Charities, trusts and grants

Organisations and charities that offer grants and funding, to support children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities.

The ACT Foundation

The ACT Foundation in Windsor aims to enhance the quality of life for people on a low income and in need, particularly the mentally and physically disabled, by providing grants (both large and small) to charities.

The Foundation’s main priority areas for providing financial support are:

  • Health and Wellbeing – supporting access to community facilities to maintain, improve and enhance general welfare
  • Independent Living at Home – helping people to live independently in their own home for as long as possible
  • Respite – enabling carers to take a break from the responsibility of caring for a loved one
  • Transition – supporting the journey through education and personal development programmes into employment, long-term volunteering or other meaningful daytime activity, housing and independent living

Go to the ACT Foundation website to find out grant application details for charities and to submit an online application.

The Foundation no longer accepts grant applications from individuals.

The Birkdale Trust for the Hearing Impaired

The Birkdale Trust for the Hearing Impaired offers grants to children and young people (up to their mid-20s) with a hearing impairment, and the organisations that support them.

The Trust provides funding towards projects such as equipment for the hearing impaired, specialist tuition, professional advice and support for appeals.

The Birkdale Trust website has an application form for individuals and an application form for groups, educational establishments and charities that can be downloaded.

The Boparan Charitable Trust

The Boparan Charitable Trust was set up in 2009 to help as many children and young people across the UK as possible who are disadvantaged through disability, extreme poverty or life-limiting conditions.

Visit the Trust’s website to access an application pack. Their streamlined application process means that once fully completed applications are received, they are individually reviewed within a 14 day period by their specialist board and trustees, allowing them to reach out quickly to those children most in need of their help and support.

Borough Council of King's Lynn and West Norfolk

A wide range of activities in the west of the region are funded through the Borough Council of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk’s Small Grants Scheme.  Revenue grants of up to a maximum of £2,500 and capital grants of up to one-third of costs to a maximum grant of £10,000 are available to charities and constituted voluntary and community groups.

Applications will need to meet at least one of these outcomes:

  • Improved understanding of different people and cultures in our local community
  • Increased involvement from people who face barriers to participation in community life
  • Greater use of community buildings or outdoor community spaces particularly in rural areas
  • Healthier and safer lifestyles for the whole community
  • Increased participation in arts and cultural activities which are accessible to the whole community

The Small Grants Scheme is being managed by Norfolk Community Foundation. Details of how to apply online for funding are on the NCF website.

The Bruce Wake Charitable Trust

The Bruce Wake Charitable Trust aims to encourage and assist the provision of leisure activities for the disabled.

The trustees will consider grant applications related to the provision of leisure activities for the disabled but favour applications whereby the potential beneficiaries meet one or all of the following criteria:

  • The potential beneficiaries are physically disabled wheelchair users
  • Improved access for wheelchair users is proposed
  • A sporting or leisure activity involving disabled wheelchair users is proposed

Applications must be from charitable organisations.  Applications on behalf of individuals will only be accepted through a charitable organisation or equivalent recognised body.

The Trust’s website gives policy guidelines and an online application form.

Buttle UK

Buttle UK has been helping children and young people in need across the UK since 1953. Direct support is based on individual need, either to overcome immediate crisis or ensure the best possible chance of a successful education.

There are four grant programmes:

  • Small grants programme – delivering essential items to children, young people and families whose development, health and wellbeing are at risk (e.g. children’s bed, cooker, fridge-freezer or washing machine)
  • School fees scheme – funds places at schools that provide a safe and supportive environment for those at future risk of going into formal care
  • Support for young people – provides funding of up to £2000 for estranged young people aged 16-20 supported by a caseworking team who work with them to remove the financial barriers to achieving their long-term education, employment or training goals
  • The Anchor Project – designed to meet the physical, emotional and developmental needs of children and young people affected by domestic violence and who live in London

Before applying it is essential to refer to the criteria and guidelines for each programme on the Buttle UK website, where you can apply online or download a paper application form.

Caudwell Children

Caudwell Children provide family support services, equipment, treatment and therapies for disabled children and their families across the UK.

There are several different ways to apply for and access support from Caudwell Children, who offer a broad range of programmes:

  • Equipment, STEP Programme (cerebral palsy and brain injury), ACT Programme (autism), special SDR fund
  • Enable Sport – specialist equipment for disabled athletes
  • Destination Dreams – family holidays of a lifetime for children fighting life threatening illnesses
  • Treatment and surgery not available in the UK
  • Family Support – support in times of crisis at home or at hospital
  • Short Breaks – activities to access fun and provide children with confidence

The ways to apply for support under each of these areas can be found on Caudwell Children’s website. Financial information is required as funding will depend on the family’s household income.

