This programme is currently paused.
This page contains all the information you need to apply to this fund. At the bottom of the page is a link to an application form. All the questions from the application form can also be downloaded as a word document.
Adults with learning disabilities and autism are often prevented from taking part in things that many of us take for granted. This is because they face barriers that others don’t always see.
We want to break down some of these barriers with this money. We want it to open places, spaces and services that adults with learning disabilities and autism have in the past found difficult to access. By funding these changes, we want to make it easier for people to enjoy their community, take part in things they enjoy, and make new friends.
You can ask us for up to £10,000 to make sure your place, space or service is accessible and inclusive. This fund is for groups providing mainstream community services and not for specialist learning disability and autism providers.
The fund will remain open throughout 2023, with decisions made every 8 weeks. We may close the fund earlier if we receive a lot of good applications.
Who can apply for this money?
You can only apply for this money if you work or volunteer for a group that:
- is based Somerset (but not BANES or North Somerset)
- is run by a committee or board of at least 3 unrelated people
- has a governing document or set of rules
- has an appropriate level of free reserves. If this is more than 12 months running costs, then you should have a policy explaining why
- has a safeguarding policy that meets our minimum standards
- has a bank account in its name, which requires two unrelated signatories.
We welcome applications from groups that exist to support people in their local community. We can award money to groups that are not registered charities, but the purpose of the funding must be charitable. This means we can give a grant to:
- community groups
- registered charities
- community amateur sports clubs
- community interest companies (CIC) limited by guarantee that have a clear asset lock benefitting local communities
- companies limited by guarantee that are not-for-profit with all surpluses re-invested back into the organisation
- faith organisations, but not for the promotion of religion
- community benefit societies
- local statutory organisations, like parish councils or schools.
You must demonstrate how you have, or plan to, create your solution with adults with learning disabilities and autism. This does not mean asking people what they think after you have spent the money. It means you need to involve adults with learning disabilities and autism from the very beginning.
What can I use this money for?
You can only use these grants to make what you already do more accessible and welcoming.
This will involve removing some of the barriers that people face at your place, space or service. These barriers might be:
- economic, or
Remember, barriers like these can be compounded by someone’s gender, ethnicity, religion or sexuality. You might want to think about this when you’re planning your project.
You can spend the grant on:
- things: such as signs, equipment, mobility aids, building adaptations
- people: including training and development
- time: to plan and create these changes together with adults with learning disabilities and autism
Here’s some examples of what we’re interested in funding. This isn’t everything we’ll fund, so please talk to us about your ideas if you’re not sure.
We might fund:
- Areas of natural beauty to have an access audit, so they can understand the physical barriers people face to enjoying the outdoors. They could then use the rest of their grant to replace some stiles, improve some footpaths, and buy a tramper so they can offer free guided walks.
- Community transport providers to adapt one of their vehicles so it can accommodate a customer in a powered wheelchair.
- Local museums to redevelop their website so that it includes pre-visit information to help people get prepared for their visit. They could also use a grant to buy sensory aids and autism information packs. Or they could train front of house staff on how to support adults with additional needs.
- Community centres or village halls, so they can address sensory barriers. They could provide new signage and printed materials in accessible communication formats. This could include Easy Read booklets, audio guides, or British Sign Language.
- Charities that moved their services online during the pandemic and want to make sure everyone can still use them.
- Arts or music venues so they can address economic barriers often faced by adults with learning disabilities and autism. They might offer reduced or free access at certain times. They could even combine this with an Autism Hour and a partnership with a local transport provider to offer free transport from rural areas.
- Leisure or sports providers so they can buy specialist equipment, train coaches, offer carer/friend support and integrate new teams into their clubs or centres.
- Town or parish councils so they can install a public Changing Places toilet.
What can’t I use this money for?
We can’t give money to:
- specialist learning disability and autism providers, as we want this money to break down barriers to places, spaces or services used by the whole community
- an ongoing service delivery, as we want to make an investment in your work over a short period of time that then allows you to run a more accessible and inclusive place, space or service
- individuals, sole traders or companies limited by shares
- activities that have already taken place or purchases that you have already made
- groups that give money to another group, rather than spend it on their own activities
- the promotion of religion. But we will give money to faith organisations for projects that deliver wider community benefits.
How much money is available?
We have about £200,000 to give out, and expect to make about 25 grants.
How do I make an application?
You can apply for this money using our online application form via one of the links below.
If you would like to see what you have to do before you start filling in the online application form, then this word document includes all the questions.
By clicking the button below you’ll be taken to a registration page. Read the instructions and then enter your email address. We’ll email you a link to an online form. If you don’t see an email from us after a few minutes, then please check your spam folder.
You don’t have to complete the form in one go. Instead, you can complete some sections then click ‘save draft’ at the bottom of the page. Use the link in your email to return to the form at another time.
You also need to attach the following documents alongside your application:
- your governing document or set of rules
- your most recent accounts
- the names and addresses of the people who run your group, if it is not registered with the Charity Commission or Companies House
- your safeguarding policy
- a bank statement from within the last three months. This can be a scanned paper statement, or a copy downloaded from an online account. We need to see the bank name, your group’s name, the address where statements go, the account number and the sort code. You may redact transactions if needed.
- Apart from the bank statement, please do not provide the above documents if you have sent them to us within the past six months, unless they have been amended during that time.
Finally, you must read the terms and conditions and click ‘submit’.
Please contact us if you can’t use the online form, or you are unable to attach any of the documents. We’ll support you to make your application in another way.
You must submit your application by the deadline, including all supporting documents. If you cannot attach your supporting documents, then these can by submitted separately using the contact details on the application form. However, they must reach us by the deadline.
What happens to your application?
Every application we receive by the deadline will be looked at by staff at Somerset Community Foundation. If you meet the criteria and have supplied all the supporting documents, then we’ll read your application and make a recommendation to Discovery.
We’re more likely to recommend a grant if you:
- clearly explain what you’ll do with the money, how this will help to make your place, space or service more accessible and inclusive, and whether this represents good value for money
- have created your project with adults with learning disabilities and autism
- have reported back well on any previous grants we have given you.
This fund is managed by Andy Ridgewell, who works for Somerset Community Foundation. It’s usually best to email him here to ask a question or to arrange a time to talk.
Ready to apply?
This programme is currently paused.