“Lockdown brought an abrupt end to exercise classes, walking sports and outdoor activities. It became increasingly difficult for older people to stay mobile, and we know the negative impact sedentary behaviour can have on physical health” (Age Scotland 2020).

There’s a real concern that we are facing a deconditioning pandemic within our older population as a result of the ongoing COVID lockdown measures. As people are required to stay indoors more, simple exercise such as walking and shopping has decreased which is impacting on people’s physical ability. The reduction in muscle and bone mass leads to a higher risk of falls and hip fractures and long-term conditions such as cardiovascular disease, dementia and diabetes which makes our older population less resilient to fight off other common illnesses such as the flu. There’s also the psychological impact of less social interaction which can lead to isolation and depression.

The Act as One Ageing Well Programme is providing some funding for community grants across Bradford District and Craven to encourage grass-roots community-based initiatives which will encourage people who are over 40 who are at risk of deconditioning to be more active. The primary focus for this funding will be on the over 65s, but proposals for work with the 40-65s at risk of deconditioning will also be considered.

The VCS Alliance will be running this Small Grant Funding Programme, and is partnering with Active Bradford and Living Well to encourage opportunities and connections between initiatives.

The intention is that the funding will promote the values and principles of the Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) approach which builds on the assets that are found in the community and mobilises individuals, associations, and institutions to come together to realise and develop their strengths.

ABCD is a set of values and principles which:

  • Identifies and makes visible the health enhancing assets in a community
  • Sees citizens and communities as the co-producers of health and wellbeing, rather than the recipients of services
  • Promotes community networks, relationships and friendships that can provide caring, mutual help and empowerment
  • Identifies what has the potential to improve health and well-being
  • Supports individuals’ health and well-being through self- esteem, coping strategies, resilience skills, relationships, friendships, knowledge and personal resources
  • Empower communities to control their futures and create tangible resources such as services, funds and buildings

(Foot and Hopkins 2010)



  • To provide a range of initiatives for people over 40, but predominantly the over 65s, to improve their wellbeing, physical, mental and social functioning, and reduce health inequalities.


Programme Objectives:

  • Provide a range of creative solutions to support people to remain active both inside and outside of their own homes whilst isolating and post isolation for example (videos, exercise routines, simple activities, creative ideas to keep moving, hints and tips, diet and nutrition advice).
  • Encourage and support people to use technology, apps and videos to enable remote engagement in activities/exercise.


Project Description

The funding has been allocated in line with the proportion of the local populations aged 40 and over in each of the four Localities of Bradford District and Craven. These are:

  • Bradford North (CPs 1, 2A, 2B and 3), including: Shipley, Saltaire, Bingley, Baildon, Greengates, Idle, Eccleshill, Ravenscliffe
  • Bradford Central (CPs 4, 5 and 6), including: Girlington, Manningham, City Centre, Barkerend, Thornbury, Laisterdyke, West Bowling, Little Horton

  • Bradford South (CPs 7, 8, 9 and 10), including: Wibsey, Buttershaw, Lidget Green, Queensbury, Denholme, Wyke, Tong, Holme Wood, Bierley and Low Moor, Frizinghall, Lower Grange, Allerton, Clayton, Wrose

  • Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven, including: Keighley, Haworth, Steeton, Ilkley, Addingham, Burley in Wharfedale, Silsden, Craven District (Skipton, Settle, Bentham, Grassington etc)

If you are unsure which area your project will be delivered in, please contact us for advice.

The Decision-Making Panel are keen to see a range of creative activities to support those at risk of deconditioning to be active again, within Covid-secure restrictions. Examples of possible projects might include:

  • Activities people can do whilst in Lockdown or shielding at home e.g. dancing, seated exercises, pre-recorded or live-streamed activities, exercises using items and facilities commonly found around the house e.g. climbing stairs, lifting food tins etc.
  • Activities people can do outside e.g. activities in a garden, walking or cycling routes and challenges, walking or cycling pairs/small groups, safe open water swimming, gardening and green gyms etc.
  • Initiatives to support Digital Inclusion will be considered, providing that the primary focus of the proposal fits within the Aim and Objectives of the Programme.

Living Well have some excellent resources to help encourage physical activity on their website here: Their Active at Home resource is also very helpful, and can be downloaded from here:

The resources are available for 6 months only and therefore cannot be spent on things requiring funding going forward. Projects must be self-sustaining by the communities or services themselves.

Communities and neighbourhoods need to feel confident that with this is the opportunity to improve things for local people and that they will have control over potential solutions. This model has demonstrated to be an effective way of reaching projects and smaller organisations who can benefit from community development work as well as strengthening Community Partnerships and leaving a legacy within communities.

The VCS Alliance are providing the following:

  • Project set up
  • Central financial administration and distribution
  • Collation of monitoring and final evaluation


Criteria for applicants

  • This funding is only open to not-for-profit Voluntary and Community Sector organisations and Social Enterprises. Private businesses, sole traders, individuals or statutory organisations are not eligible.
  • Projects must demonstrate how the funding will be used to support the Aims and Objectives of the funding, with the primary focus for this funding being on the over 65s, but proposals for work with the 40-65s at risk of deconditioning will also be considered.
  • Applicants must be able to explain how the project will be sustainable into the future, once the project period has finished.
  • Projects must describe how they will ensure that activities are delivered in Covid-secure ways.
  • Projects must not duplicate existing services or activities.
  • Projects must not cover work undertaken by existing statutory health and care services.
  • All successful projects will be required to register their activity with Active Bradford. A simple guide for how to do this will be provided to all successful applicants.


Application Process

There is a simple application process using a simple and accessible online form.

Applications will be assessed by an independent multi-agency and multi-disciplinary decision-making panel which will comprise of expert representatives from different sectors. The assessment will be based on how the group is planning to meet the stated priorities in their area of work, using an ABCD approach.

Please apply using the online form available here

The deadline for applications is Friday 30th April 2021 at 12pm.


Funding Available

Grants can be between £250 and £1500.

Organisations can apply for more than one grant in each Locality area, and in more than one Locality area. However, we expect this opportunity to be over-subscribed, so the Decision-Making Panel may decide to part fund some proposals, with the intention of ensuring a diverse range of projects and organisations are funded within a Locality to meet local needs.

For organisations who have previously received funding from The VCS Alliance, their history of compliance with monitoring requirements will be made available to the Decision-Making Panel. If you are unsure of your organisation’s history of compliance with monitoring requirements, please check before submitting your application.


Outcomes and Monitoring

Successful applicants will be required to report the following information about those they reach with their activity:

  • How their project went
  • The number of people reached
  • Their self-reported gender
  • Their self-reported age ranges (40-50, 51-65, 65+)
  • Their self-reported evidence of improving their wellbeing, physical, mental and social functioning
  • Case Studies
  • Evidence of how the grant money was spent
  • Evidence of project activity using photos, videos, newspaper clippings etc.

The deadline for returning a Progress Update about your project is Monday 7th June 2021.

Progress Updates should be submitted online (a link will be sent to successful applicants)

The deadline for returning your final End of Project Report is Friday 24th September 2021.

End of Project Reports should be submitted online (a link will be sent to successful applicants)


A copy of this guidance is available to download below.