Applying for a 2020/21 Arts Award Access Fund grant

Applying for a 2020/21 Arts Award Access Fund grant

Picture of Natalie Christopher

BY: Natalie Christopher
07 Sep 2020

To say that we live in unprecedented and challenging times seems somewhat obvious, particularly to those of us whose working lives are embedded in the arts, education and social care. In light of this recent uncertainty, it is a privilege for Trinity College London to open the application window for the 2020/21 Arts Award Access Fund.

Who is the Access Fund for?

The Arts Award Access Fund is focused on supporting registered Arts Award centres working with young people for whom access and inclusion is an issue. These barriers might include:

  • disabilities
  • special educational needs, learning difficulties or neurodiversity
  • living in areas of rural isolation and/or socio-economic deprivation
  • being in the youth justice system
  • being looked after either by foster carers or in residential children’s homes
  • being a young carer or parent
  • being in a specific minority group (e.g. LGBTQ+, BAME, homeless, traveller community, asylum seeker, refugee)
  • not being in full-time education, employment or training
  • being a hospital outpatient/inpatient or suffering from a long-term health problem.

Six individual headshotsHave the Access Fund criteria changed under the current circumstances?

There is no denying that young people have been amongst those most significantly impacted by lockdown, especially those who have struggled with the sudden closure of schools and the challenges that have materialised as a result. However, it is imperative that the Access Fund continues to reach those most in need of arts provision. Therefore, we will not be able to approve applications purely on the grounds that normal services have been affected over the last six months.

That being said, if you are looking to work with a particular group of young people whose pre-existing issues have been exacerbated by the effects of lockdown, please do highlight this in your application.

How much can I apply for?

The Access Fund is a small pot of money and the application process is highly competitive. Centres looking to receive a grant can apply for between £100 and £1,500 to pilot, embed or develop their Arts Award programme. The money received can be used to cover a range of costs including moderation/certification fees, equipment and materials, and adviser delivery time.

Can I see some examples of previous Access Fund projects?

Yes! We have a number of case study examples here on the Arts Award blog. These include accounts of projects run by Soundcastle, South Devon College, Odd Arts and NICE.

Young people flying in production of Peter PanWhat is the deadline for applications?

The deadline for applying for an Access Fund grant is Friday 9 October 2020.

Where can I find more information about applying for the Access Fund?

More information, including a link to the application form and guidance notes can be found on the Arts Award website. If you have any further queries, please email

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