Carer’s Innovation Fund

The Carer’s Innovation Fund* seeks to invest in projects that develop new and different approaches to replacement care (for adults 18+). Care may be regulated or unregulated.

Devon County Council and NHS Devon CCG have made grants of between £1,000 and £15,000 available to organisations – including care providers and personal assistants, and groups of carers themselves who can develop and provide innovative opportunities that will give carers a break, during COVID-19 and beyond.

We invite applications from organisations (or groups of carers, supported by such an organisation) who want to run a project which will test out a new method of delivering or helping carers to access replacement care, considering the current challenges surrounding Covid-19. The project idea must provide or enable carers to access breaks, education, employment, volunteering or leisure. Some examples of the types of ideas we are looking for are given in the recent press release.

Individual carers cannot apply for this funding. However, local organisations may apply on the behalf of a group of carers. If you are a carer and have a new idea, please get in touch with a local community organisation or care group who may apply to run a project on your behalf.

The fund will support both Capital and Revenue expenditure. However, costs relating to usual business operation, or actual delivery of care will not be eligible. i.e. This programme cannot fund the costs of the actual delivery of replacement care, but it is designed to support the costs of organisations trying something new.

Applications must be submitted by the deadline of 12 November 2020.

Who can apply?

The following types of organisation are eligible to apply for this fund:

  • Voluntary agencies
  • Existing or intending independent providers of care
  • Businesses that have not previously provided care
  • Groups of carers wishing to trial alternative proposals
  • Shared Lives providers
  • Parish or town councils

The fund may also consider different types of organisation which are not on this list.

Groups of carers who do not have a formal status/organisation can apply if they have a voluntary or private sector organisation willing to administer the funds for them. Groups of carers require written confirmation that this organisation are willing to administer funds on the group’s behalf. In this case, the application and grant funding agreement must be signed by that organisation as ‘Lead Applicant’.

Applicants may be based outside of the Devon County Council (DCC) administration area, however, they must support adult carers who live in the Devon County Council administration area. Applicants will be asked to declare that their proposal will benefit Carers 18+ of Adults 18+ who live in Devon.

What kind of projects are eligible?

Applications are invited for innovative proposals that support:

  • Provision of breaks: projects that provide care and/or support directly to the person for whom the Carer cares that is not bed-or buildings-based.
  • Enabling access to breaks that support carers to engage in: having time away from caring, take up education, employment, volunteering or leisure opportunities.

Projects must support carers to achieve at least one of the following outcomes:

  • Health and looking after myself: general health, emotional health, check-ups, vaccinations, screenings, healthy lifestyles
  • Safety, being safe and caring safely
  • At home: getting around, fire safety, security, home warmth and safety
  • Work, finance, and education
  • Control over my everyday life
  • Social contact and connection
  • Family and personal relationships
  • Looking after others
  • Making use of necessary facilities in the community
  • Support and care
  • Personal goals and achievements.

Applicants will be required to describe why the award is necessary, what the scheme will test and what the funds will be used for. DCC reserves the right not to make any awards if the proposals are not considered sufficiently innovative, scalable or practical.

Projects should be capable of running longer-term within a ‘business as usual’ framework, such as, as a commissioned service, using the families’ private resources or a direct payment.

The funding will support development work and/or risk associated with trying something innovative. Should the scheme fail, the intention is that learning should be possible from that outcome.

The grant can be used for development and/or to cover business risk costs of trying something new. It cannot be used to pay staff or other costs of the actual delivery of care which are chargeable to the service user or the Council. It cannot be used to cover the running costs of the applicant’s business on its usual business model.

How much money can you apply for?

You can apply for a minimum grant of £1,000 and a maximum grant of £15,000.

The grant can only be claimed after the work is complete and has been paid for. Therefore, you must show that you have sufficient funds to pay for the project costs upfront until you receive the grant payment.

Projects may commence from end-November 2020, (following a successful application and return of a signed grant agreement) and must end by the end of March 2021. There will be no extensions granted to projects.

How to apply

Applicants must first ensure that all of the following eligibility criteria apply to them/their project:

  • If the project will provide care of the type that is regulated, the provider must be registered to provide this care and not be subject to a current Safeguarding enquiry. All providers must also have in place appropriate safeguarding adults, prevent and modern slavery policies.
  • The applicant has available and in place, any resources or capacity required to run the project, for example, can cover the costs to be paid for by the grant until the grant is payable; have identified personnel or other things necessary to run the project; have identified ‘customer’ carers or can evidence how these will be attracted.
  • The applicant can show their organisation is an appropriate legal entity, or if a group of carers have such an organisation which is prepared to act as lead provider for the project.
  • The project must be innovative and fit one of the project themes. This may be innovative ways to provide replacement care, and/or innovative ways to access replacement care. We define an innovative project as something which is:
    • outside of your usual business model
    • not currently being done in the area/in this way
    • likely to provide learning that is in a new area which is scalable, replicable, and provides value to the Authority for carers in (a) definable need(s) group(s)

If all of the above apply to your organisation/project, you are eligible to apply. Please request an application form via email.

All applications must be submitted by 12 November 2020. Applications submitted after this date will not be considered.

The application process is competitive. This means that even those who submit a quality application may not be funded, because this scheme aims to support a range of projects, to cover a variety of needs, geographies and demographics. 

Contact details

Please email

* The Carer’s Innovation fund was previously known as the Replacement Care Innovation Fund. Any previous documentation or publications referring to the Replacement Care Innovation Fund are still valid and applicable to the Carer’s Innovation Fund.