The Cabinet Office has a £20m Local Sustainability Fund to provide grants to organisations in the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector.
The fund will benefit about 250 organisations, although it is half the size originally expected.
The Cabinet Office said in a statement that the fund, which will be delivered by the Big Lottery Fund, will provide grants that will enable recipients to “implement organisational changes” and access “professional advice”.
Charities interested in applying can do so through an online diagnostic tool, and must do so by 26 July.
Charities will also be eligible for support from local businesses, with the OCS saying that all grant recipients expected to establish a “strong volunteering relationship with a local businesses”.
The funding will be delivered over two years and will be available to medium-sized charities and voluntary sector organisations that deliver support to vulnerable and disadvantaged people.
As well as working with local businesses, the Cabinet Office said, recipients will also work with skilled advisers so that the fund generates maximum impact.
Rob Wilson, Minister for Civil Society, said in a statement: “This fund will enable around 250 medium-sized organisations in England to be in a position to change, helping to build a truly compassionate society.”
The fund was first proposed during Nick Hurd’s time as the minister for civil society in March 2014.
At the time, it was expected that the fund was expected to be £40m. But Mr Wilson said the size of the fund had never been confirmed.
“£40m was an indicative figure, it was never a pledge,” he told Civil Society News when asked why the figure was halved.
“Don’t look at it as only that money. It also provides some of the things the sector need and they tell me they need – skills, expertise, things that they find it difficult to buy in.”
Sir Stephen Bubb, chief executive of the charity leaders body Acevo, said in a statement: “We are glad to see the Local Sustainability Fund re-emerging after its absence from last year’s budget. The £20m will be welcomed by the sector despite the smaller-than-expected size of the fund. We hope there is more to come.”
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