The King’s Fund has published a new strategy for the next five years.

The strategy focuses on three strategic priorities: building healthier places and communities; tackling the worst health outcomes; and supporting people and leaders working in health and care.

The new strategy marks a shift in how The King’s Fund will work, with a stronger focus on improving health and care services for people who currently have the poorest health outcomes. It also signals a renewed emphasis on collaborating with partners, including the voluntary and community sector.

Following the publication of its strategy, The King’s Fund has also announced a major new partnership with The National Lottery Community Fund that will see up to £3 million of funding available to help voluntary and community organisations boost the health and wellbeing of their communities.

The Healthy communities together programme, which is due to launch in the coming weeks, will give charities funding and development support to build partnerships with the NHS and local authorities in their area. It will combine the health, care and leadership expertise of The King’s Fund with grant funding from The National Lottery Community Fund.

Many voluntary and community organisations are thinly stretched and unable to dedicate time to sharing their knowledge of the community in order to shape local health and care plans. Charities can also face difficulties navigating complex NHS and local authority contracting rules and the financial challenge of chasing short-term funding from national and local government.

Applications for the programme are due to open in the coming months.

Commenting on the new strategy and the Healthy communities together programme, Richard Murray, Chief Executive of The King’s Fund, said:

“The King’s Fund was originally established to support voluntary hospitals in London and now has a long history of working to improve health and care in England. I am delighted that this new chapter in the organisation’s history is starting with a major new programme to unlock the potential of the voluntary sector to improve people’s health.

“Voluntary and community organisations provide the types of care, support and advocacy that the public sector can struggle to offer. But despite organisations working towards the same goal, in the same place, often supporting the same people, the two sectors can struggle to work together.

“The Healthy communities together programme will provide the much-needed funding and leadership support to build long-lasting partnerships between local charities, community groups and public sector organisations. By working together hand-in-glove, voluntary sector, NHS and local authority organisations will be able to have a bigger impact on the health of their communities.”

Commenting on the Healthy communities together programme, Elly De Decker, England Director at The National Lottery Community Fund, said:

“Whether volunteers delivering a service or professionals striving to provide the best possible health and care, people understand, better than anyone, what is needed to improve their health.

‘That is why we’re excited about this partnership, which will enable these sectors to work better together, encourage the exchange of information and ideas, and will empower people to bring about positive change. Because when people are put in the lead, our communities thrive.”

The Healthy communities together programme will be open to applications from voluntary and public sector organisations working together in a local area in England. Up to six pilot areas will be chosen to start work later this year, with the programme specifically designed to target areas experiencing the most disadvantage.