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Open Doors Grants Programme

The Open Doors Grants Programme provides cash grants alongside intensive support delivered to recipients by a range of partner organisations. It is administered by Family Action and supported by our corporate partner NewDay.

Who can submit a grant application?

All applications must be made, on-line, by a Referral Partner Organisation of Family Action who has signed a contract with us. Only the following organisations are eligible to apply:

  • Adferiad Recovery
  • Bethany Christian Trust
  • Birmingham and Solihull Women’s Aid
  • Extern Northern Ireland
  • Family Action Services
  • Leeds Women’s Aid
  • Local Solutions
  • Richmond Fellowship
  • Riverside
  • Street Talk
  • Women @ the Well

Prior to submitting an application on behalf of an applicant you need to ensure they understand how the data will be used and to obtain their consent to their data being processed by Family Action, for the purposes of making an application for a grant from the Fund.  For full details please refer to the Terms and Conditions attached to the on-line application form.

Who cannot submit a grant application?

Only staff members who work at the organisations listed in the section above may apply for an Open Doors grant for their service users.

We do not accept applications directly from individual members of the public.

Current employees/volunteers of a Referral Organisation or their family members are not permitted or eligible to make an application for a grant under this Scheme.

Who is eligible for a grant?

We will consider applications for individuals and families who meet all the following criteria:

Organisation: Be a service user of Family Action or an authorised partner of the Open Doors programme.

Residency status: Have right of residency in the UK.

Income: Be in receipt of one or more of the means-tested benefits listed below:

  • Income-based JSA
  • Income-related ESA
  • Income Support
  • Universal Credit
  • Housing Benefit
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Pension Credit
  • Council Tax Support

* We recognise that there may be exceptional circumstances where an applicant is not currently in receipt of means-tested benefits at the time of submitting the application. If this is the case you will be expected to provide a detailed explanation on the application form and we may need to defer the application in order to ask for more information.

Be experiencing severe and multiple disadvantage: i.e. experiencing at least two of the following simultaneously at the time the application is submitted:

  • Serious mental health problems. (For the purposes of this grants programme a “serious mental health problem” is defined as a “clinical diagnosis” of a mental health problem.)
  • Homelessness/at imminent risk of being made homeless. (For the purposes of this grants programme “homeless” is defined as those sleeping rough, sofa surfing or living in temporary accommodation such a refuge, hostel or B&B or those who have moved into new accommodation within 9 weeks of the application being submitted immediately following a period of homelessness. Those at “imminent” risk of being made homeless is defined as those “threatened with homelessness within 28 days”.)
  • Domestic abuse
  • Sexual exploitation
  • Substance misuse
  • Frequent contact with the criminal justice system (but not in prison)

NOTE:  It is essential that the partner agency makes a good case for funding on the application form.  For example, if the service user is threatened with homelessness within 28 days we would expect this to be demonstrated in the text sections on the application form.

What items can be funded?

Grants are available for essential personal and household needs such as clothing, beds and cookers, smartphones, utility bills and rent deposits. Almost any essential need can be considered (with the exception of the exclusions below) if the application demonstrates that a positive difference will be made to the life of the applicant as a result of receiving a small grant.  The applicant will have to demonstrate that a small grant will make a significant difference in averting a “crisis” situation and that this can be sustained.

What items cannot be funded?

Grants are not available for: daily living expenses (e.g. food and travel), rent due or rent arrears, education or training needs; laptops/computers, business start-up or other employment costs; legal costs, recreational needs; council tax arrears; debts (except utility bills); fines; funeral expenses (including associated expenses, such as headstones); gifts (such as toys for birthdays, Christmas or other festivals); repayment of loans; bankruptcy; items already purchased; holidays and passport costs.

How much can be applied for?

The average grant is likely to be in the region of £250 to a maximum of £320.  If the applicant requires more than the maximum amount available from the Open Doors programme they will be asked to explain how the balance will be raised.

How many grants can I apply for?

One application can be made per family or individual in a 12 month period.

How do I make an application to the Open Doors grants programme for the first time?

