Following its inaugural success last year, the Which? Fund is issuing a new call for applicants seeking funding for research projects aimed at tackling the consumer harm experienced by under-represented consumer groups.
The Which? Fund is calling for UK registered charities, universities and not-for-profit Community Interest Companies (CICs) to apply for grants.
Established to fund much-needed projects that uncover and tackle consumer harm affecting some of the country’s most disadvantaged communities, the initiative successfully gave out grants of tens of thousands of pounds to four charitable organisations last year.
The projects that received funding in the last round are currently progressing and will help offer insight on the consumer challenges facing disadvantaged communities, to enable the development of evidence-based solutions and facilitate positive change.
Projects are invited covering four key areas: money, scams, digital life and consumer rights and protections. As the cost of living and energy crisis continues to hit many households across the UK, there could be no better time to reopen applications to the Which? Fund, as statistics consistently show that minority consumer groups are disproportionately impacted by the crisis.
The same is true online: despite the internet bringing many consumers a raft of benefits, there are some aspects of our increasingly digital experience that are more concerning and may pose a greater risk of harm to certain consumer groups. In response, alongside calling for projects addressing challenges around money, scams, consumer rights and connectivity, Which? has this year added a specific call for projects shining the light on the harms that individuals in diverse and disadvantaged communities may face in digital markets.
For example, some groups may be more vulnerable to online manipulation – design features used by websites and apps to influence consumer behaviour which can both cause frustration and financial harm – than others. The Which? Fund is particularly welcoming submissions from organisations with specialist insight and technical skills to help uncover the harm being experienced online by minority communities.
The Which? Fund application window is open until 5pm on Monday 19th September. Shortlisted applicants will be informed in October 2022, and successful applications announced in Spring 2023.
Rocio Concha, Director of Policy and Advocacy at Which?, said:
“Which?’s purpose has always been to make life simpler, fairer and safer for all consumers, but with the pandemic and now the cost of living crisis hitting disadvantaged consumer groups and communities especially hard, it is vital that we continue to develop our understanding through pioneering research to uncover out the root cause of consumer harms and to identify practical solutions.
“That’s why we are launching the second round of The Which? Fund, following a successful inaugural round last year. We look forward to supporting groundbreaking projects seeking to understand and address the consumer harm facing disadvantaged communities, as part of our commitment to champion all UK consumers.”
Notes to editors:
- For more information on how to apply, visit: https://consumerinsight.which.
- 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.
- ONS Report on ability to afford unexpected expenses.
Which? is the UK’s consumer champion. As an organisation we’re not for profit – a powerful force for good, here to make life simpler, fairer and safer for everyone. We’re the independent consumer voice that provides impartial advice, investigates, holds businesses to account and works with policymakers to make change happen. We fund our work mainly through member subscriptions. We’re not influenced by third parties – we never take advertising and we buy all the products that we test.
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