Comic Relief and Paul Hamlyn Foundation launch million pound digital development fund, as part of Tech for Good

Comic Relief and Paul Hamlyn Foundation launch million pound digital development fund, as part of Tech for Good

  • New ‘Build’ fund launches today to support UK non-profits to test and develop digital service delivery solutions
  • Applications are open online until 12 February  
  • Visit for more information 


Tuesday 12th January 2021: Today Paul Hamlyn Foundation and Comic Relief have together launched a new £1 million digital development fund, as part of their joint Tech for Good programme. ‘Build’ will support UK non-profits to strengthen their services. 

The Tech for Good programme was originally developed in 2016 in response to the need for charities to use technology to explore different approaches to delivering better services. 

Now, the Covid-19 pandemic has increased the drive and need for organisations to explore how digital and design capabilities can help transform or maximise their work in supporting vulnerable people even further.

The programme will offer grants of up to £70,000 over a nine-month period from June 2021, alongside access to technical support from experts provided by CAST (the Centre for the Acceleration of Social Technology). It is available to individual not-for-profit organisations or those working in partnership to define, test and develop digital solutions that meet a social need or challenge, or aim to adapt or re-purpose existing technology to do so. 

Moira Sinclair, Chief Executive of Paul Hamlyn Foundation said: “The Covid-19 crisis has forced charities to adapt their services at pace. We hope that our Tech for Good programme with Comic Relief will help them to explore and develop the digital solutions they need to improve the way they work and the support they provide to people and communities. The programme is not only about creating a new product or tool – existing technology can be re-purposed or adapted. It’s about understanding where and how a digital approach can make a positive difference for organisations and those they work with.”

Comic Relief’s CEO Ruth Davison added: “The Tech for Good programme offers charitable organisations the opportunity to build digital solutions that strengthen the vital services they provide. I’m pleased we are able to work with Paul Hamlyn Foundation on this key programme and support projects across the country as they continue to help thousands of vulnerable people throughout this challenging time.’

After co-funding four rounds of Tech for Good from 2017-2019, as well as designing and launching an early stage discovery fund ‘Explore’ in 2020, this will be the final application round in their three-year partnership.

The application process is open to UK charities with incomes of between £75,000 and £10 million. 

Comic Relief and CAST (Centre for the Acceleration of Social Technology), the support partner for this programme, will be running a Q&A webinar offering additional guidance on Thursday, 28 Jan (10-11am).

Applications close at 12pm on 12 February 2021. 

Visit Comic Relief for further information: 


More about the fund and Tech for Good:

Applications should address one of the following core issue areas: A Safe Place To Be, Fighting For Gender Justice, Children Survive and Thrive, and Global Mental Health Matters. Applications addressing challenges related to disability outside of the themes specified above are also welcome, acknowledging the critical potential of digital technology in tackling this issue.

Tech for Good also aims to support digital transformation across organisations by providing an opportunity to learn and iterate through the design journey, as well as collaborate and share learning with others in the cohort and sector. 

Flexibility is embedded into the programme – organisations will be able to change the direction of development in response to user voice and feedback.

The 2020-21 funding approach follows a period of learning, listening and reflection by Comic Relief and Paul Hamlyn Foundation after co-funding the fourth round of Tech for Good in 2019. To allow organisations working to embed digital solutions with more flexibility, the funders have increased the investment amount available to applicants, and relaxed requirements around partnering with a digital agency by the application stage, with support provided after kicking off.

‘Build’ funding will be most suitable for those who can demonstrate they have undertaken some early stage, scoping work around their proposal. The funders have previously supported discovery work, e.g. through the ‘Explore’ programme in 2020.

Central to good tech development are organisation staff as well as the people they serve; the 2020-21 Tech for Good approach aims to create an easier digital journey and to enable organisations to explore the ways digital can have impact beyond innovation.

Previously funded projects in the latest round included the development of a trauma-informed mental health support tool for people who have experienced domestic abuse, a programme to digitise food vouchers for fruit and vegetable markets, and a game to address the safeguarding and protection needs of deaf children. 

For further details on previous grant recipients of the Tech for Good programme, please visit the Tech for Good hub.


About Paul Hamlyn Foundation

Paul Hamlyn Foundation was established by Paul Hamlyn in 1987. He died in 2001 and left most of his estate to the Foundation, creating one of the largest independent grant-making foundations in the UK.

We use our resources to support social change, working towards a just and equitable society in which everyone, especially young people, can realise their full potential and enjoy fulfilling and creative lives. 


About Comic Relief

Comic Relief raises money to support people living incredibly tough lives. Through humour and stories of hope, we’ve shown that people can make a massive difference. We fund hundreds of amazing organisations who are working on the ground to support the most vulnerable people and communities in society including many of those hardest hit by the coronavirus crisis. This includes vulnerable children and young people, people who are homeless or who have been forced to flee their homes, women and families at risk of domestic abuse and those struggling with existing or new mental health problems. 

For more information, please visit 

Comic Relief, which is the operating name of Charity Projects, registered charity 326568 (England/Wales); SC039730 (Scotland)

Jamie Langstone