Innovation Fund 2023-25

Tuesday 1st August 2023 by Michael Theodorou

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 in community-led organisations and groups to test new approaches to the sector 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?

You must meet the following innovative definitions:

  • Projects/ interventions that are not currently being delivered or tested elsewhere in the sector,
  • Projects/ interventions that utilise new technologies, new approaches or new tools,
  • Projects/ interventions that respond to new changes/ trends and issues affecting those most at risk of violence,
  • Projects/ programmes that are not currently funded by the Mayor of London’s Office,
  • 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 people.
  • 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 including workshops, an online community of practice and 1 day of custom consultancy support.

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
  • Pupil Referral Units (PRUs):
    • who are from boroughs working with community groups to either support with diversionary activities/employability skills training during the Summer
    • who are recognised by Government as a PRU and have a constitution/governing document
    • where this funding will:
      • support non curriculum activities
      • not be used for profit. Any surplus must be used to support the objectives of the VRU Innovation Fund.

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 2024/25 (this excludes Pupil Referral Units, PRUs)
  • 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, although we expect some projects will complete within a year. However, if your income is under £40,000 you will need to demonstrate that you have previously managed funds of this size and have capacity to deliver the project
  • 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 new approaches within the sector
  • 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.


Round 6: Due to a high number of applications in rounds 1 to 5, Round 6 has been placed on hold. This page will be updated once further information, budgets and dates are known.