Our Access Without Limits Community Funding is now open for applications until January 2026. Grant funding of up to £10,250 is available for eligible community and voluntary organisations to set up and deliver the DofE, as well as the enrolment costs for young people taking part.

We not only offer grant funding but support organisations every step of the way. This includes training for your staff and volunteers, a dedicated member of our staff working collaboratively to support everything from training, mentoring, reporting and monitoring the progress of young people on their DofE journey.

Hear from Leaders and participants in some of the organisations we have already funded:

Grant Guidance for Community Organisations Blog


Take a look at the organisations across the UK that are part of the Access Without Limits Community Funding Programme, delivering DofE to their young people:

Who does this fund support?

Applicants must be a Voluntary and Community organisation (VCO) that fits into either of the following criteria:

1. Delivery location is in a top 20% area of deprivation (IMD 2 or below),

2. Organisations where the majority of their young people are from one or more of the following marginalised groups:

    • Those who have additional needs
    • Those who are deemed ‘at risk’*
    • Those who receive Free School Meals (FSM)
    • Those who are eligible for Pupil Premium (PP), Pupil Equity Funding or the 16- 19 Bursary.
    • Young people at risk of exclusion from education
    • Those who are looked after or in care.
    • Young people who are responsible for caring for someone else
    • Parents under the age of 18
    • Young people whose first language is not English, Welsh or Gaelic
    • Asylum seekers
    • Refugees
    • Young people in custody

*By ‘At risk’ we mean any young person who may be vulnerable due to, for example, their age, mental health, disability, illness, gender, race, religion or belief, sexual orientation, economic status or who may be unable to protect themselves from abuse.

How to know if you are eligible

1. Organisations must be an incorporated not for profit / Voluntary and Community organisation (VCO), registered with Companies House or the Charities Commission. Types of eligible VCO’s would include:

  • Charitable Incorporated Organisations (CIOs) registered with the Charities Commission.
  • Charitable Companies, registered with both Companies House and the Charity Commission.
  • Community organisations who are Companies Limited by Guarantee (CLG) with no share capital and are registered with Companies House.
  • Organisations with other governance structure should contact us to discuss their eligibility.

2. There must be at least five Trustees/Directors for organisations registered within England and Wales, and three Trustees/Directors for those registered within Northern Ireland and Scotland, to ensure organisations are in line with statutory requirements and best practice. We will consider organisations with 3 or 4 directors/trustees in England, on a case-by-case basis. 

3. Organisations have been established for at least one year.

4. Organisations must have a bank account in the organisation’s name, with two or more unrelated signatories.

5. Any reserves accrued by organisations are used to support your organisation (i.e., not for profit.) Organisations may be required to submit a copy of their governing document, which shows a charitable / not for profit purpose.

6. Organisations produce annual accounts. Please note – we will ask for copies of your full profit and loss accounts and a copy of your audit or independent examiners report, if available.

7. Organisations must have appropriate minimum standards in place to adhere to DofE licencing requirements. This includes:

  • A safeguarding and/or child protection policy
  • A health and safety policy
  • Insurance documentation
  • Equal opportunities policy
  • An offsite visits policy (or similar).
  • To become a directly licenced centre (DLC), organisations must be incorporated.

8. The organisation is willing / able to contribute towards the reduced DofE licence fee (Year 1 will be fully covered by the grant, and 50% in year 2).

9. We will need details of two contacts as part of your application, one of whom will be the legally responsible contact for any grant awarded; these must also be unconnected.


*Please note that all applications will undergo a due diligence check and organisations will be asked to produce documentation, including safeguarding policies and profit and loss accounts. We will review the information supplied alongside publicly available data. This is to make sure that the information is correct and there are no significant risks we can identify when awarding grants.

What does this fund support?

Grants of up to £10,250 are available to help Voluntary and Community Organisations set up and support their young people to take part in the DofE.

The funding can be tailored to the organisation’s needs, with most of the funding for year one to establish the project. Examples of what could be included in the funding package are:

  • A contribution to the DofE Licence Fee or Operating Authority fee.
  • Participation places for young people to enrol on the DofE.
  • Training bursaries for adult leaders – such as National Governing Body Qualifications that relate to DofE delivery.
  • Participant bursaries for one-off Approved Activity Provider (AAP) costs, relating to the Expedition section.
  • Equipment for the expedition, or other sectional activities.
  • Staffing costs (up to 1/3 of the total grant)

A full breakdown of how the grant can be used is in our External Guidance Document.

Equipment and Training

Equipment is likely to be key to setting up the DofE, whether for the expedition, or other sections of the award. The funded equipment purchased must be owned and retained by the organisation and should be loaned but not given permanently to participants. All items should be purchased within 12 months of receiving funding. Invoices/receipts will be requested at the end of the year.

We can only fund reusable equipment. Requesting to fund single-use or disposable items, such as gas canisters, will cause grant applications to be rejected.

Training will also be key, and the DofE have courses available to help you get set up to deliver the award. Your Operations Officer will be able to give you further information on these. The funding can also be used towards training adult leaders; to enable delivery of the Expedition, Volunteering, Skills, or Physical sections of the Award, for example through National Governing Body qualifications.

Key dates

The funding for Community Organisations opened for applications in July 2022.

The fund will close to applications on January 2026, and all grants must be spent by 31 March 2026.

Application process

Step 1: Contact your DofE Operations Officer to find out more.

Step 2: If you are eligible, complete the DofE Licence Due Diligence process.

Step 3: Once the due diligence process is complete, apply for a DofE licence.

Step 4: Once you have a DofE licence, fill in the grant application form with the support of your Operations Officer.

Step 5: Submit your application form using the guidance document, which your Operations Officer will supply. You will also need to read and confirm you agree to the DofE’s Terms and Conditions.

Step 6: Your application will be reviewed, and you will receive an email confirming whether it has been successful or not.

Step 7: If successful, use your grant in line with the agreement, making sure you keep copies of all receipts/invoices.

Step 8: Complete an interim and end of year report by the dates stated on your application form.

Reporting Requirements

Successful DofE Licensed Organisations will be required to complete an interim and final report by the dates stated on their application form, detailing how their grant has supported young people from marginalised backgrounds to do their DofE and the impact this has had.

Please note, we also require a summary of financial spend and the submission of evidence of expenditure.

For further Information, please contact your local Operations Officer or email Georgina Harper, VCO Programmes Manager, for further guidance or support.


The Access without Limits Funding for Community Organisations is generously supported by Julia and Hans Rausing.

Read about DofE participants who have been positively impacted by the Access Without Limits Funding:

DofE enabled Summer to discover a new side of herself READ MORE
Naeema’s confidence grows through her DofE READ MORE
DofE allows Mia to share her love of books with others READ MORE

Opportunity Finder

This link opens an external site. All content is not affiliated with DofE. Please click proceed if you understand these risks.