Child Autism UK

Child Autism UK (formerly known as Peach) is a national charity that provides services to enable children to overcome difficulties with communication, learning and life skills.

These include a helpline to advise on timely diagnosis, appropriate treatments and courses of support that can be put in place, as well as training opportunities on a range of relevant topics.  They can also put parents and carers in touch with others in their area.  Check out the Child Autism UK website for more information.

Children Today

Children Today is a charity that raises funds to provide specialist equipment and services for children and young people with disabilities up to the age of 25 years throughout the UK.

Grants are available for specialist equipment and aids such as electric wheelchairs, walking aids, trikes, educational toys, adapted car seats, lifting aids to enable movement and posturepedic sleep equipment.

Applicants should call Children Today on 01244 335622 in the first instance to discuss the child or young person’s needs and to request an application form.  Their website gives grant application guidelines.

Children's Hope Foundation

Children’s Hope Foundation is a young growing charity which aims to improve the quality of life for children and young people affected by illness, disability or poverty by meeting their social and medical needs.

The Foundation provides grants, equipment and facilities for children suffering with a disability, terminal illness or other serious condition, or those enduring extreme circumstances such as poverty.

Go to the Children’s Hope Foundation website to access and download an online application form. The applicant’s financial details will be required.

The Cystic Fibrosis Trust

The Cystic Fibrosis Trust has actively supported excellence in research and clinical care since 1964, as well as providing practical support and advice to people with Cystic Fibrosis and their families. It is the only UK-wide charity focusing solely on CF. The Cystic Fibrosis Trust believe that everybody living with CF deserves the best possible quality of life and care, with a real hope for a better future.

Cystic fibrosis can bring its own financial burden, so the Trust offers two types of grants for families who struggle to make ends meet:

  • Emergency grants, such as support for transplant or funeral costs
  • Health and wellbeing grants, to purchase goods or services to support health and wellbeing (typically around £250 to £350)

The Trust’s website outlines financial support available. There is a simple process to apply for an emergency grant and successful payment will normally be made within a week of receiving the application.  Visit the website to find out how to apply for a health and wellbeing grant.

In addition the Cystic Fibrosis Holiday Fund offers financial help to children and young adults with CF towards the cost of holidays, trips and short breaks. Holiday grants are usually for £200-£300 which can be used to fund costs associated with taking a holiday, including the cost of travel insurance or oxygen on holiday and while travelling.  Applicants will need to complete a Holiday Grant application form or they can contact

Dreams Come True

Dreams Come True is a children’s charity serving the UK with a mission to bring joy to seriously ill children and young people across the country by making their dreams come true.

Dreams Come True helps children and young people who have a serious or life-limiting medical condition to have an unforgettable experience fulfilling their dream, with long lasting memories to share with families, loved ones and friends.

Anyone can nominate a child or young person aged 2-21 years and resident in the UK. Dream children can be nominated by parents, extended family, medical professionals, social workers or friends, or they can nominate themselves.

The Dreams Come True website outlines the nomination and application process.  Applicants can submit an online nomination form, read the guidelines and download an application pack.

The Elifar Foundation

The Elifar Foundation is a small charity which aims to help improve the care, facilities and equipment available to profoundly disabled children and young adults, both at home and in residential care.

The Foundation funds the purchase of a wide range of highly specialised equipment which would otherwise be unavailable due to a lack of funds or statutory provision: wheelchairs, trikes, seats, communication aids, and medical and sensory equipment.

Go their website to find out how to apply for a grant and to download the guidelines and grant application form. Financial details and supporting evidence from a professional will be required.

Family Action

Family Action provides practical, emotional and financial support to support those who are experiencing poverty, disadvantage or social isolation across the country. Family Action has been distributing grants to help people and families in need ever since it was founded in 1869.  These complement its core aims to strengthen families and communities, to build skills and resilience, and to improve the life chances of everyone they work with, focusing on two main areas:

  • Welfare grants – to provide support towards the cost of clothing, general household needs, communication aids and medical adaptations
  • Educational grants – to provide funding towards training that is likely to increase employment prospects

Information about these grants programmes is on the Family Action website, or contact

Family Fund

Family Fund is the UK’s largest charity providing grants to families raising disabled or seriously ill children and young people, coming to the aid of over 89,000 families last year with over £36m of grants and services.

