Rapid Impact Fund

Our rapid impact fund Round 8 is now closed. It offered funding of £5,000 to mainstream secondary schools and colleges across England to support the mental health and well-being of autistic students.

We will continue to offer funding opportunities in the future so please check the website for news or subscribe here.

Support for autistic young people in mainstream education is highly variable. Quick, responsive solutions can make a difference - especially where there has been collaboration with autistic students.

SCF’s rapid impact fund releases small awards to address real issues facing autistic students in a short time frame. Between 2021 and 2023 seven rapid impact rounds helped over 12,500 autistic students in over 350 schools and colleges to access mainstream education.

After SCF rapid impact funding, upwards of 97% of schools reported an impact after even 5 months. Quick, practical solutions can make a difference. Read more here.

What is the application process like?

We recognise that schools and colleges are busy places. We’ve designed a straightforward application process to minimise paperwork and maximise impact for autistic students.

When a round opens we ask you to:

  • Tell us your idea. Complete a quick and simple application form.
  • We’ll let you know if you are successful within two months of the round launching.

If you are successful, we ask you to

  • Sign our terms and conditions document.
  • Send us your bank details.

We want you to get funding as soon as possible, and the sooner you send us information the sooner the funds will be released. This can happen quickly, we aim for this to be within ten working days of you providing the required information.

Then you are ready to put your ideas into action!

What type of activities do we fund?

  • Support for autistic young people’s mental health and access to mainstream education
  • Resources and/or implementation support
  • Ideas which are quick to put in place and will have an impact within 6 months

We are particularly interested in initiatives that have an impact across schools/colleges beyond the autism team. Funding cannot be used for projects which need time to plan and set-up or that require time-consuming processes like recruitment before activity can begin.

We prioritise applications which involve co-production or collaboration with autistic young people.

We look to fund innovative, creative solutions. The following are just ideas of what we might fund


By this we mean things you can purchase or commission to help autistic students. For example:

  • Resources and equipment to support engagement with school or learning, or with well-being. This could be anything, from Lego to laptops; fidget toys to specialist software
  • Educational, psychological or therapeutic programmes and interventions, such as music, art, animal therapy or counselling
  • Training for staff or work with parents, carers or families

Implementation support

By this we mean money to make things happen. For example:

  • Additional staff time to run activities that support inclusion and engagement in education for young people. From art clubs and yoga sessions to breakfast or lunchtime clubs, our funding is led by what young people tell us helps them feel they ‘belong’ in school
  • Initiatives that support transition between key stages, phases or lessons - such as peer mentoring or buddying
  • Additional time for staff to attend or deliver staff development activities such as mentoring or action learning
  • The costs of running an event, or an activity led by autistic young people such as a training film created by autistic students to increase staff understanding of autism

Places and spaces

By this we mean ‘safe’ indoor or outdoor spaces that can be developed or refurbished to help autistic students during unstructured or structured time. For example:

  • The development of outdoor areas such as sensory gardens, vegetable plots, roof gardens and even yurts!
  • Indoor sensory spaces, filled with comfortable seating, soft furnishings and specialist equipment such as cushions, weighted blankets and rugs and calm lighting
  • Refurbishment, for example painting and decorating safe spaces, creating mood murals to remind students how to self-regulate

Read more examples of the activities we have funded.