These guidelines were last updated on 2nd January 2013.
Please read these guidelines carefully before making your application. Copies of the guidelines in Word and PDF format can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.
Grant Making Policy & Priorities
The Equitable Charitable Trust is an education charity. It makes grants totalling up to £1 million each year towards projects for children and young people under the age of 25 who are from disadvantaged backgrounds or disabled.
Demand for our funds is high. Trustees have therefore identified three specific priorities for the types of projects they wish to support. The priorities are set out below (in bullet points) under headings that describe the area of our grant making to which they refer:
Disabled children and young people in the UK
- education projects or services that support the learning and development of disabled children and young people.
This is the broadest of our priorities and a wide range of education projects can be supported (please refer to the List of Grants on our website for examples). Services that provide advice and support with formal education can be supported. However, services or projects that provide more general advice and guidance (e.g. a helpline providing advice about a particular disability) will not be funded.
Disadvantaged children and young people in the UK
- formal education projects for disadvantaged children and young people in the UK that support delivery of the National Curriculum (i.e. curriculum enrichment projects) or that deliver accredited vocational learning that will increase employability.
By "curriculum enrichment projects" we mean work that is directly linked to delivery of the National Curriculum (or the Curriculum for Excellence in Scotland). In practice this normally means that work will be taking place as part of the school day (a literacy support project, for instance, that takes place in a youth or community setting during evenings or weekends, although relevant to the English curriculum, would not be considered a curriculum enrichment project). Under the second part of this priority ("accredited vocational learning") precedence will be given to projects that deliver accredited employment-related training (e.g. trade training courses) and to accredited vocational projects that include support, and can demonstrate success in, moving young people on into employment, work experience or further training.
Disadvantaged and disabled children and young people in developing countries
- education projects that will help increase participation in, or improve the quality of, education for disadvantaged or disabled children and young people in developing countries.
We particularly wish to support projects with potential to deliver benefits over the medium to long term. Grassroots projects without a strategic element, such as those that support students by paying their school fees or the purchase of school uniforms, are unlikely to be funded. Only UK registered charities are eligible to apply for overseas projects and they must have an Anti-Bribery Policy.
You should tell us in your application which priority your project addresses and how. Your project need only be relevant to one priority.
Please note that, under all the above priorities, projects that relate to PSHE and Citizenship subjects are a low priority, and are very unlikely to be funded.
Types of Grant
Grants can be made for project costs, capital expenditure, equipment and/or the salary costs of a post.
A portion (pro-rata) of your organisation's core costs may be requested as part of an application towards a project or salary (e.g. using the principles of Full Cost Recovery). However, we do not make grants exclusively for core costs.
Area of Benefit
The majority of projects funded by the Trust take place in the UK at local or regional level, though national projects and those benefiting children or young people overseas (in developing countries only) are also supported.
Types of Organisations Funded
We support a broad range of organisations; from small and medium sized not-for-profit organisations to larger charities. However, priority is given to organisations and charities with annual incomes of under £5 million. We tend not to fund very large organisations or charities.
You do not need to be a UK registered charity to apply unless you are an independent special school or you are applying for a grant towards a project or work that will take place outside the UK.
All applicants must supply audited or independently inspected accounts with their application. If your organisation is new and does not yet have accounts, we will not be able to consider your application.
Length of Grants
The maximum length of funding you can request is two years. Grants are usually paid in annual instalments.
If you receive a one year grant you will need to submit a final report at the end of the grant. For two-year grants, the reporting requirements are a progress report at the end of the first year and a final report at the end of the grant. Release of grant payments are dependent on us being satisfied with your report and the progress of your project.
Size of Grants
The size of grants ranges from £3,000 to £30,000. The minimum you can request is £3,000 per year. Most of our grants are for sums between £5,000 and £20,000. It is rare for two-year grants to exceed £10,000 p.a. Most will be for sums between £5,000 and £7,500 p.a.
