The Social Action End of Life Support Fund aims to support existing projects that engage volunteers in social action to enable continued social interaction and to improve the experience for people at end of life and their families.
Support from this fund will enable existing projects to extend their reach, and to provide a robust evaluation of their impact.
This programme aims to focus on the social aspect of end of life support, in recognition that compassionate support cannot be the responsibility of health and social care professionals alone and requires a response from the wider community.
In particular, it aims to build on some of the existing ways in which volunteers are improving the experience of people at the end of life and their families: by reducing isolation, meeting emotional needs and maintaining a sense of connectedness to the community.
Social action models
Examples of social action models include those that provide befriending, emotional support, peer support, practical support (eg providing transport, dog walking, gardening etc), enhancing naturally occurring support networks, or signposting those in need towards other services and support in the area.
Minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude said: “Many people who are dying have complex needs, yet sometimes all it takes is a friendly face or a hand to hold to brighten someone’s day. Even help with small but important tasks like doing the washing, fetching someone’s groceries or helping people stay connected to the community can make a huge difference to a person’s life.
“That is why today we are announcing more support to help people live with dignity and compassion towards the end of their life. I’m urging organisations with the skills to provide support to vulnerable people and their families to apply for this new £1 million fund.
The fund will be administered by Hospice UK, formerly known as Help the Hospices, on behalf of the Cabinet Office.
David Praill, Chief Executive of Hospice UK, said: “Volunteers offer the human touch that is the hallmark of high quality end of life support, through the crucial practical and emotional support that they provide for dying people and their families.
“This fund will help increase the number of volunteers carrying out this vital activity, as well as supporting the growth of innovative partnerships and the development of new approaches to volunteering.
“Volunteers currently have an invaluable role in end of life support. This will become increasingly important in the future as we explore new and different ways we can support the growing number of people in the UK with chronic and complex conditions.”
How to apply
This grant programme is open to applications from charitable and NHS hospices, hospitals, care homes, charities registered in the UK, public bodies, social enterprises and community enterprises. Privately owned care homes will only be eligible where they are working in partnership with a voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) provider and the VCSE is the lead provider.
Funding will be provided until December 2015. There is no maximum or minimum grant size but it is expected that grants will be of £50,000 or more.
The deadline for applications is 5pm on 7 November. Further details and an application form are available on the Hospice UK website.