New funding to develop social prescribing and support Covid-hit communities

Funding for civic arts organisations and creatives also announced
Profile image for Eleanor Mills
Eleanor Mills
Dulwich Picture Gallery is participating in the Weston Jerwood Creative Bursaries programme
Dulwich Picture Gallery is participating in the Weston Jerwood Creative Bursaries programme

A number of new funding streams have been announced, including the £1.4m Thriving Communities Fund to help develop local social prescribing activities across England.

Grants of between £25,000-£50,000 are available to support place-based partnerships led by voluntary, community, faith and social enterprise organisations to expand and improve on the range and quality of social prescribing activities available to local communities.

This could include any work across arts and culture; sport and physical activity; health and care agencies; financial wellbeing, food and practical support; and nature and the environment. There will be a particular focus on supporting people facing health inequalities, as well as those who are experiencing the impact of the Covid pandemic.  

Arts Council England, which is administering the fund, is contributing £250,000 from the National Lottery, while the National Academy for Social Prescribing is putting £1.15m towards it.

The two organisations will work with strategic partners to deliver the money, including NHS England and NHS Improvement, Sport England, Natural England, the Office for Civil Society, the Money and Pensions Service and NHS Charities Together.

The arts council has published guidelines on how to apply to the Thriving Communities fund. The online application form will open on Monday 23 November 2020. Applications must be submitted by 12pm (midday) Friday 8 January 2021.

Civic arts organisations

Elsewhere, the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, in partnership with King’s College London, has launched a £150,000 Award for Civic Arts Organisations.


Offering one award of £100,000 and two of £25,000, the Award for Civic Arts Organisations aims to shine a light on how arts bodies have responded to the pandemic.

The award is open to publicly-funded arts organisations across the cultural sector, including museums and galleries and those working cross-art form. Applications are open now and close at 1pm on 30 November.

A shortlist will be announced in early January, with the three awardees to be announced in March 2021.

Creative bursaries

The Weston Jerwood Creative Bursaries has also been announced, with 50 host arts and cultural organisations across the UK for 2020-2022. Each bursary will fund a year-long fellowship for an early-career artist or creative, creating 50 new jobs across the sector.

Each of the 50 hosts have created significant new roles at the heart of their work, with the Weston Jerwood Creative Bursaries programme funding up to 90% of salaries and a dedicated career development programme for the fellow, support for their progression beyond the programme, and individual mentors supported in partnership with the mentoring charity Arts Emergency.  

For a full list of host organisations and positions, visit the Jerwood site, but be sure to soon because many of their deadlines are end of November or early December.

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