What Cannot be Funded
The Trust does not make grants towards the following:
- General appeals or mail shot requests for donations (all applications should follow the guidelines set out below)
- projects felt to be more akin to social work or youth work than education
- Informal education projects and those that are only loosely educational (we include projects in youth work settings such as money management, drug & alcohol awareness and healthy eating in our definition of informal education, whether or not the activities are accredited)
- therapeutic treatments (including music and play therapy)
- Supplementary Schooling, Homework Clubs and Mother Tongue Language Classes
- Pre-School education projects (unless these are solely for the benefit of children with disabilities or special needs)
- Project/salary costs that will benefit only a single child (we would not fund the cost of an additional worker to support a disabled child attending a mainstream or integrated nursery, for instance)
- Local Authorities
- The only schools eligible to apply to us direct are independent special schools with registered charity status. State-maintained or voluntary aided schools, academies, public Schools, independent schools that are not exclusively for disabled children or young people, colleges and universities are not eligible to apply, either directly or via a related charity (e.g Friends, PTAs). We are also unable to fund groups of schools (whether set up via a partnership agreement or as a registered charity) which are seeking funding for services that were previously provided by their local authorities
- Sports education, facilities or activities (e.g. playing fields, sports clubs) or projects that are delivered through the medium of sport)
- Projects or work related to the Olympic Games or Cultural Olympiad
- Salaries for posts that are not directly related to service delivery (we would not make a grant towards the salary of a fundraiser or book-keeper, for instance)
- Projects in the UK that are primarily to deliver training to adults, staff or teachers (even if children and young people will be the ultimate beneficiaries of this work)
- The purchase of minibuses or vehicles
- Bursary schemes
- Projects that promote religious belief or practice
- Holidays, recreational activities or overseas trips
- Capital applications for equipment or facilities that will be only partly used for education or by under 25s from disadvantaged or disabled backgrounds (e.g. outdoor education centres that also deliver recreational activities, or that are not exclusively for the use of disadvantaged or disabled children and young people)
- Retrospective requests for work that has already taken place
- New organisations not yet able to supply audited or independently inspected accounts
- Sole traders or organisations such as companies limited by shares whose constitutions allow the distribution of profits (whether or not this happens in practice).
How to apply
Applications can be submitted at any time and are considered monthly by the Trustees.
The Trust does not have an application form, but recommends that organisations follow the guidelines outlined below when applying for a grant:
- Applications should be no longer than four sides of A4, in font size no smaller than 11 point and should begin with a short (half page) summary.
- The following documents must be included:
- a budget for each year of your project
- your organisation's latest full audited or independently inspected accounts
- a job description (if your request is towards the cost of a salary)
- Please do not send us CD-Roms, DVDs or glossy annual reviews.
- describe your organisation, its background and track record, what it does and who it seeks to benefit or help.
- provide details of your organisation’s status (e.g. registered charity, company limited by guarantee) and its trustees.
- state the name of the project you are asking us to fund, and clearly and succinctly describe it; explain what the structure of the project will be; why it is needed; the number of people who will benefit from it; their ages; how you will ensure it is cost effective; provide details of any partners (other organisations, statutory bodies etc), and say what stage the project has so far reached, of when you plan/hope to start it. If young people are involved in the development or monitoring of the project please provide details.
- explain which of our priorities your project addresses and how it meets the priority.
- say what the aims of the project are and what outcomes (practical results, changes and/or improvements) it hopes to achieve. If you are seeking funding to continue an existing project or a pilot, it is important that you are able to demonstrate the effectiveness of the work and what the outcomes have been to date.
- describe how the aims, progress and outcomes of the project will be monitored and evaluated, how you will know to what degree it has been successful or achieved its aims and, where appropriate, how you will disseminate good practice to others.
- describe how the project will be managed and name the people who will be in charge of it and their relevant experience or qualifications. If the application is for a salary, please include a copy of the job description for the post.
- ask for a specific amount.
- enclose a detailed budget for the full duration of the project (i.e. if it is a two year project don't just send us a one year budget!), together with a full copy of your organisation’s most recent audited or independently inspected accounts. It is important that if the accounts show a significant surplus or deficit of income, you explain the reason for this.
- state what funds have already been raised for the project and list any other funding you have applied for.
- explain where on-going funding (if required) will be obtained when the Trust’s grant ends.
- provide the names and addresses of two independent referees that know your organisation’s work. Tell us who these individuals are and how they/their organisations are connected to yours. Trustees, current volunteers or beneficiaries are not suitable referees.
Please keep your application as simple as possible and avoid the use of technical terms and jargon.
The Trust receives a large number of applications each year and application numbers have increased significantly in the past year. Regrettably, this means we have to decline many good applications.
A list of the grants paid by the Trust last year is available on request and can also be downloaded from our website. Please note, however, that not all these grants reflect our current grant policy. Some were made two or more years ago, when different guidelines may have been in force. We are no longer, for instance, able to award three year grants.
ECT is in the process of spending out, and expects to wind up having spent all available funds during 2015.
If you have any queries on these guidelines, or are unsure whether your project meets our priorities, please contact us for advice.
The Trust is normally able to provide a decision within eight weeks of receipt of an application.
In some cases an in-principle decision is made by Trustees pending receipt of references, further information or a visit being arranged. All grants are subject to the Trust's terms and conditions of grant. A sample copy of these can be downloaded from the bottom of the Grants page.
Applicants who are unsuccessful will be notified in writing and cannot re-apply for at least six months from the date of notification.