Mutual Aid Fund

Changing Ideas is partnering with The Social Change Nest to support the next iteration of the mutual aid movement in the UK post-pandemic.

– Applications for the Mutual Aid Fund are now closed –

If you applied, please note that we will be communicating our decision to all groups mid-August (rather than early August). We received over 150 applications(!) and so need a bit more time than anticipated to process them all. Thank you so much for your patience!

If you missed the application window you can still find out more about our support for groups and movements.

Supporting Mutual Aid groups post-pandemic

Are you part of a mutual aid group facing a transition as we emerge from COVID? Are you looking to make changes to adapt to new roles and challenges? Do you have an idea that could help your group move into the next stage? We want to support you! 

Please note that this fund is only open to UK-based applicants.

Apply now for up to £5,000 to support your Mutual Aid Group

About the grant

What you would get

We’re offering mutual aid funding grants of between £1,500 and £5,000. Successful grantees will be able to manage their funds through Open Collective, a platform designed to enable transparent money management for community groups. See here to find out how else we support community groups through this platform. 

In addition to funding, you’ll also become part of a community of grantees who share and learn from each other and support the wider mutual aid movement.

What do you need to do?

We want to make this as easy as possible for you. We just ask that you keep us updated and share your learnings. What does this look like?

  1. Apply using this application form (applications are now closed)
  2. If successful, join a call to learn how to use the Open Collective platform where you can safely and easily receive and manage your funds (unless you’re already on it)  
  3. Attend an informal catch-up session (virtual) halfway through implementation (27th Jan 2023) to let us know how things are going
  4. Join a virtual learning convening at the end of the nine months (16th June 2023) where all grant partners can share stories and learnings

What’s the timeline?

  • Applications are open from 6 June until 22 July
  • We’ll confirm successful applicants beginning of August
  • We’ll aim to disburse grants beginning of September
  • Groups will then get nine months to implement their activities
  • Final learning convening is planned for 16 June 2023


What do you need to apply?

  • Consider yourself a mutual aid group – you will need to meet two or more of the following criteria (those who fulfil all or most will be prioritised). We recognise that many of the below criteria are subjective – there will be space in the application form for you to add commentary/context as needed:
    • Believe in ‘solidarity not charity’
    • Are autonomous/independent (i.e. not affiliated to a larger/national organisation)
    • Are volunteer-led
    • Operate a flat structure/decision-making
    • Don’t require eligibility checks (i.e. no means testing on the community members you serve)
    • Operate absolute financial transparency and accountability
    • Meet immediate local needs
    • Practice radical inclusivity
    • Are committed to fundamental change/end to socioeconomic inequalities
  • Names of at least two group members to be our points of contact and the admins for your page on Open Collective (don’t worry – if you’re new, we’ll show you how it works)
  • Have an activity/project you’d like to test/implement that meets all of the following criteria:
    • Clearly helps your group adapt post-COVID
    • Demonstrates a key contribution to your group’s sustainability
    • Be completed within nine months
  • Be based in the UK
  • Be keen to share learnings with other mutual aid groups
  • This opportunity is open to both groups already hosted by The Social Change Nest on Open Collective as well as new groups unfamiliar with the platform

What will we fund?

We want to support groups who are in the process of transitioning and are facing distinct challenges in adapting post-COVID. This means funding specific projects/activities aimed to strengthen your group in a way that better responds to your reality post-COVID (e.g. evolving community needs or your group’s capacity).

Examples of what we can fund

  • Upskilling group members e.g. in their technological capacity
  • Piloting a programme that would help secure more sustainable sources of funding
  • Creating the capacity to design and implement a strategy/programme that would contribute to the sustainability of the group – this might involve paying an existing group member or hiring a consultant
  • Buying equipment necessary for the sustainability of the group – e.g. fridges for a food bank

What will we NOT fund?

Although we deeply understand the struggles of survival that many mutual aid groups are facing currently, we will not be able to fund activities that do not clearly indicate a contribution to your group’s sustainability

Examples of what we cannot fund

  • Onward granting to members of the public
  • Paying salaries/stipends for members to carry out business as usual activities
  • Buying core costs to continue business as usual activities, e.g. food bank supplies or stationary

How will we decide?

We consulted a steering committee made of representatives from various mutual aid and community groups to design our eligibility criteria. However, the actual shortlisting will be done by members of The Social Change Nest team using the criteria set out by the steering committee.

Our eligibility criteria is outlined in the section above. We will prioritise:

  • Groups that fulfil all or most of the criteria (see above)
  • Activities/projects that clearly demonstrate how they will contribute to the group’s sustainability
  • Activities/projects that show strong potential for learning

We are also keen to fund a variety of projects that range across different geographies within the UK as well as different causes.  

It’s worth noting that we hope for this to be the first of multiple rounds of funding, so even if you’re not successful this time, it’s possible that we will consider you for future opportunities.

How to apply

Apply now

Applications are now closed

Still have questions? Email us at

About us

Changing Ideas

Changing Ideas is a supporter and funder of ideas which can achieve lasting social change. Founded by philanthropist and photographer David Graham, the charity backs people, movements and organisations to challenge the status quo and make a positive difference.

The Social Change Nest

The Social Change Nest is a community interest company (CIC) and the non-profit sister to The Social Change Agency. They aim to transform the funding landscape by nurturing grassroots groups and enabling funders to support frontline social action.

Looking for more? Check out our website to explore other ways we can support your group, or read this blog about how to make the love last past COVID.

Apply now for up to £5,000 to support your Mutual Aid Group