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A £10,000 grant will help local leaders build their initiatives


The Cares Family charity is seeking applications from Northern Ireland’s community leaders to be part of a national programme that invests in, supports, and connects people reducing loneliness and building connection in their communities.


The new Multiplier programme is awarding £10,000 grants to 10 leaders across the UK this year. It’s the latest initiative in a partnership between The Cares Family, which brings people together to reduce loneliness, and UnLtd, the social enterprise foundation. 


Successful applicants will be part of an eight-month programme based in part on the Obama Fellowship, which The Cares Family’s Founder and CEO has been part of for the last two years. The programme will seek to build a national movement of changemakers, each tackling loneliness and disconnection in their own communities in their own ways.


The Multiplier’s launch comes as new figures show the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic on Northern Ireland’s economy. Economic activity has fallen to its lowest level on record, amid growing concerns that an unemployment rate of 100,000 is now an "optimistic" forecast for this year (1). But with thousands of Mutual Aid groups, support networks, and relief initiatives appearing nationwide, the power in connecting across communities to reduce social as well as economic isolation is clear.


That’s why The Cares Family is seeking applications for The Multiplier – to help people to grow their local connections so that everyone can feel part of a changing world, rather than left behind by it. It is inviting applications from community leaders in Northern Ireland that have: 


  • A locally run, agile, community-led initiative that is at least six months old;
  • Identified a social issue and developed a model that works to solve it;
  • Already demonstrated impact;
  • The ambition and a plan to expand that impact;
  • A model that has the potential to make systemic or cultural change.


To support this first cohort, Multipliers will receive: 


  • A £10,000 grant towards project or living costs, provided by UnLtd;
  • Eight half-day workshops over eight months (starting in January 2021), on community-building, storytelling, adaptive leadership, evaluation in the age of new power, systems change, inclusion, fundraising, and coalition building;
  • The opportunity for further optional training from UnLtd;
  • Monthly mentoring calls with a coach to help them meet their potential;
  • A film made and distributed about the local relationships they have built or sustained, and a profile of their work online;
  • Invitations to national events and speaking opportunities;
  • Access to a community of nine other leaders sharing ideas and learning.


To apply for the programme, potential Multipliers must fill out a short application form on The Cares Family website by Tuesday, November 3nd, at 11 am.


The Cares Family’s Founder and Obama Fellow, Alex Smith said:


"Crises have a tendency to reveal things that we long knew were there, but which we'd been too blind, too scared or too selfish to do anything about.

"In 2020, what has been revealed is the depth and breadth of our individual, collective, and national loneliness and the insidiousness of the social, economic, systemic, and discriminatory disconnections that underpin it.

"The Cares Family are excited to share our learning about new ways to bring people together – and to build a cohort of changemakers helping people build connection in our disconnected age.”


Mark Norbury, CEO of UnLtd, commented:

“Alex is one of UnLtd’s Pioneers – a visionary changing the way we think and act so we can be more connected across generations and neighbourhoods. 

“We are delighted to support him and the outstanding Cares Family to find, fund and support grassroots leaders unleashing the potential of communities across the UK.”