  1. Enter your email address at the login page at You will be taken to the registration process. You will need to tell us some information about yourself, and verify that you can receive emails to the address that you specified.
  2. Once set up is complete you can log in and make applications. Click “Create a new Open Door application” and complete the application form.
  3. The application is saved automatically as you move from one page to another. If you wish to save your application form and return to it later click the save button on the last screen completed.
  4. You will need to upload evidence that shows the applicant is receiving means-tested benefits such as a recent Universal Credit Statement or a bank statement showing benefit(s) received. The evidence must show the applicant’s name as well as the benefit(s) received and must be less than 3 months old. You can upload a PDF file or an image (JPEG or PNG).
  5. Click “Submit” to send your application to Family Action. Note:  After you click “submit” you will not be able to make changes as you will no longer be able to access the application.

NOTE:  Once you have a password it can be used for all applications.  If you forget your password just follow the instructions on the screen to create a new password.

How do I return to an incomplete application or make another application?

  1. Press CTRL and click on the link provided above.
  2. Enter your email address and click on the link.
  3. When prompted, enter your password and click on the link.
  4. Either click on “create a new application” OR select an incomplete application by clicking on the application number to continue.

Will I be required to submit any documentation with the application form?

Yes, we will require evidence of means-tested benefits received such as a universal credit statement, showing the name of the applicant and details of benefits received that is less than 3 months old.

What do I do if I have problems with completing the application form, submitting the application or have questions about the grants programme?

Email the Grants Service at [email protected] detailing your problem and using screen grabs to illustrate your problem, if appropriate.  The grants service will get back to you as quickly as possible. We review all emails and if our automated response does not answer your questions we will reply individually and telephone if necessary if a contact number is provided.

We are only able to offer limited telephone support so in the first instance please email your enquiry to [email protected]. Our telephone helpline is currently open between 1pm to 3pm from Tuesday to Friday. Calls will not be taken outside these hours however you can always email us. 

What happens after I have submitted the application form?

  1. You will immediately receive an automated email providing you with a unique reference number for the application submitted (please quote this number in any future correspondence) and the date of the meeting at which the application will be considered by the grants panel.
  2. You will be informed of the grants panel’s decision, by email, within 2 working days of the meeting date at which the application is considered.
  3. If the grant application is successful a payment will be made by bank transfer before the end of the week following the meeting at which the application was considered. A remittance advice will be sent to the email address provided in the Partner Information Details form. Payment options for Family Action service users are detailed on the application form.
  4. If the grant application is deferred then you will have 2 weeks in which to provide the information asked for so that the application can be assessed. If the information has not been received within 2 weeks then the application may be made unsuccessful. If you wish to appeal this decision and can supply the information requested when the application was deferred we will be happy to reconsider our decision providing sufficient funds remain available. See below on how to appeal.

Will I be required to do anything after a grant has been awarded?

You will be asked to complete a short survey about the impact the grant has had on the individual/family. A link will be provided in the email telling you that the grant has been successful and will ask you to complete the survey within 4 weeks.

If, after 4 weeks, the survey has not been completed we will send you another email reminding you that the survey needs to be completed.

How do I appeal an unsuccessful application?

The majority of unsuccessful applications are because the applicant does not meet our eligibility criteria so it is very important to check these before taking the time to submit an application.  The other key reason is because funds are not available – we have allocated all the funds.

If your grant application is unsuccessful and you would like us to review our decision we are happy to do so on receipt of an email detailing the reasons why you feel a review is required.  In your email please provide the unique reference number of the application in the subject line of the email and send it to [email protected]  We will respond to each review request individually as soon as we can which will usually be within 7 working days.

Please note we will only enter into correspondence with the referring agency that submitted the application. 

Enquiries and contact details

Email:             [email protected]

Post:               With regret we are unable to acknowledge or respond to postal enquiries unless an email address is provided.

Phone:           07816 408119 on Tuesday to Friday from 1pm to 3pm. Calls will not be taken outside these hours however you can always email us.

NOTE:  The grants service is open between 9.00 a.m. and 3.00 p.m from Tuesday to Friday.  The grants service is closed on Mondays