GM COVID-19 Community Champions Targeted Communications Grants

Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) is seeking grant applications from GM Voluntary, Community, Faith and Social Enterprise (VCSE) organisations to support GM residents who are at higher risk of lasting health, social and financial impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic and are less likely to engage with mainstream communications approaches. This grants programme is administered by GMCVO.

Grants will be used to tailor and target a forthcoming Greater Manchester-wide “safely living with COVID-19” campaign (running from late September and for the remainder of 2021), to ensure effective reach of appropriate messaging and support to some specific priority audiences of higher risk/lower engagement. 

A total of £51,000 is available. To enable organisations of all sizes and capacities to apply, it is proposed that this will be awarded as:

  • 7 micro grants of between £50 and £1,000

  • 4 small grants of between £1,000 and £5,000

  • 2 large grants of between £5,000 and £12,000

The exact allocations of the overall funding will be determined by the range of applications received.


GMCA has secured funding from the national Community Champions fund to develop insight-led campaigns and communications across Greater Manchester. These intend to inspire and support all residents to safely and confidently live through and fairly recover from the pandemic. 

The “safely living with COVID-19”  campaign is due to begin in late September, focusing in particular on these key desired continued behaviours:

  • Testing if experiencing coronavirus symptoms or feeling unwell

  • Twice weekly rapid-testing for people without symptoms to manage their personal risk

  • Getting both doses of the coronavirus vaccine and a booster if offered

  • Self-isolating if testing positive or a close contact of someone with the virus when not fully vaccinated 

  • Quarantining when travelling from red list countries, or if otherwise needing to do so

  • Cautious actions while coronavirus rates remain high:
    - safe return to workplaces
    - wearing of face coverings in crowded areas and on public transport
    - meeting people outside or letting fresh air indoors
    - minimising the number, proximity and duration of social contacts
    - using the NHS COVID-19 App and NHS COVID-19 Pass to help to limit the risk of infection 

It also aims to support and empower residents by signposting to support for significant challenges being faced as a result of the pandemic, such as:

  • Mental wellbeing

  • Finance and employment

  • Food poverty

  • Education and skills

  • Wider health challenges/conditions

A wide range of national and Greater Manchester-specific research – including GMCA's Greater Manchester ‘safely managing COVID-19’ resident surveys  – has shown that some groups have been more affected by the pandemic than others, and that some are more readily reached by population-level communications and engagement approaches.

Those shown to be potentially disadvantaged in these respects include, but are not limited to:
•    People aged 16-24
•    Parents / carers of young children aged 0-4 years
•    People from BAME communities
•    Muslim and Jewish residents
•    People for whom English is not their first language
•    People with a disability or long-term health condition
•    Carers and residents where someone in their household has previously been told to shield as they are at higher risk from coronavirus
•    People who identify as LGBTQ+
•    Residents who have served in the armed forces
•    Those living in the ‘most deprived’ communities

What we're looking for

Funded projects should focus on communications activities to ensure that the “safely living with COVID-19” campaign messaging can effectively reach and appropriately engage specific audiences. Typical activities that could be featured include:

  • Sharing existing online, digital, social media, audio or visual campaign content.

  • Producing and using additional materials consistent with the overall campaign – such as in different formats, languages or visual representations or featuring supplementary messaging to cover impacts, risks or issues experienced by the intended audience.

  • Displaying and/or issuing of materials at community sites, venues or events.    

All funded partners will be provided with ready to use campaign materials, editable templates and guidelines/instructions for adapting existing content, and overall messaging for production of additional materials. 

Who can apply


  1. Must be a Voluntary, Community, Faith or Social Enterprise (VCSE) organisation operating in Greater Manchester for the benefit of Greater Manchester residents (If you are not constituted you must have a constituted organisation willing to accept responsibility for managing your grant).
    - Applications from CIC’s will be accepted if they have a minimum of three directors, a membership and an asset lock with a specified organisation named.
    - Applications from Companies limited by guarantee will need a minimum of three directors, and within their Articles of Association a statement about their purpose and social impact, a not for profit clause, a director remuneration clause as well as a clause stating that assets will be distributed to another not-for-profit organisation fulfilling similar objects if they dissolve.

  2. Must either have a bank account requiring two signatures in the name of your organisation or in the name of the organisation managing the grant for you.

  3. Projects must reach into all or many of Greater Manchester’s 10 localities.

  4. Projects must coincide with the main campaign period which runs from late September through to the end of 2021. (you are not required to cover the entirety of this period or could cover a longer period should funding allow for this)
    We do not expect you to begin working on this before decisions are announced on 13th October.

  5. Must commit to providing brief reporting updates in the first week of each month of delivery and a final project completion report.


Applicants should:

  1. Tell us which audience they intend to reach and which theme(s)/issue(s)/risk(s)  the project would cover.

  2. Tell us when the project funded by this grant would start and end.

  3. Explain the nature of their relationship/experience with supporting the audience/s they intend to reach.
    This should include any previous work on the themes/issues/risks the project intends to cover.

  4. Explain why it is important that their project is funded.
    This should include how the target audience is currently impacted or at risk from the pandemic and/or how are they currently excluded from existing communications approaches.

  5. Describe what communication activities will be delivered by this grant to ensure that the “safely living with COVID-19” campaign messaging can effectively reach and appropriately engage with their target audience/s.
    This should include details on specific channels/approaches, whether the project will use existing campaign materials, adapt existing campaign materials or create additional ones.

  6. Tell us how many GM residents they expect to reach through this project.

  7. Explain what results they expect to achieve from this project.

  8. Explain how they intend to measure the reach and results from this project.

  9. Provide a clear breakdown of costs that relate to the project proposed.

  10. SMALL & LARGE GRANTS ONLY - If the applicant has received local Community Champions funding they will be required to explain how this GM-level funding will supplement rather than duplicate the locally funded activity.

  11. LARGE GRANTS ONLY - Provide key evidence/data/insight to support the case for why this project is needed.

Key Dates

Launch:                              Friday 10th September 2021
Online briefing event:  Wednesday 15th September 2021 15:00 - 16:00
Closing date:                    Thursday 30th September 2021 at 17:00
Notification of decision: Wednesday 13th October 2021

Decision Making

All applications will be scored against the eligibility and criteria above.

Decisions will be made using the scores generated as well as the need to ensure that the grants will benefit a wide spread of people across Greater Manchester.

Organisations are able to apply for funding for multiple projects if they intend to reach different audiences with different projects.




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