Access Fund: what’s in the form?

Access Fund: what’s in the form?

Picture of Alan Lynch

BY: Alan Lynch
11 Sep 2017

The Access Fund opens next week! Ahead of that we’re going to give a bit of detail on what to expect from the key questions, and why they’re important to any funding application.

From next Monday, any Arts Award adviser linked to an active centre can submit an Access Fund application. If you haven’t been in touch with us or delivered Arts Award recently your centre may have been deactivated, so make sure to check before applying. You can do this by logging into the adviser portal and selecting “centre details” at the top of the page.

Grants up to £1,500 are available to support work with young people who face barriers to access and inclusion. We’ve shared plenty of tips in previous blogs, and examples of some projects funded previously. This blog is going to focus on the application form itself, by looking at the key questions you’ll have to answer.

Where’s the form?

Visit for instructions on how to apply. There you’ll see a link to submit a new grant application – follow this to find the online form and some detailed guidance on the questions where you need to give us more detail about your project and why it should receive an Access Fund grant. 

Question 16: tell us about the young people

The first key question is an opportunity for you to give context to the numbers. If you’ve targeted a specific group, who are they? What barriers are preventing them engaging with Arts Award and the arts world? If you haven’t identified the young people yet, tell us how you’ll recruit, and what you anticipate their access requirements to be.

Question 17: tell us about the project

What activities do you have planned, and why were they chosen? We want to see that any project we fund is good quality and appropriate for the level of Arts Award being delivered. You should make it clear how activities will meet the criteria of the relevant level. Delivering more than one level? Fantastic! This is a great place to show that thought has gone into how activities will work between levels. Will there be different activities for Explore and Bronze, for instance? Or do you plan to differentiate for each level within the same activities? Tell us how the project be structured: for instance you might be planning an intensive delivery over a few days, or it could be something longer, taking months. These are important details that help us see how your delivery will work.

Question 18: tell us how the Access Fund will support your centre’s future plans

Here, we want to know how you plan to use any funding to develop your work going forward. If this is to fund a pilot, explain how you’ll gather and digest feedback and highlight any areas you hope to use in your future work. The Access Fund should be a catalyst for embedding Arts Award or enabling your organisation to reach young people in a different way. Lasting impact and sustainable ways of working are what we’re interested in with this question.

Question 19 & budget: the sums

The final key sections in the application are linked: explaining why the costs being covered by the Access Fund are necessary; and a budget for your overall project. We need to see all the costs associated with a project, whether or not they’re being paid for by the Access Fund. However, it’s vital to make sure that these numbers add up, because if the budget is wrong then we can’t be confident that a grant will cover anything, or that the project will even go ahead! 

We also ask for some narrative to go with the budget. Consider why these items are necessary for young people to complete their Arts Award. For example, in Bronze Part A one activity evidenced well is enough to pass. So, if your budget includes a series of expensive workshops we might not agree to fund all of them. Don’t forget to also mention which Arts Award parts or criteria will the named items contribute towards. This context helps give a fuller picture of the overall project, and shows that the activities have been thought through for the level being delivered.

When can you apply?

The next round opens on Monday 28 September and runs until Friday 20 October. You can start work on your application straight away though, by downloading a mock application form and guidance from our application page.

You can also get in touch to ask any questions on our helpdesk by calling 020 7820 6178, or emailing

Good luck!

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