The Department of Health and Social Care has just announced details of 5 projects that have been awarded a share of £734,000 to help reduce drug use. This forms the first allocation of a £5 million grant budget, with the remaining funding available across two further phases in 2023 and 2025.
As part of the government’s Drug Strategy Innovation Fund, Phase 1 will see the successful applicants begin the initial stage of their projects offering a range of education-based programmes, skills development for young people and community outreach.
Each project will receive initial funding to help develop interventions for evaluation. Those that are successful, and new projects, will be able to apply for further funding in Phase 2 which will launch later in the year to evaluate interventions over 12 months.
Projects for phase 1 are based in Huddersfield, Derbyshire, Manchester, Dorset and the South East of England and will include schemes tailored to meet local needs, including pop-up pods at festivals and events to educate people on the harms of using drugs – as well as workforce support to help young people develop personal and social skills to reduce vulnerability to illegal substance use.
Other projects include training programmes for night-time economy staff, such as people working in nightclubs, as well as experts from public health, voluntary services, the NHS and the police.
The Innovation Fund is being run over three phases: Phase 1 (development), Phase 2 (evaluation), and Phase 3 (implementation). It will have up to £5m funding available over its three phases.
The application window for Phase 1 proposals closed in October 2022. Projects will start in March 2023 and are due to complete in September 2023.
Phase 2 will open for bids in 2023, and proposals can be for up to £500,000 over 12 months.
Phase 3 is expected to open for bids in 2025: proposals put forward in this phase can be for up to £500,000 over 10 months.
Successful proposals at Phase 1 can apply for Phase 2 and (if successful) Phase 3 funding. However, new proposals can directly apply for Phase 2 funding and Phase 3 funding.
The full Department of Health and Social care press release can be viewed at this LINK.