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Innovation Fund 2023-25

Round 3 of the Innovation Fund coming January 2024

The programme, funded by the Violence Reduction Unit is delivered by Rocket Science with capacity building support from Action for Race Equity (ARE)

Read on to find out more and how to apply.

Who is the Programme for?

London’s Violence Reduction Unit is committed to encouraging creativity, experimentation and investing in community-led solutions to addressing the root causes of violence.

Communities everywhere are facing complex social challenges that defy simple solutions. We need new solutions that are both creative and collaborative.

That means supporting those who are closest to the issues with the resources they need to experiment to bring out change in their communities.

It’s why we are launching the Innovation Fund to provide support to build capacity. We’re investing £1.5 million to support around 50 community-led organisations and groups to test new approaches and ideas to support vulnerable Londoners who are either at risk or have been involved in violence.

We are really proud that, with the Mayor of London’s support, we’re investing further in our communities. A key part of our approach is about understanding what works and then providing support and the resources to help interventions to thrive. Through the Innovation Fund, the VRU will support organisations with online networking/ collaboration, capacity-building and other tools.

If that sounds like you, we’d encourage you to look through our prospectus and work with us because we firmly believe violence is preventable, not inevitable.

What is the VRU definition of innovative?

By innovative we mean:

  • Projects/ programmes that are not currently funded by the VRU,
  • Projects/ interventions that are not currently being delivered or tested elsewhere,
  • Projects/ interventions that has a good evidence base or the ability to provide qualitative insights/ are being delivered elsewhere but which applicants are adapting to a London context or to a specific community or group,
  • Projects/ interventions that have been co-designed/ co-developed with community stakeholders and/or young people,
  • Projects/ interventions that utilise new technologies, new approaches or new tools to support young people,
  • Projects/ interventions that respond to new changes/ trends and issues affecting those most at risk of violence,
  • Projects / interventions that have been implemented at a micro-level and you want to scale/spread to new groups or communities.

Who can apply?

Grants of between £20,000 and £50,000 will be awarded, with an anticipated average size of c.£30,000 and support to build capacity. It is expected there will be eight grants each quarter.

Applicants will have one of the following legal forms, although you can use another organisation as a sponsor if required:

  • Registered Charity
  • Exempt or Excepted Charity
  • Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO)
  • Company Limited by Guarantee (CLG)
  • Community Interest Company Limited by Guarantee (CICLG)
  • Community Benefit Societies (CBS). Ideally, the CBS will also be registered as charitable with
  • HMRC, however this is not essential.

You will:

  • be based in and supporting people in London
  • not be in receipt of funding from the Mayor of London’s Office (MOPAC, GLA, VRU) in the current year 2023/24
  • apply for up to 50% of your annual income up to a maximum of £50,000 to be delivered by the end of September 2025. However, if your income is under £40,000 there are exceptions you will need to demonstrate.
  • pay at least the London Living Wage for any positions paid through this grant
  • utilise 1 day of dedicated capacity building support and access workshops and other support
  • engage with the VRU Reporting, Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning teams and delivery partners
  • be able to demonstrate working with people at risk of violence
  • be able to demonstrate you are rooted in/understand the needs of the local community
  • have engaged the local community in your model.

Programme objectives

The objectives of the fund are to:

  1. Encourage innovation in the violence reduction space. We encourage creativity experimentation and piloting new programmes that deal with emerging issues relating to violence. By supporting novel ideas, the VRU intends to identify promising practice that can be piloted and potentially scaled up.
  2. Empower communities by funding smaller, grassroots community groups, we support those who are closest to the issues with the resources they need to experiment and find new solutions that are appropriate to their own locality.
  3. Further progress against the VRU’s core mission to reduce violence, support London to feel safer and to build a partnership approach to sustainable solutions.

Programme priorities

The following priorities may be taken into account if the programme is oversubscribed:

  • Test and learn approaches
  • Provision for underserved groups (e.g. young women and girls, carers)
  • Impact driven projects
  • Community focussed, partnership approach to long-term sustainable violence solutions
  • Safe spaces for people
  • Grassroots organisations.

How to apply

  1. Ensure you have read the prospectus which can be found here.
  2. Complete the eligibility check which can be found here. If successful you will be taken to the application form which you can save and complete at your own pace.
  3. If you have any questions please contact Rocket Science at vruif@rocketsciencelab.co.uk or on 0207 117 2534.


Round 3:

Applications will close at 4pm on Monday, 29th January 2024

Applications will only be accepted from organisations who can start delivery from March 2024

Decisions expected 19 February 2024

Round 4:

Applications will close at 4pm on Monday, 11th March 2024

Applications will only be accepted from organisations who can start delivery from May 2024

Decisions expected 15 April 2024


£20,000 - £50,000
no deadline


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