Applications now open to new European Social Catalyst Fund (application deadline 15 April 2020)

The European Social Catalyst Fund (ESCF) is a new initiative designed to have significant impact on some of Europe’s most pressing social challenges.

The objective of the ESCF is to bring together public and private resources to improve social services to enable people who need support to live as valued and participating members of their communities.

The ESCF will provides financial and capacity building support to develop plans to scale proven social service innovations. Each selected application will receive a planning grant of up to €100,000 along with capacity building support. A minimum of €600,000 revenue funding (capital costs are not covered by this programme) will be allocated to support at least 6 plans.

Applications must address social challenges within at least one of the listed focus areas below drawn from the Sustainable Development Goals and align with the three main categories of the European Pillar of Social Rights:

1. Equal opportunities and access to the labour market.
2. Fair working conditions, and
3. Social protection and inclusion.

The social challenge focus areas are:

o Ageing.
o Poverty and marginalisation.
o Homelessness.
o Disability.
o Mental health.
o Migration.
o Promoting gender equality.
o Dementia.
o Digital inclusiveness.
o Employment and job creation.
o Inequalities.
o Education, training and skills.
o Community development.
o The role and place of young people in society.
o Inter-generational solidarity, and
o Ecological and social transition.

The objectives of the programme are:

o To provide financial support, guidance and information to proven social service innovations selected through a pan-European competition to develop implementation plans to upscale.
o To stimulate a broader range of public sector, philanthropic and social investment collaborations that foster the scaling of social service innovations to meet social challenges across EU Member States aligned with the principles of the European Pillar of Social Rights.
o To produce exemplar plans across a range of priority social challenge areas that can be implemented to a substantial level of scale within two years.
o Plans also must be relevant to the social and implementation challenges in at least five EU Member States, two of which will be Central and Eastern European Countries (CEECs).
o To develop and disseminate knowledge and skills on how to successfully plan the scaling of social service innovations, and
0 To design a further phase of the European Social Catalyst Fund based on learning obtained in the process of achieving these objectives.

Applications can be made by:

a) collaborations involving public and private agencies (the lead applicant must be a not-for-profit organisation).
b) public agencies, or
c) private non-profit agencies, in EU Member States, that aim to scale proven innovations that can effectively contribute to reducing, or overcoming, social challenges within or across countries.

Applications must relate to evidence-based models of intervention that have been tried and tested. Preference will be given to innovations that have the most robust evidence of success. At least one member of the organisation(s) applying must have prior involvement in implementing the innovative model under proposal.

Plans also must be relevant to the social and implementation challenges in at least five EU Member States, two of which will be Central and Eastern European Countries – acknowledging the need for tailoring to meet the specific requirements determined by varying cultural and operational environments.

Applications are currently open from UK organisations and other European countries.

The deadline for applications is Wednesday 15 April 2020.

For further information and guidance, visit the European Social Catalyst Fund website