Five £2,000 micro-commissions are being offered to support projects around England that will help to bring people together through creativity while physical gatherings are not possible.
Voluntary Arts is commissioning the five partnership projects, thanks to funds made available by DCMS and Arts Council England. As the COVID-19 pandemic has continued, we recognise that there are many people at higher risk of experiencing loneliness and isolation.
Alongside our partners in the Get Creative campaign and Age of Creativity, we will offer micro-commissions of up to £2,000 that will enable creative groups and organisations to work together with organisations who have the connections and experience to support those at high risk of loneliness and isolation, deliver participatory creative projects with these demographics and demonstrate how the project has improved their social connectedness.
There will be five micro-commissions awarded across England.
- Two of the micro-commissions, in association with Age of Creativity, will be awarded to project proposals that specifically aim to benefit older people.
- Three of the micro-commissions will be available to proposals that aim to benefit any other demographics identified as being at a higher risk of experiencing loneliness and isolation during the pandemic (see below).
Each project should be a partnership that involves a creative group or organisation and another organisation that brings expertise in reaching the demographic in question.
Research [1/2] during the pandemic has shown that many of the same demographics who were at risk of experiencing loneliness before the pandemic are at the highest risk during the pandemic also, though some demographics have experienced more of a rise in risk than others. The target groups that we expect the projects to benefit are:
- older people
- young adults
- the unemployed
- low income households
- people with physical disabilities
- people with learning disabilities
- people with mental health issues
- people living alone
As this funding is aiming to have an impact during the current challenging period, we are aiming for the process to move quite quickly and expect that successful projects will be able to start immediately upon being awarded the micro-commission. Project delivery should take place during March and April 2021.
We have kept the process of expressing an interest in the micro-commissions as straightforward as possible to enable quick applications and decisions.
Expressions of interest will be assessed by Voluntary Arts staff, alongside partners from Age of Creativity and the Get Creative campaign. The panel will select the projects that demonstrate the clearest plan to achieve the goals of this scheme (reducing loneliness and social isolation through collective creativity) and also articulate a plan that can be delivered quickly and efficiently in the given timescale. The panel will take account of the overall spread of projects to ensure the best possible benefit across England and across different demographics.
Successful projects will need to provide specific monitoring and evaluation data to support Arts Council England’s assessment of this work. Details of the data required is available here. Voluntary Arts staff will also work with you to gather appropriate documentation and feedback to compile a short case study on each project.