By funding a wide range of items – washing machines, sensory toys, family breaks, bedding, tablets, furniture, outdoor play equipment, clothing and computers – Family Fund’s grants have helped to break down many of the barriers families face, improving their quality of life and easing additional daily pressures.

Go to Family Fund’s website to find out how to apply for a grant and to download an application form.

The Family Holiday Association

The Family Holiday Association helps disadvantaged children and their families to get a break in the UK away from home.

Family referrals will only be accepted from professional support workers, such as a social worker, health visitor, support worker or teacher.

Please go to the Family Holiday Association website to find out how to apply for a break.

The Fashion and Textile Children's Trust

The Fashion and Textile Children’s Trust (FTCT) was founded over 150 years ago to support children aged 0-18 years whose parents or carers have worked in the UK fashion and textile industry. Grants start at £250 and can provide practical help to get out of a tough financial spot.

The FTCT is open to all in the industry, including those who have worked in fashion, footwear, home furnishings or home textiles, through either a retailer, supplier, wholesaler or manufacturer. Applicants must be the parent or full-time carer of a child aged 0-18 years, and must have been working (or have worked since 2007) in the industry for at least one year.

FTCT grants fall into two categories:

  • Education – funding for items including specialist tutorial support, learning tools, school necessities, transport costs, or school fees
  • Wellbeing – funding for items including therapies, respite activities, mobility equipment, specialist clothing, or adaptations to the home

The FTCT website gives information about grants and details of the application process. Contact or complete the online enquiry form to see if FTCT can help.


Footsteps is a therapy programme which helps children and young people (3-25 years) with neuro-motor disorders to reach their full physical potential and increase their self-confidence.

Based on an intensive physiotherapy process founded in Poland using a unique ‘Spider’ apparatus, this three week programme requires an initial assessment before a formal application can be made.

Footsteps Foundation provides vital financial assistance to families who would otherwise struggle to afford the unique Footsteps therapy programme. Its Family Grants Project funds between 15% and 90% of the cost of the three week therapy session at Footsteps (which currently costs £1,500).

Visit the Footsteps website for details of how to apply for a grant and to download the Family Grant Application Form.

Happy Days Children’s Charity

Happy Days Children’s Charity provides day trips and short breaks to some of the UK’s most vulnerable children aged 3-17, bringing happiness and hope both to them and their families.

The charity funds and organises respite breaks, residential trips, days out, visiting theatre performances and theatre trips throughout the country for children and young people with special needs.

Go to the Happy Days website to find out how to apply for funding and to download the appropriate application pack for day trips, family respite breaks and group activity holidays, or email

The Harriet Davis Seaside Holiday Trust for Disabled Children

The Harriet Davis Seaside Holiday Trust for Disabled Children have four self-catering holiday houses in Pembrokeshire for families with disabled children at economical prices.

Three houses in the Tenby area are fully adapted and equipped for physically disabled children. A fourth house in Narberth has been adapted for children with autism and other learning disabilities.

All the houses have convenient parking and are available all year. The houses do get booked up quickly for the school holidays.

The Trust’s website has booking and contact details. To make a booking contact Helen Lees-Griffiths or telephone 01834 845197.

Healthy Norwich

Funding is being awarded to local community organisations & groups through the Healthy Norwich programme, to encourage and support innovation that helps create a healthier and happier Norwich.

Grants of up to £5,000 will be made under two innovation funds – one for mental wellbeing and one for reducing health inequalities amongst vulnerable groups and deprived communities.

Organisations may apply to either or both funds, but each application must be for an independent project idea that fully meets the relevant fund criteria.

Health and wellbeing innovation grants are being managed by Norfolk Community Foundation.

Independence at Home

Independence at Home is a charity which provides grants to people of all ages who have a physical or learning disability or long term illness and who are in financial need.

They may be able to help you if you or a family member has a long term illness or disability and needs financial help towards the cost of equipment, home adaptations or other essential items to improve independence, comfort, safety and quality of life at home.

Applicants must be in financial need and unable to afford the equipment or building work themselves or obtain the funding that they require from statutory services.

Go to the Independence at Home website for details of how to apply for a grant. The site also gives a list of eligible medical conditions and details of goods or services that their grants can help to provide.


KidsOut works to help children and young people disadvantaged through poverty or rural isolation, particularly those forced to seek sanctuary in refuge. In collaboration with various partner charities and corporate supporters, it offers a range of high-profile support schemes nationally.

The National Rotary KidsOut Day was created by the charity in 1990 and is now the biggest one-day outing for disadvantaged children in the UK, with tens of thousands taken out on the second Wednesday of every June.

