Explore programme – FAQs

Who can apply for funding? 

Not-for-profit organisations (i.e. properly constituted organisations that do not distribute any of their profit by way of dividend) with an annual income of between £75,000 and £10 million, operating charitable activities within the UK. Additionally, we do not accept proposals from NHS trusts, hospitals, schools/colleges, statutory bodies including local authorities, and non-registered organisations without constitutions. Full eligibility criteria as below: 

  1. Be a not-for-profit with an annual income of between £75,000 and £10 million, operating charitable activities within the UK.
  2. Align to one of Comic Relief’s core themes: Children Survive & Thrive; Fighting for Gender Justice; A Safe Place to Be; Global Mental Health Matters. Applications addressing challenges related to disability outside of the themes specified above are also welcome, acknowledging the critical potential of digital technology in tackling this issue.
  3. Be able to name an individual/s who will take responsibility for leading the project.
  4. Be able to commit to full engagement with the programme and it’s time requirements. This includes a time commitment of 1-2 days per week, for 12 weeks, from the organisation’s project lead. They must evidence that the organisation’s board and senior team have approved this commitment
  5. Be able to identify a specific opportunity that the charity would like to address, and the beginnings of a rationale for why digital may present a solution. Applications referencing innovative back-end service delivery ideas, or ones that re-use existing technology, are welcome.
  6. Be able to identify and collaborate with service users affected by the stated problem.
  7. Be committed to and have a clear approach to equal opportunities and safeguarding.
  8. Be ready to begin the 12 week programme on one of the following dates:
    • Cohort 1 programme start: 20th July – 9th October
    • Cohort 2 programme start: 7th September – 27th November

What does the support programme involve? 

The programme will take you through user research, design and early prototyping. You will access all of the support via an online platform which will include a range of videos, written and peer learning activities. You will be expected to apply the skills and techniques that you are learning directly to your work throughout the programme.

What are the programme dates?

The programme offers a choice of two start dates: 20th July (with the programme finishing on 9th October) or 7th September (with the programme finishing on 27th November). Applicants will be asked to select their preferred date when filling out the form.

When do applications close?

We will be open for applications from Wednesday 20th May to midday UK time Monday 22nd June. We will not accept late proposals and strongly urge that you address any questions you have in order to complete your proposal and submit it in advance of the deadline.

If you are selected for Explore and expressed a preference to participate in the first cohort, please be advised that you will need to be ready to start the w/c July 20th as indicated above.

When will I hear from you?

We will be in touch with all applicants – both successful and unsuccessful – by Friday 10th July 2020.

How many grants are being awarded?

We anticipate that 40 to 50 grants will be awarded in total.

Please note that if successful you will receive funding from and be a grantee of CAST, not of Comic Relief or Paul Hamlyn Foundation.

Can I apply more than once?

Organisations may submit applications for multiple strategic areas, however, successful organisations will only be awarded one grant per organisation, regardless of how many applications are submitted.

How do the collaboration grants work?

Collaborator grants are for organisations that want to work together to develop a solution. By working together, you will have access to a broader audience to test and learn with, and be able to share learnings and any solutions with each other which may reduce wasted effort through duplication, and ensure an outcome that benefits more people. We will award grants to collaborations of two or more organisations of £7,500. The grant will be awarded to a single ‘lead’ organisation and it will be up to you how the grant is distributed and how you will share responsibilities for delivery.

For collaborations, do both organisations need to be represented at all learning sessions and workshops?

No, only the Project Lead or the individual nominated to participate in the programme, by the partner organisations will be required to represent the project at all learning sessions and workshops.

When will the grant money be paid?

The grant will be paid to each successful organisation once all contractual documents have been agreed and signed.

How can the grant money be spent?

The grant money is to cover the time you spend on the programme, and you should confirm your time commitment within your application. So long as you complete the programme we will consider the grant as having been spent.

Which financial or other reports will be required from grantees?

So long as you  complete the programme we will consider the grant as having been spent and will not require any financial reports. If for any reason you do not complete the programme, we may ask you to return part of the grant, in which case we would need a report showing the cost of the time you have spent on the programme to enable us to calculate an appropriate sum that you should return. 

Does all the grant money need to have been spent / accounted for by the end of the 12-week programme?

The grant money is to cover the time you spend on the programme, and you should specify how much time you are committing within your application. So long as you complete the programme we will consider the grant as having been spent. Completion of the programme will be contingent on participants using the online system that will be made available to track and reflect on progress.

Can I use the grant money to cover retrospective costs?

No. The grant money is to cover the time you spend on the programme, so can only be allocated to the time you are spending once the agreement is in place.

Who will judge the applications?

Applications will be evaluated by representatives from Comic Relief, Paul Hamlyn Foundation and CAST. 

The applicants will go through 2 phases of shortlisting and selection. The first phase will involve due diligence checks to confirm that you meet the basic criteria for the grant. The applicants who are shortlisted will then go through an assessment process with teams made up of assessors from CAST, Comic Relief and Paul Hamlyn Foundation. 

Who can I speak to about accessibility needs?

We aim to make this programme inclusive and accessible, giving all participants the opportunity to fully engage in all aspects of the programme. For inquiries about accessibility, please contact [email protected]

What is the time commitment required?

We anticipate a time commitment of 1-2 days per week, for 12 weeks, from the organisation’s project lead to go through the programme and apply the learning your own work. They must evidence that the organisation’s board and senior team have approved this commitment

Will cohort groups work together or individually?

The online learning journey must be undertaken and completed by the nominated individual from the selected organisation. There will also be opportunities to collaborate and share learnings with the cohort through peer learning sessions.

I am not able to apply online. What should I do?

If you would like to submit your application in a different format, you can download the application form as a google doc or PDF and email it to [email protected].

Can non-UK charities apply?

This opportunity is currently only available for registered UK charities and not-for-profit organisations.
We do not accept proposals from NHS trusts, hospitals, schools/colleges, statutory bodies including local authorities, and non-registered organisations without constitutions.

What is a safeguarding policy?

A safeguarding policy or safeguarding policy statement outlines what your organisation will do to keep your service users safe and how you will respond to risks and concerns. All organisations working with children and vulnerable adults must have a safeguarding policy. For safeguarding guidance and templates visit the NCVO, NSPCC or BOND websites. 

Who do I contact if I have a question about my application?

Please email [email protected], including ‘Explore programme query’ in the subject line.