What could you do with £5,000?

A speech bubble containing a lightbulb

Watch out for our next funding round, late April 2024.

We’ve probably all dreamed of a £5,000 windfall - that holiday in the sun you’ve always wanted, a posh new carpet, contributions towards your next new car.

How about giving autistic students a positive experience of education and setting them on course for life?

When we proposed the idea of offering small awards of just £5,000 to secondary schools and colleges, some were sceptical. What could schools do with just £5,000?

It turns out - quite a lot!

Over the past three years, Sheila Coates Foundation has run seven rapid impact rounds in regions across England. Our aim has been to fund really practical activities that can be put in place quickly, so we ask schools and colleges to be creative and we’ve kept the process simple. Since 2021 we have awarded £1,363,000 helping 355 schools and colleges supporting over 13,000 autistic students

We’ve funded some amazing initiatives from schools and colleges. Many have set up sensory or safe spaces - ranging from refurbished classrooms, to outdoor cabins, to roof-top gardens.

A planter containing plants

Funding additional hours for staff has meant supporting autistic students in breakfast and lunch clubs or after school activities - things that previously they couldn’t or chose not to access. Some schools and colleges have just wanted more resources such as laptops, reader pens or sensory equipment. But we have also funded really unusual activities like a course at a climbing wall, or an awareness-raising video made by autistic young people.

£5,000 can go a long way.

A person climbing on a climbing wall

It’s great to read the range of applications, but even better is hearing about the impact of our funded activity. We love impact time! Schools and colleges let us know about the difference Sheila Coates Foundation funding has made, this is both heartwarming and impressive.

Where we funded sensory spaces, autistic students can see the benefit.

“It's a place where I feel calm when my day is loud and busy.”

After SCF-funded training, a group of autistic girls reflected:

A quote in a speech bubble

Our funding really helped staff develop their understanding of autism:

“the training has really changed my perspective on autism, I feel I am in a better position to identify autistic students I might have missed or assumed were getting on fine before.”

Read more stories from schools.

Watch out for our next funding round late April 2024.

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