The Arts Award Access Fund: Tips to make your application stand out

The Arts Award Access Fund: Tips to make your application stand out

Picture of Alan Lynch

BY: Alan Lynch
28 Sep 2015

If you’re an Arts Award adviser based in England who’s delivering the awards with young people for whom access and inclusion in the arts is an issue, you might like to consider applying for an Access Fund grant. Applications are open now and will close on 23 October.

Like most grant schemes, the Access Fund is competitive and each round we get more applications than we can fund. Here are a few tips to help your application stand out.

Read the guidance

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There are only 13 questions on the Access Fund form. When you’re preparing your answers, you should refer to the Access Fund Information and Guidance which gives more detail about what information you should include in each question. It’s there to help you and make things easier, so make sure you have a copy next to you when you’re writing your application. (It’s usually obvious when centres haven’t taken the time to look at it at all.)

Don’t shy away from the detail

We want to support projects that are well-planned, well-organised and clearly supporting young people from our targeted groups. So give as much detail as you can about the particular issues facing your group, what your plans are for the project, artists you’ll be working with, events you’ll be seeing, and how young people will achieve Arts Award.

Show you understand Arts Award

The Access Fund is specifically to help young people achieve Arts Award – so demonstrate you’ve thought carefully about how young people will achieve each section, and that you understand the criteria. If you don’t do this, it’s hard to see how you’ll support young people all the way to moderation...

Include moderation/certificate costs

...So you should also remember to tell us how you’ll be paying for moderation or Discover certificates. Whether you’re applying for the Access Fund to pay for it, or you’ve already got funding to cover the costs, you need to let us know.

Be aspirational

We support centres who are able to demonstrate that the grant will have a long-term impact on their work. So tell us what your plans for the future are, and how this grant will help you. Perhaps you’re piloting a new approach which you plan to roll out to more young people in the future? Or maybe this is a new way of working and you want to evaluate its success.

Want more help?

Visit to view the Access Fund application form, download the guidance and our Top Tips for applying. And if you need any more support, call the Helpdesk on 020 7820 6178 or drop us an email at

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