“The Health Foundation has announced a new £2.1m programme for partnerships developing collaborative communities where people, families, health care professionals and researchers work together to improve health care.“
Alex Leach, Deputy Director of Innovation and Growth

The Common Ambition programme will support up to five ambitious teams across the UK to work towards a shared aim: to build sustainable change across health care through collaboration between those who use services and those who deliver them.

The programme is a major commitment to supporting people, families, health care professionals and researchers to work together to improve health care services. We will support partnerships that can facilitate this type of collaboration by harnessing skills and knowledge from the community and the health system.

The Health Foundation will be inviting partnerships between the voluntary and community sector and the NHS to apply for this exciting funding opportunity in February 2020.

The opportunity

Successful partnerships will receive funding of between £300,000 and £500,000 for two to three years.

Funding is available to collaborations between providers of NHS services and voluntary or community sector organisations, such as charities or social enterprises. We also expect partnerships to be able to capture learning, measure impact and create links with local systems. Working with organisations such as universities, clinical commissioning groups, academic health science networks and local authorities could, therefore, strengthen the partnerships.

The support isn’t just financial. Successful teams will be provided with a bespoke package of support – which could include coaching, training, facilitation and learning events – worth between £30,000 and £50,000. This will help teams to learn and apply collaborative working approaches and design their partnerships to achieve clear measurable outcomes.

The Health Foundation will also commission an independent evaluation of the programme. The evaluation will capture learning from across the partnerships and explore the success factors for improving health care through collaborative communities.

We will publish detailed information about the Common Ambition programme and full application guidelines in February 2020.

Partnership development events

Two events will be held to offer advice on how to apply for our Common Ambition programme and to support potential applicants to connect with partner organisations.

The events will be held in Leeds on 27 February 2020 and in London on 10 March 2020.

The events are important opportunities to find out whether an idea fits with the aims of the Common Ambition programme and to improve the quality of an application. We recommend that potential applicants attend one of the events. However, the events are not a compulsory part of the application process.

We encourage you to register for a place at your chosen event early, as spaces are limited.

For those unable to attend either event, there will hold a webinar on 12 March 2020. Please sign up if you would like to join the webinar.


The designed application process will offer time and opportunities for partnerships to form and proposals to develop. The Health Foundation will offer support to applicants to develop their ideas at each stage of the process.

The provisional timetable for the application process is as follows:

Full guidance publishedMid February 2020
Open for expressions of interestMid February 2020
Partnership development events27 February 2020 and 10 March 2020
Expressions of interest deadlineLate March 2020
Full application deadlineMid May 2020
Assessment daysEarly July 2020
Awards announcedJuly 2020
Partnerships commenceAutumn 2020

Please note that a single organisation from each partnership must lead the application process. However, the lead organisation does not have to be a provider of NHS services.


Email the Common Ambition team on commonambition@health.org.uk.