Blog: Bringing London together again

Children fencing in London

by Ellie Sheppard

Society can too often feel divided, even in a global city like London. Here at Comic Relief we believe in the power of sport to unite and bring people together. That’s why, along with the Mayor of London, we’re delighted to launch the second round of London Together funding this week.

Sport brings people together across culture, language, gender and social class. It can break down barriers and tackle prejudices and misconceptions. Sport is also uniquely placed to reach socially isolated and hard-to-reach groups. 

We funded some brilliant projects in round one. One project working in Hackney, Newham and Tower Hamlets tackling divisions, misconceptions and potential tensions between Muslim and non-Muslim women in increasingly segregated communities in East London. It uses fencing to bring women together from different backgrounds, and guided creative workshops to explore the different experiences and issues of each group.

Another project working across four areas of London is supporting young people with learning disabilities who face loneliness and social isolation, as well as mental health problems. Young people will access a programme of specialised mentoring and integrated sport and life skills, delivered by coaches who’ve been through similar experiences.

The young people involved will get the chance to take part in challenges which will improve their employment prospects, career aspirations and hopefully make them feel more connected to their communities.

Although the fund still has the same aim, to invest in sport for change projects that will improve social integration in London, we’ve taken some time to reflect on year one of the fund and made a few changes to the funding call. If you’re interested in applying read on!

Making the process less time consuming for you

The application process we used last year has changed. We realised that this one stage approach could be hugely time consuming for organisations applying for funding, so we’ve moved to a two-stage application process. This is something we’ve already tried with 3 funding calls we’ve made under our new strategy.

A clearer idea of what we mean by social integration

What exactly do we mean by social integration? We recognise it’s a broad term, so we’ve provided a clear definition in the funding call. We’ve also included links so you can read more about the three dimensions of social integration and social integration measures. 

Re-framing the fund outcomes

We’ve re-framed the outcomes of the fund to make sure social integration is the main focus of the projects we fund. You’ll see there are two primary outcomes focusing on social mixing and reducing isolation and loneliness. Projects should work towards at least one of these outcomes.

We also recognise that projects might have additional outcomes, such as: increasing opportunities to support people into work, employment and training; increasing opportunities for people to volunteer in their communities for people from all backgrounds; and increasing mental wellbeing. If your project has additional outcomes, tell us about these in your application.  

Giving feedback

We’ve shared the general feedback we gave to unsuccessful applicants in year one. You’ll see this in the funding call on our website. We hope this will be useful information for you to consider when developing your application. 

Encouraging full-cost recovery

We want to make sure the amount of funding you apply for will cover all the costs of delivering your project so we’re encouraging you to include full cost recovery in your application. Find out more.

We hope these changes will mean we’ll be able to support more amazing organisations to deliver great projects to bring London Together.

The London Together fund is open for applications. The deadline is 12 noon GMT on 5th April 2019. To find out more and apply check out the funding call.