Grant Making Policy & Procedures

The Access Foundation (“the Foundation”) is registered with the Charity Commission for England and Wales (“the EW Charity Commission”), registered charity number 1194267.

The Foundation has general charitable objects as per clause 3 of its principal governing document, a Charitable Trust Deed dated 18 February 2021 in that the income and capital of the Foundation can be applied for such charitable purposes as are exclusively charitable according to the law of England and Wales as the Foundation’s Trustees in their discretion think fit.

This document sets out the Trustees’ grant making policy, priorities, principles and approach for awarding and monitoring grants to organisations to support initiatives in furtherance of the charitable objects of the Foundation.

1. The grant making policy of the Foundation

Until resolved otherwise, the Foundation will carry out its charitable purposes by making grants that are specifically oriented around the following :

  • to mitigate the digital divide by making computing facilities, support and learning available to disadvantaged and vulnerable people. (1)
  • to advance the charitable causes of registered charities which are chosen as the "Access Group Company Charity of the Year" (or, with independent determination by the trustees, to support registered charities which were shortlisted by the Access Group for benefit but which were not subsequently chosen).
  • to advance the charitable causes of charities and not for profit organisations for whom there is a strong emotional connection with a member of staff (e.g. through support they or a close relative have received from the charity)

In all these cases, grants are restricted to charities or not for profit organisations operating in the same countries as the offices of Access Group companies.

2. Priorities for support

The number of applications which can be supported by the Foundation is, by necessity, limited to the amount of funds available for distribution in line with the Foundation’s general reserves policy. The Board of Trustees will set-aside an annual budget for grant giving which will be reviewed at least bi-annually to ensure appropriate allocation of resources.
In the case of a surplus of applications which meet all the criteria within a budgeting year, the Board of Trustees will decide the prioritisation for allocating funds on a case-by-case basis but will endeavour to offer funds to organisations covering all three of the objectives stated above.

3. Principles

In awarding grants, the Trustees will apply the following principles:
3.1 Applications from any geographical area within which The Access group operate are eligible.
3.2 Applications may only be made by bona fide charities (2), not for profit organisations (including Community Interest Companies (“CICs”) that are limited by guarantee but excluding CICs limited by shares)(3) , but not individuals.
3.3 Applications must be for specific services, activities, initiatives or projects with clearly identified and measurable outcomes. Funding will not be provided for the general overheads or operational costs of an organisation. Grants will, therefore, be given on a restricted fund basis.
3.4 The Trustees will undertake such due diligence as considered necessary/appropriate in all the circumstances so as to ensure that the purpose for which the grant is being given is exclusively charitable for the public benefit according to the law of England and Wales. Consequently, additional due diligence may be required in respect of potential grant recipients that are not recognised as charities in England and Wales. To this end, the Trustees have read and understood the Charity Commission’s guidance entitled Grant funding an organisation that isn’t a charity (link below)
3.5 While there is no definitive maximum or minimum value for the grants we will award, the expected ranges are different depending on the grant-giving objective as follows:
3.5.1 for mitigating the digital divide, the Foundation will generally award grants between £25,000 and £100,000. This funding will normally support a project that completes within a 12 month period. By exception the Foundation may consider supporting a longer running multi-year project and in such cases would entertain applications with proportionately larger values;
3.5.2 for grants awarded to the Access Group ‘Charity of the Year, the awards will vary significantly depending on the size of the size of the geographic division within the group; and
3.5.3 for grants awarded to Access staff-sponsored charities, the Foundation will generally awards grants in the region of £5,000 to £10,000.
These values are indicators only and are not set in stone so the Trustees would encourage any potential applicant to contact the Foundation with proposals if they are outside of these parameters.
3.6 All applications from previous recipients of grants or from previously unsuccessful applicants will be considered by the Foundation on their own merits. Although the Foundation will have regard to the outcome of the previous application, any new application will in no way receive preferential or adverse consideration.
3.7 The Foundation may, as considered appropriate in all the circumstances, work in partnership with other organisations and establishments to fund grant applications.
3.8 In addition to responding to external grant requests, the Trustees may at their discretion invite or commission proposals, or provide funding in collaboration with others, where doing so would meet the Foundation’s strategy and priorities. (In accordance with the Foundation’s conflicts of interest policy if, for example, a Trustee or a close relative of a Trustee has a connection with a potential grant recipient he/she shall declare this interest and he/she shall not take part in the decision making process in this regard).

4. Exclusions

Any grant made by the Foundation shall be made at the absolute discretion of the Trustees. The Foundation will not normally fund any of the following:
4.1 applications for grants from individuals;
4.2 applications for organisations’ general running costs or overheads;
4.3 religious organisations or religious activity;
4.4 animal charities; or
4.5 applications with any political activity (eg lobbying government or campaigning for a change in the law).
The Foundation reserves the right to decline any application and there is no obligation on the Foundation to provide a reason for its decision. Each decision is final and there is no appeal process.

