Empowering Change with Comic Relief 

Foundation News

Empowering Change with Comic Relief 

13 Sep 2021

We are very excited to announce the launch of the Comic Relief Empowering Change Programme. This 24 month programme is responding to the growing need for small locally led groups to gain flexible support to enable them to continue to work and support communities. The total amount of funding available will be £680,000. £510,000 initially allocated towards the Core Funding, and £130,000 towards the Micro Fund.

In the previous two years we have awarded over £1 million to 196 communities through Comic Relief funding supporting a range of pressing grassroots issues.

The Crisis Cafe CIC, funded last year through Comic Relief, has made a significant impact in the Newry community. Creating a safe and welcoming place for young people who find themselves in crisis or in need of mental health support. The team empowers young people to seek help with a range of early intervention services to support them.


“The cafe has created a space for young people including myself, where we can use our voice to be heard. We can directly talk about youth worries and injustices in our society, no matter how small or large. Having this space allows us to raise awareness around school issues, LGBT+ matters and the overall mental wellbeing of young people in lockdown, has made us feel seen and validated in many ways” (young person aged 17)


This new Empowering change programme aims to recognise the importance of local community organisations. The fund offers both small and large grants which focus on supporting one of the four priorities:

  • Children survive and thrive
  • Global health matters
  • A safe place to be
  • Fighting for gender justice

Core Fund Aim:

The aim of the core fund is to provide funding for the essential costs that the group needs funding for.  This could include core costs, and can include expenditure that may not be connected to delivering projects e.g. venue hire, employee costs.

Grants of between £15,000 to £30,000 will be available, to be spent over a period of 2 years.

Micro Fund Aim:

The aim of the micro fund is to fund locally led organisations with income levels of £30,000 or below, to begin to tackle issues that may have been further exacerbated as a result of the covid pandemic, and that align with at least one of Comic Relief’s strategic priority areas. See here.

Grants of between £1,000 to £3,000 will be available, to be spent within a period of 12 months.

Orla Black, Grants Director, “We are delighted to be managing yet another round of Comic Relief funding to communities across Northern Ireland.  This fund highlights the importance of local grassroots communities and the vital role they play. That is why we have developed this exciting programme to provide two flexible funds, offering both small and large grants, to enable organisations to support their local communities.”

Clare Kiely Head of Funding & Approaches at Comic Relief. “We are excited to continue to work in partnership with the Community Foundation for NI for the next two years. Making sure that Comic Relief funding continues to reach communities across Northern Ireland. We believe in the power of flexible funding and support. The Foundations approach to listening to local organisations led by local people and helping them to access funding to make real and lasting changes for communities is vital when ensuring that funding is available at the right time in the right place.”

Apply here. 


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