In 2007 KidsOut developed Phyzzpod, a unique multi-sensory learning space for those with physical & learning difficulties to learn and explore creatively. Then in 2008 it started Toy Box for children relocated due to domestic abuse, delivering boxes of brand new toys and games to help them settle into their new home.

World Stories began in 2010, an online resource of over 100 stories in many different languages to support the growing number of children speaking English as an additional language. And in 2012 it launched Fun Days, a project to take even more vulnerable children on trips to the theatre, cinema, theme parks or the zoo.

Find out more about what KidsOut do on their website.

Lifeline 4 Kids

Lifeline 4 Kids is a national UK children’s charity established in 1961 to provide equipment to children, schools, children’s hospices, respite care homes and support centres. It does not award cash grants.

For individual children this might be electric wheelchairs, mobility aids, specialised computers or sensory toys. For organisations it might be playground equipment, soft play & multi-sensory rooms or special beds.

Find out how to apply for help on the Lifeline 4 Kids website. Applications must first be individually registered before an application form is sent out, which is done by emailing


Make-A-Wish exists for one key reason – to grant magical wishes to children and young people fighting life-threatening conditions.

Make-A-Wish referrals are accepted from parents or guardians, medical professionals, or even the children themselves. Go to their website to find out how to get your wish. You can download the referral form or apply online.

Any questions about the wish process, please contact

The Maria Hanson Foundation

The Maria Hanson Foundation offers holidays in its two comfortable caravans sited in Mablethorpe, Lincolnshire to disabled children and adults facing life threatening, shortening or terminal conditions.

These special seaside breaks are provided at no cost to the recipients, and every attempt is made to cater for individual needs and requirements.

Application can be made via the online nomination form on the Foundation’s website.

Merlin’s Magic Wand

Merlin’s Magic Wand is a worldwide charity for disabled children that arranges magical days out at Merlin Entertainment attractions such as Legoland, Sea Life and Madame Tussauds. It also provides magical experiences for those children who are too unwell for an outing.

Applications are accepted on behalf of children aged 2-18 years with a confirmed serious illness, long term illness, disability or disadvantage.  Find out how to submit an application on the Merlin’s Magic Wand website, where you can apply online.

The Mobility Trust

The Mobility Trust concentrates on providing powered wheelchairs and scooters for severely disabled children and adults who cannot obtain them through statutory sources or afford to purchase equipment themselves.

The Trust’s website gives details of how to make an application which is done by writing directly to the Trust or by email to for the attention of Mrs Anne Munn.

Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children

Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children is the UK’s largest charity funder of children’s specialist disability equipment. It also runs the UK’s only national emergency equipment loan service for terminally ill children.

Grants are provided for items such as wheelchairs, pain relieving beds, communication aids and therapy equipment. A therapist report will be required and the grants are not means tested.

Details of care services provided are on the Newlife website where you can download an equipment grant application form. In the first instance call the Newlife Nurse helpline on 0800 902 0095 or email

The Nihal Armstrong Trust

The Nihal Armstrong Trust is a small charity which provides funding (up to £1,000) for children up to 18 years old with cerebral palsy towards essential equipment, communication aids and other specific services not provided by statutory services.

Applications should be made through the Trust’s website where you will find the online grant application form. Supporting evidence from an appropriate professional is required and applicants must be in receipt of means tested benefits.

The Prince’s Trust

Each year The Prince’s Trust works with some 60,000 young people, around 80% of whom move on to employment, education, training or volunteering through the wide range of services and support that it offers. Training opportunities, mentoring support and financial grants serve to build young people’s personal confidence and motivation, while providing the practical support needed to stabilise their lives and develop key skills. Go to the Trust’s website for more information including how to obtain funding to train, learn or help get a job.

Rays of Sunshine Children’s Charity

Rays of Sunshine Children’s Charity was formed in 2003 to brighten the lives of 3-18 year olds faced with serious or life-limiting illnesses by making their personal wishes come true and organising special hospital ward events and outings.

Go to the Rays of Sunshine website to see how this magical scheme works, and find out who is eligible for a wish, how to refer, and to make an online application.


React (Rapid Effective Assistance for Children with potentially Terminal illness) is a dynamic charity working to improve the quality of life for children with life-limiting illnesses living in financially disadvantaged households.

