Registered charity number: 210773
We provide grants to young people to assist them with vocational training and education.
Our grants help young people aged between 16 and 26 to learn new skills and make their way into employment. We cannot help if you are still in secondary education, studying for GCSEs or A Levels, undertaking a course at a private dance/drama college, an undergraduate or postgraduate degree, or studying any other course that is not vocational.
In all cases, the course to be taken should be an essential step towards a vocational qualification or towards employment. The course also needs to be accredited or recognised by a regulatory or independent professional body.
If you can answer yes to all the following questions you may be eligible to apply
Companies that employ young people know these kinds of qualifications will get you ready to join the world of work. Find out about courses that match careers you are interested in at the National Careers Service website.
‘First Step’ courses
How can we help?
We may be able to help with any costs directly related to your course including but not limited to:
How to apply? Complete our Online Eligibility Quiz
If you are interested in applying please register and complete our online eligibility quiz. Once you have completed the quiz you will be directed to our online application form if you are eligible to apply to us.
Please note that we can only accept requests for assistance through our online application form.
Please click here to log in and return to an existing application.
If you are having difficulties accessing our online application, please contact us on 020 7213 0561 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please ensure you have read our full eligibility criteria, completed the eligibility quiz and read our FAQs before making any general enquiries.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I get an application form?
To access our application form you must first register and complete our online eligibility quiz. We can only accept applications completed online.
Our grants can range from £100 to £1,500 - successful applicants may receive a one-off award or a series of payments across the duration of a course of study.
When completing the application form we will ask for proof of your parents’ income (if applicable) and also details of two referees we can contact. One will be a personal referee and one will be a tutor or employer referee.
Once your application form is completed online you will receive notification that it has been submitted. We have a very small team and so in busy periods it can take us a couple of weeks to look at your application. At this stage, we will let you know that we will be contacting your referees and request any further information we need.
We recommend that applicants apply at least eight weeks before they begin a course to ensure they receive a response before the course starts. However, the length of time before a decision also depends on the amount of support requested, how quickly your referees respond to our reference requests and whether you have provided all the information (including supporting documents) when submitting your application form.
Please note that if you apply very close to your course start date we cannot guarantee a decision before this date. This is because we have a very small team and cannot give preference to application submitted in these circumstances.
We are unable to consider applications for young people attending a private dance and drama college.
We can only assist with a Diploma in Foundation Studies in Art & Design as this is classed as a Level 3 course. We cannot assist with Foundation degrees as these are normally above a Level 3 in the qualifications framework.
Unfortunately, we cannot help students undertaking undergraduate degrees
Unfortunately, we cannot help students undertaking postgraduate studies.
Young people who grow up in low income homes and those who are care leavers face major barriers in their lives and life chances, especially when it comes to finding and paying for the kind of training and work opportunities they want. This is why we focus our grants on these young people.
Applicants must come from families where the gross annual household income is under £26,000 and has been so for some years. We cannot accept requests from anyone who does not come from this kind of financial background. It also means that we are unable to help in instances where a family living in relative affluence has fallen temporarily on hard times.
We ask all applicants about their family's financial circumstances, no matter how old they are, or if they now live independently. The only exceptions are where family relationships have broken down and/or if applicants are parted from their family, through seeking asylum for example. We will confirm this when approaching applicants' referees in confidence.
No. We wish we could meet all applicants face-to-face to learn more about their particular needs, but this is not possible. Instead we rely on referees to tell us more about each applicant’s unique circumstances. As part of our application process, we ask applicants to provide us with contact details for two referees.
We prefer applicants not to forward pre-prepared reference letters to us. This is because we ask specific questions and need to be sure that each reference is up-to-date. We do not disclose information about any applicant’s background or personal finances to anyone outside the Charity. However, we need to tell referees who we are and what we do, so that they fully understand why they are being asked to support individual grant applications.
Please note that family member cannot be used as personal referees.
Yes. We encourage applicants to research and apply to as many charities as they can. Many charities like ours work together to help someone to realise their ambitions. We all rely on beneficiaries keeping us up to date about their successes in obtaining funds from other sources. Applying to other charities will not jeopardise your chances of receiving an award, so long as you still have costs to cover.
Decisions on grants are made by a Committee members which hold meetings every one to two months. Once the Committee has made its decision on an application, we will inform the applicant of the outcome of their request within 3-5 working days of the meeting.
No. Applications are considered on a first-come, first-served basis. Our funds are limited, and applicants are therefore strongly encouraged to submit their application as soon as possible.
From a few weeks to two to three months. This often depends on how long it takes to get responses from referees.
No. Our process is online, but it is possible to print out the questions to enable discussion between you and your adviser before the form is completed online.
More information about other sources of funding can be found through the Useful Contacts page.
Lawrence Atwell founded his charity in 1588 "to set poor people on work". Little is known about his early life, but his family had been living and working in the Exeter area for at least 200 years. In 1564 he made his way to London where, as an adventurous merchant trader, it seems he lost and made several fortunes in his "losses and crosses by land and sea". Perhaps it was his own periodic experiences of poverty and having to battle to make his way in the world again that led to the creation of his charity. Atwell became a member of the Skinners’ Company, one of the ‘Great Twelve’ livery companies of the City of London. Today, the Skinners’ Company acts as his charity’s trustee.