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Community Investment Scheme Round 3

About the scheme  

The Community Investment Scheme is part of NHS Blood and Transplant’s commitment to build support for donation amongst Black, Asian, mixed heritage and minority ethnic communities.  

The scheme funds community and faith/beliefs organisations to drive awareness, understanding and behaviour change. We know that trusted local organisations can be effective at achieving these goals due to their specialist knowledge, understanding and footprint in the community. 

Now in its third round, the scheme is broadening its scope to cover a range of health inequalities. Having previously focused solely on organ donation after death, we are now looking for applications across three areas of activity: 

  • Projects engaging Black, Asian, mixed heritage and minority ethnic communities in deceased organ donation (Total funding pot of £250,000) 
  • Projects engaging Black African and/or Black Caribbean communities in blood donation (Total funding pot of £150,000) 
  • Projects covering a combination of blood donation and deceased organ donation (funded using a combination of the above funding pots) 
  • Community Engagement Leads initiativea new arm of the Community Investment Scheme, funding strategic location-based partners to lead on engaging local networks in blood and deceased organ donation (Total funding pot of £200,000) 

Applicants will need to consider the current uncertainty around COVID-19 and the possibility of further periods of lockdown in any applications. For this reason, we will be encouraging applications that focus on digital delivery, and all projects will need to have a digital contingency plan for any face to face work. 

Watch a workshop on adapting community work to digital platforms 

To date, the scheme has supported organisations to deliver 50 community-led projects, organising a wide range of innovative activities to engage diverse audiences with donation. 

You can read more about the first 25 projects funded in the latest Community Investment Scheme evaluation report, or read a summary of the projects funded last year (PDF 271KB).

Why the scheme is needed

Ethnicity is a multidimensional concept with many links to health. The joint blood and organs Community Investment Scheme will help tackle some of the health inequalities affecting people from Black, Asian, mixed heritage and minority ethnic backgrounds. It aims to address the shortage of Black blood donors, whose blood is used to treat conditions like sickle cell, and the shortage of ethnically matched organs for those waiting for a transplant in all BAME communities. 

Establishing and building trust in these communities is key. Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19, and research shows they are less likely to view government policies in a positive light or trust government messages.  

NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) is not immune to these systemic challenges, as highlighted by June 2020 report. A number of initiatives are now in place to address the issues identified in the report, recognising the role of ethnicity in our work around blood and organ donation.   

Through the Community Investment Scheme, we aim to work with grassroots organisations to engage, educate and recruit more donors as clinical data shows that ethnically matched blood and organs provide the best treatment. 

We hope to work with trusted and authentic voices in the community to deliver these messages and make a real change for those whose lives will be improved or saved by blood and organ donation.  

It is with building trust in mind, that this year we are also launching our Community Engagement Leads initiative, that will fund community organisations to create grassroots networks to promote organ and blood donation in partnership with NHSBT. This work will be highly focused, working with organisations in specific locations, and with specified ethnic groups. 

How to apply 

Organisations can apply for funding using the application form relevant to their requested funding amount. Organisations may make an application to more than one funding band, but NHSBT will not fund more than one bid from each organisation.  

Please ensure you read the following pages and documentation before you submit an application. They provide detail about which organisations can apply for the different areas of activity, how much organisations can apply for, and what the criteria are for funding. 


The deadline for this round of funding is 2nd December 2020 at 5pm.  

Support for applicants 

To support bidders with their funding applications for the Community Investment Scheme, NHS Blood and Transplant held two free workshops, open to anyone interested in applying. 

It is not essential to have attended the workshops to put in an application for funding.

Workshop 1: An introduction to the scheme 

This session took place on 6 November 2020.

Watch a recording of Workshop 1

Workshop 1 slides (PDF 2.7MB)

Workshop 1 Q&A (PDF 214KB)

The session covered: 

  • An overview of the scheme and context 
  • The clinical need for blood and organs in Black, Asian, Mixed heritage and minority ethnic communities 
  • Insight from current projects  
  • The importance of real-life stories 
  • Answering your questions about the scheme 


Workshop 2: Making a great application 

This session took place on 11 November 2020 

Watch a recording of Workshop 2

Workshop 2 slides (PDF 925KB)

Workshop 2 Q&A (PDF 194KB)

The session covered: 

  • Writing SMART objectives 
  • Measuring success 
  • Parallel planning 
  • An opportunity for Q&A 
Convalescent plasma

Due to the timings of the scheme, we will not be funding activity around convalescent plasma in this round of funding. We are, however, looking to work closely with community organisations in this area over the coming months. If you are interested in supporting this work, please email us at partnerships@nhsbt.nhs.uk