React works to give children comfort, dignity, and where possible, greater independence by providing:

  • Specialist equipment – wheelchairs, beds, baths, and mobility aids
  • Domestic equipment – washing machines and tumble dryers
  • Travel and subsistence expenses – help with hospital visits
  • Respite breaks – holiday and day trips for families
  • End of life support – funeral expenses and memorial headstones

To obtain details of how to apply for assistance go to the React website where you can download an application form or have one sent to you in the post. Applications must be endorsed by a medical or care professional.

Roald Dahl's Marvellous Children's Charity

Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity seeks to make life better for families in severe financial hardship while caring for a child with serious, rare blood or brain conditions (including severe epilepsy and acquired brain injury).

The charity’s family grants programme helps with paying for utility bills and white goods (up to £500) such as cookers and washing machines. It also provides personal support to help families cope, from respite breaks and counselling to hospital travel expenses.

Applications for funding must be made by a healthcare professional or social worker on behalf of the child.  Full details of grants for families can be found on the charity's website.


Starlight makes wishes come true for seriously and terminally ill children aged 4-18 years old and entertains over half a million children every year in hospitals and hospices throughout the UK.

Anyone can refer a child to Starlight for a wish – parents, grandparents, friends, medical professionals or social workers.

Visit the Starlight website where you can complete the online referral form or download the paper version to return by post.

3H Helping Hands for Holidays

3H Helping Hands for Holidays is a charity formed to enable those less fortunate to have a memorable and fulfilling holiday. Every year 3H offers grants to assist physically or mentally disabled people and their families on a low income to organise a modest UK holiday for themselves.

The grant is given for the accommodation part of the holiday and is paid direct to the chosen venue. The charity liaise with social workers and caring organisations to assist applicants and to identify those needing support. Carers can also be awarded a grant for a holiday away from their caring role.

Visit the 3H website for further information about the grant programme and for guidance notes to help you apply.

The True Colours Trust

The True Colours Trust operates a small grants scheme to help smaller UK organisations to develop and deliver programmes for disabled children, their siblings and families.

They are especially keen to contribute (as a one off cost) towards the purchase of hydrotherapy pools, multi-sensory rooms, mini buses and specialised play equipment.

Applications for small grants should be made using the online application form on the The True Colours website where you will find full application guidelines.

The Variety Club

The Variety Club believes that all children should have an equal opportunity to reach their potential, regardless of their circumstances. Variety aims to help sick, disabled and disadvantaged children and young people up to and including the age of 18 who are resident in the UK.

Go to the Variety website to find out what the charity does including wheelchair funding and specialist equipment grants, as well as its Sunshine Coaches and Great Days Out schemes.

Variety’s wheelchair programme provides funding towards manual, powered and sports wheelchairs, while grants for specialist equipment between £100 and £6,000 are available to both individuals and organisations. Application forms and full guidelines can be downloaded from the website.

Well Child

WellChild aims to ensure that children and young people in the UK living with a long-term or complex health condition receive the best possible care and support wherever they are and whenever they need it.

WellChild’s Helping Hands home improvement programme calls on volunteer teams from local companies and organisations to tackle projects that make a very real difference to both seriously ill children and their families. The WellChild website  contains information about Helping Hands garden and bedroom makeovers and details of how to make an application.

When You Wish Upon A Star

When You Wish Upon a Star has a simple mission: to grant the wishes of children aged 2-16 years living with life threatening illness. Since 1990 over 16,000 ‘wishes’ have been fulfilled across the UK. The charity also organises a number of days out and treats for children throughout the year.

Visit the When You Wish Upon a Star website to find out about the referral process and applying for a ‘wish’. Initial enquiries in writing are invited from parents, guardians or medical professionals giving details of the child’s condition and circumstances.


Whizz-Kidz helps to provide disabled children and young people with mobility equipment to give them independence at home, at school and at play. This might be a manual, powered or sports wheelchair or a buggy or adapted trike.

To qualify the child must be under 18 years old, have a physical condition and/or medical diagnosis that permanently affects their mobility, and the equipment they require must not be available through the NHS.

Find out on the Whizz-Kidz website - how they can help and how to make an online application.

Youth Investment Fund

The Youth Investment Fund will support voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) youth organisations to deliver, expand and create high quality local youth provision in targeted communities across England. Successful applicants will have funding available up until 2020, enabling organisations to invest and plan for the future.

It’s a joint programme between the Big Lottery Fund and the Department for Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) targeting six geographical clusters (West Midlands Urban, London East, Tees Valley and Sunderland, Bristol and Somerset, Eastern Counties and Liverpool City Region). See a full list of eligible Local Authorities within these clusters.

Funding size: £150,000 - £750,000

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