5. Grant application process

All applications for grants should be completed in conjunction with this policy. They must be made using the Foundation’s application form, which can be found on our website at
6. Information requirements when making a grant application
Before awarding a grant to any organisation the Foundation requires that the applicant will:
6.1 provide the Foundation with details of the purpose of the application and the way in which the grant would be used including provision of a project budget (as applicable) and expected measurable outcomes to the applicant;
6.2 where the application necessitates an organisation subcontracting work to another organisation, e.g. therapy or training provider; confirm that it has undertaken a full due diligence of all relevant qualifications & processes carried out by the individual or organisation providing it with a service. The Foundation takes no responsibility and accepts no liability whatsoever for assessing the suitability of third party products or services purchased from funds awarded;
6.3 confirm that it has adequate safeguarding procedures in place that are (a) robust and meet and comply with current law and best practice; (b) proportionate and appropriate for the vulnerability of the applicant’s beneficiaries; and (c) suitable for the context within which the applicant is working. (The applicant may be required to provide additional assurances/documentation in this regard as referred to at paragraph 23 of the Foundation’s safeguarding policy);
6.4 provide, as appropriate, the Foundation with a copy of its safeguarding policy. However, the applicant will be asked to acknowledge and accept that this will be for the Foundation’s records only and that the Foundation will be relying on the applicant’s confirmation referred to at paragraph 6.3 above regarding the adequacy of its safeguarding policy and procedures and compliance with current law and best practice etc.

7. Additional information required for grant applicants that are not registered with the EW Charity Commission

7.1 All grant applicants that are charities registered with OSCR, the NI Charity Commission or the RI Regulator (see footnote 2 on page 2) must provide their charity registration number and charity tax reference number.
7.2 All other grant applicants must provide:-
- their country of tax residency;
- - their registration number with the relevant tax authority (and the registration number with any other regulator); and
- details of any tax exemptions because of charitable or not for profit status.

8. Assessment process

The Board of Trustees commit to reviewing every application made in full to the Foundation according to the following process:
8.1 All grant applications will be subject to initial assessment to ensure they meet the basic criteria for funding. Applicants must be prepared to provide further information as the Foundation may reasonably require in order to assist them in their decision-making and due diligence process. Grants will be considered by the Foundation and the Foundation will aim to write to all applicants informing them of the outcome, or the next requested steps, of their application for funding within 12 weeks.
8.2 Applicants should note that, as with many other charitable trusts, the Foundation may well receive far more applications than it has funds to support. Even if an application fits within the criteria and priorities of the Foundation and a detailed assessment has been made, the Foundation may still be unable to provide a grant.
8.3 The Foundation will not be obliged to provide an explanation to the applicant should the applicant’s application be unsuccessful.

9. Monitoring outcomes from grants awarded

9.1 It is the policy of the Foundation to monitor all grants made. The following principles will be followed to ensure this is enacted.
9.2 Before a grant can be confirmed, conditions may be stipulated appropriate to the application and progress may be assessed against agreed targets and/or milestones.
9.3 Grantees must hold the grant as a restricted fund.
9.4 Grantees will be required to inform the Foundation of any safeguarding concerns or incidents that arise during the grant cycle or in connection with the grant project.
9.5 If the grant is payable in instalments, then payment of subsequent grant instalments may be dependent on satisfactory progress having been demonstrated and the Foundation reserves the right to withdraw the grant on receipt of unsatisfactory progress update reports and/or any safeguarding concerns or incidents have not been adequately addressed. The Trustees reserve the right to request and receive copies of any published articles, papers or other outputs which may result from the grant. Should any of the articles attract adverse publicity or media coverage then it is that the Trustees of the Foundation are informed immediately.
9.6 The Foundation will contact the grantee in the period following the award of the grant in order to identify progress against the objective of the grant, according to a schedule defined when the grant is offered.

10. Other Requirements

10.1 The Foundation’s Grant Making Policy must be read in conjunction with the Foundation’s Privacy Policy. By submitting a Grant Application the applicant confirms that they have read, understood and agreed to the such of the Foundation’s policies that have been brought to the attention of the applicant.
10.2 The Foundation may require repayment of all OR any part of the grant if:
• the project or purpose for which it was awarded does not proceed;
• part of the grant remains unused when the activities that the grant was intended to fund have been completed;
• the grant is used for a purpose other than that which has been agreed; or
• any safeguarding concerns or incidents have not been adequately addressed.

11. Variations to this policy

The Board of Trustees may vary the terms of this policy from time to time.

Approved by the Board of Trustees.
This policy was created: July 2021
This policy was last reviewed: 18th July 2023
Next review date: July 2024

1. Grants for such charitable purposes would generally fall within the following charitable purposes (as per the Charities Act 2011): (a) the advancement of education; (b) the relief of need by reason of youth, age, ill-health, disability, financial hardship or other disadvantage; (c) the relief of unemployment; and/or (d) the advancement in life of young people (up to the age of 25 years) by providing support as a means of developing their capabilities to enable them to participate in society as independent, mature and responsible individuals.

2. Including those registered with the EW Charity Commission, the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (“OSCR”), the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland (“the NI Charity Commission”), the Charities Regulator for the Republic of Ireland (“the RI Regulator”), charities that are registered in other jurisdictions and organisations that are charities but which are exempt from registration: eg certain schools and other educational institutions that as a matter of law are exempt from registering with the EW Charity Commission. Charities might be constituted as trusts, companies limited by guarantee, charitable incorporated organisations (CIOs), unincorporated organisations or by Royal Charter.

3. CICs are not charities but must be established for community purposes. Often many activities of CICs are also charitable. However, CICs limited by shares are excluded as potential grant recipients as, unlike CICs limited by guarantee, a certain percentage of surplus profits may be distributed to shareholders. This constitutes a private benefit to shareholders which conflicts with the charitable principle of public benefit.