In its Inception Framework, Birmingham and Solihull Integrated Care System sets out a series of radical ambitions both to transform how health and social care services are run, but at the same time to give real focus to improving outcomes and tackling inequalities. 

To help to achieve this, we have created an £25.5 million Fairer Futures Fund to support community, clinical and professionally-led innovation over the course of 2022/23. 

The Fairer Futures Fund is designed to fund activities that will contribute to improving outcomes and tackling inequality. Initially, the majority of these may be on a very localised or team-based level, with a view to some initiatives creating new ways of working that can be scaled up and adopted across Birmingham and Solihull.

The Fairer Futures Fund can enable a whole raft of work targeted at delivering against the four key aims set out in the Inception Framework, namely:

  • Improving population health and healthcare;
  • Tackling unequal outcomes and access;
  • Enhancing productivity and value; and, 
  • Supporting the broader social and economic development of Birmingham and Solihull.
Governance of funds in Birmingham and Solihull

There are two Place Committees (one for Birmingham, one for Solihull) responsible for allocating funds. Place Committees have a specific remit to act with autonomy and ensure decisions are made locally around the health and care needs of the local population. 

The fund has been split with £21m going into the Birmingham fund, and £4.5m in the Solihull fund.

The small grant scheme launched in Birmingham in March and Solihull in May. Launching this part of the fund first enables smaller-scale investments to make a meaningful impact quickly in communities or groups where it is needed most.

Starting small will also provide valuable feedback on how the main funding is allocated and how it may be possible to scale up and adopt smaller projects across Birmingham and Solihull to bring a wider benefit.

Solihull applications

Solihull's small grant scheme launched on 24 May 2023. 

Grants of up to £10,000 are available to community-based organisations that are seeking to deliver activities to tackle health inequalities and the drivers of poor health in Solihull. 

Applications should support at least one of Solihull's three local priorities: integrating services in the community, improving our approach to prevention and better support around mental health – from prevention through to crisis.

Bidding organisations need to think creatively and collaboratively about how their project can make a real difference to closing the health gap and helping improve physical and mental health and well-being. Ideas could be simple or complex, big or small, but should be innovative.

How to apply

Heart of England Community Foundation has been commissioned to run the scheme on behalf of NHS Birmingham and Solihull ICB and Solihull’s Health and Well-being Board, so bidding organisations should apply on their website.

Birmingham applications

Birmingham's small grant scheme has now closed to new applications. The Place Committee has reviewed applications and successful bidding organisations are being notified. More information on the successfull bids will be available shortly.

  • Small community groups grants of £50,000 or less

  • Grants and support for early ideas from professionals and clinicians to enable exploring and trialling new approaches – helping to hard-wire innovative ways of thinking and working 

  • Six £500,000 Challenge Funds aligned with the priorities set by the Integrated Care Board or to support issues identified by services or Place-boards

  • Funding new networks; supporting the development of networks of clinicians and professionals, and community networks

  • Funding public/private partnerships to tackle particular issues or to commission services which don’t exist at the moment

  • Patient networks for behaviour dependent disease, such as diabetes, obesity, addiction or mental health

To enable as much creativity and innovative bids for funding, we are committed to the following principles:

The funding is easily attainable

We need to avoid the temptation to create an over-burdensome application proves, especially when it comes to small community grants.

The Fairer Futures Fund shouldn’t just be about money

We need to ensure that we can provide the skills and support to projects to give them the greatest chance of success.

The Fairer Futures Fund isn’t controlled just by the centre

Wherever possible, funding should be allocated through the Place Boards – this will help ensure decisions are taken as locally as possible and give the Place Boards greater purpose during their inception year.

We accept the potential for failure

We should be explicit in setting out that we expect that not every project will succeed and factor a lower bar for risk when assessing applications.

Applications open for  Fairer Futures Funding for Solihull initiatives

We are now inviting formal applications for Fairer Futures Funding (FFF) for projects in Solihull.

What is the Fairer Futures Fund (FFF)?

  • Launched by NHS Birmingham and Solihull Integrated Care System (BSol ICS), FFF aims to support community, clinical and professionally-led innovation
  • FFF projects will be expected to align to local priorities to improve outcomes and reduce health inequalities
  • They should be be based on evidence of need; include community engagement and co-production; test out new ideas; and encourage innovative solutions to local problems within the key themes of prevention, community integration and mental health
  • The Fund is not intended to be used to directly standardise existing delivery models or plug funding gaps in existing services

What projects will be eligible for Fairer Futures Funding?

This year, up to a total of £2m will be awarded to Solihull projects. Proposals must demonstrate working/input from more than one organisation, one of which must be from the VCFSE sector. All organisations included in the proposal must be able to demonstrate an existing local connection or be able to specify how they would build local connections.

The formal process is being managed through Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire’s Joint E-Tendering System (CSW-JETS) at CSW-JETS, where further details are available. Applications must be submitted through this system.

The deadline for applications is 18 December 2023 and successful applicants will be notified by the end of January 2024.