A down syndrome woman sat happily and independently on a bench

Our Community Fund

The Community Fund is now open!

Are you a person or organisation in Somerset who is passionate about inclusivity and wants to make a difference but needs a funding hand?

Discovery reinvests 51% of any surplus we make into organisations across Somerset to support the health and independence of autistic people and people with learning disabilities.

Businesses and public places often aren’t made with people with additional needs in mind, creating mental and physical barriers when people try to connect with their community. Pandemic restrictions have worsened the isolation for many.

Discovery’s Community Fund can help your organisation, or any other in Somerset, become autism and learning disability friendly. We provide grants for a wide range of projects that are well planned and will make life better for people. 

Who we fund:

  • Autistic adults or people with learning disabilities living in Somerset that have an idea.
  • An organisation based in Somerset that wants to be more autism or learning disability friendly.

It doesn’t matter who or what type of organisation you are, if you are passionate about helping autistic people and people with learning disabilities in Somerset get more from life, the fund can help you pay for adaptations, training, and other things so you become truly accessible to your whole community.

For example, we could fund:

• Areas of natural beauty to have an access audit and make the changes necessary so people can enjoy the outdoors more.

• Community transport providers to adapt vehicles to accommodate someone in a powered wheelchair.

• Local museums to redevelop their website, buy sensory aids, autism information packs and train front of house staff on how to support people with additional needs.

• Community centres or village halls to address sensory barriers by providing new signage and printed materials in accessible communication formats such as Easy Read booklets, audio guides, or British Sign Language.

• Charities that went online during the pandemic and want to continue.

• Arts or music venues to offer reduced or free access and a partnership with a local transport provider to offer free transport from rural areas.

And more…

There are three different grants available:

1. Small Sparks – a grant up to £500 to help autistic people and people with learning disabilities make their dream a reality.

2. Inclusion grants – up to £10,000 for local projects that are breaking down the barriers that autistic people and people with learning disabilities face taking part in community life. Such as adaptations to buildings, digital tools, specialist mobility aids, training for staff and other things.

3. Big Changes grants –up to £100,000 for strategic, countywide investments that will bring lasting changes for autistic people and people with learning disabilities

So, if you are passionate about being autism friendly and helping people with learning disabilities get more from life, you can apply for:

Inclusion Grants get started here.

Small Sparksget started here.

Big Changes – coming soon

A few of our grantees:

  • Somerset Nature Connections – £50,000 to enable people with learning disabilities and/or autism to have better access to the natural environment to improve their health and wellbeing.
  • OpenStoryTellers – to offer new ‘Get Connected’ hub drop-in sessions for autistic people and people with learning disabilities in and around Frome
  • Orchard Vale Trust – to provide courses in IT and online safety for people with learning disabilities across Somerset
  • PodPlus Frome – to expand their youth social club to over 18’s
  • Langport Church Community Trust – to provide a bi-monthly disco, with the aim to go weekly, specifically for adults with learning disabilities
  • Adventure Therapy – a grant of almost £33,000 to provide outdoor activities to adults with additional needs in Somerset. All of the activities are designed to improve mental health and wellbeing, improve vitality and create a sense of accomplishment.
  • Calvert Trust Exmoor – to provide adventure holidays for people with learning disabilities to experience abseiling, canoeing, horse carriage riding and more
  • Dunster Festival – an interactive musical experience for people with learning disabilities in Minehead
  • People First Dorset – to expand their ‘Our Voice’ sessions to Minehead and Street. These empower people with learning disabilities to talk about subjects that are important to them, and develop their ability to speak up and address concerns
  • Somerset and Avon Rape and Sexual Abuse Support – to expand their service in Bristol across the whole of Somerset
  • Somerset Cricket Foundation – To expand their seven disability hubs around the county, run healthy eating sessions, develop Somerset’s disability and visually impaired cricket teams, and pay for a disability development officer.
  • Somerset Wildlife Trust – To increase accessibility and run sessions for autistic people or people with learning disabilities.
  • Wellington Community Counselling – To create a service for autistic adults or people with mild learning disabilities, which would include monthly group sessions and 1:1 counselling with BACP registered counsellors.

To find out more about how the Community Fund helps make Somerset inclusive read the report here.

Our priorities for the Community Fund are set by our Social Enterprise.