: improving understanding about the risks of being online and reducing internet crime and abuse.
    • Web in society: imaginative applications of the internet to address specific social problems.

If you are an organisation that provides funding to “Big Society” initiatives and you would like to be included in this section, please contact us at: bigsociety@bigsociety.co.uk.


What is the Big Society Bank or Big Society Capital?

For more information about Big Society Capital, please click here.


I have a project, how can I tell you about it?

Please visit the Big Society Awards website - http://www.bigsocietyawards.org/ to recommend a project you believe is a positive example of ‘Big Society’ in action. 


Who should I speak to in regards to employment opportunities?

If you would like to enquire about work opportunities here at the Network, please send in your CV and a cover letter to bigsociety@thebigsociety.co.uk


I would like to interview someone at The Network and/or write an article about a Big Society project

Please direct all enquiries to press@thebigsociety.co.uk. If you are requesting an interview with someone from the Network, please state your name, publication and brief description of what you would like to discuss. If you would like to write a piece on a Big Society project, please state your name, publication and the type of project and location you are interested in.


I am interested in volunteering.

It is worth using the Internet to search for volunteering opportunities, for example visiting a charity’s website. It might also be worth visiting your local council to enquire about any volunteer recruitment drives they may know about. There are also a great deal of websites which allow you to search for volunteering opportunities in your area, for example:

  • CSV involves over 150,000 volunteers in high quality opportunities that enrich lives and tackle real need.
  • Volunteering England has a network of Volunteer Centres around the country which can help you to locate opportunities.
  • Volunteering Wales is a website with information about volunteering in Wales and how to get involved.
  • Volunteering Scotlandallows you to find your nearest Volunteer Centre in Scotland as also search for opportunities.
  • Volunteer Now is a search facility for volunteering in Northern Ireland.
  • Do-it is an online search facility which allows you to enter your location, how far you would like to travel and your area of interest in order to match you with opportunities.
  • vInspired connects 16-25 year olds with volunteering opportunities in England.
  • Timebank is a national volunteering charity that supports individuals and businesses to find rewarding volunteering.

How can I find volunteers?

As above, you may want to visit your local council and leave some information with them. It may also be worth contacting your local paper to try and get some local publicity. Also by contacting organisations like the ones mentioned above, they may be able to put in contact with your local volunteering centre where you can get more information and submit details about your project/volunteering opportunity.


Still have questions?

If your question about the Big Society Network has not been answered, you can contact us at: bigsociety@thebigsociety.co.uk.

Please also visit each project page for more information. 

For press enquiries, please contact press@thebigsociety.co.uk

You can subscribe for updates in the space at the bottom of the site or follow us on Twitter: @thebigsociety