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Introducing the Which? Fund

 

Welcome, and thank you for your interest in the Which? Fund. We’re so excited to share our new initiative with you. 

 

Which? is the UK’s consumer champion, here to make life simpler, fairer and safer for everyone. We do this by identifying and tackling consumer harm, holding businesses to account, influencing politicians and lawmakers and making change happen. 

 

Consumer harm takes many different forms, and is often difficult to spot. This has never been more true than in digital markets, where data-driven personalisation and automated decision making create new risks, as well as opportunities for consumers. We also know that different groups of consumers can have very different experiences, and that some groups - for example, women, people living with disabilities or health conditions, low-income households and members of diverse ethnic communities - might be more exposed to harm than other groups, or experience different types of harm.

 

 

A new way of working

 

At Which?, we want to help tackle all these harms, and regularly explore the experiences of different groups in our own research and policy work. But we know that sometimes we won’t be the best placed to investigate, or find the right solutions, especially for diverse and disadvantaged communities. We want to make sure that the voices of these groups are heard, and that action is taken to tackle the consumer harms that they face. 

 

Through the Which? Fund, the Consumers' Association* is offering funding to UK charities and universities that have exempt charitable status to explore the harms these groups of consumers are facing, and to identify pragmatic solutions. We want these projects to drive real change for consumers - through policy, regulation or changes in practice. 

 

This is a new way of working for us, so we are starting small, and looking to learn along the way. Our first call for applications is now open, and if you work for a UK registered charity or university, we’d love to hear your ideas for projects to investigate and tackle consumer harm.

 

 

What are we looking for? 

 

We want to support a small number of research projects aiming to: 

 

  • Improve understanding of consumer harm, particularly issues affecting diverse and disadvantaged communities 

  • Identify evidence-led, pragmatic solutions to consumer harm 

  • Develop and encourage collaborative working to provide a more powerful voice for UK consumers from all backgrounds.

 

This research should build on what is already known, bringing new evidence and identifying innovative solutions. We want to achieve real change, so insight must be targeted to audiences with the power to make a difference, and communicated in a compelling way. We are keen to support organisations using innovative methodologies to uncover consumer harm. 

 

To help us maximise the impact from this work, we also ask that applications align with one of our four impact areas: money, scams, digital life and consumer rights and protections. 

 

Further details on these areas and what we’re looking for are available in our Guidance for Applicants, and a quick guide to what makes a successful application, here.

 

 

 

What next? 

 

The deadline for stage 1 applications is 11:59pm on Wednesday, 29th September, with stage 2 launching for those shortlisted in November. If you’d like to apply for funding, please email Linda at funding@which.co.uk to receive an application form. 

 

If you don’t work for an eligible institution (a UK registered charity or a university that has exempt charitable status) we’d love it if you could spread the word instead to help us find the very best ways to tackle consumer harm together.

 

*Which? is a not-for-profit organisation wholly owned by the Consumers’ Association (registered charity no. 296072). The Which? Fund is funded by the Consumers’ Association.

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