Recognising the
Work of Smaller

Sir Jules Thorn was a great humanitarian and whilst his endowment was provided primarily for medical research and medicine generally, he was content for some funds to be allocated to charities in response to appeals of a humanitarian nature. Accordingly, the Trustees allocate resources each year for such purposes.

The Ann Rylands Small Donations programme makes grants of up to £1,500 to support smaller charities across the UK providing support for older people, people with disabilities or others facing difficulties in their lives.

In normal times the Trust receives many more appeals than it can support and this has been exacerbated by Covid-19; which has imposed additional pressures on many charities and disrupted their normal income streams. In recent months the volume of applications to the Trust has been five times the usual level.

Given this unprecedented demand, it may take us longer than usual to respond to applications but, wherever possible, we aim to let applicants know the outcome within a month. It may be necessary to pause the online application system at some points to enable us to assess and respond to existing applications as efficiently as possible. If this is necessary, we will re-open the system as quickly as possible


Applications are only accepted from charities registered and operating within the UK. The Trust does not accept applications from individuals, faith-based charities, or from charities whose annual income exceeds £5 million.

Successful applicants are awarded grants of up to £1,500 towards the charity’s core costs or to support a specific project. This programme does not award multi-year funding or provide substantial sums for capital appeals.

Each case is considered on its merits and the Trustees’ policy is to spread the funds as widely as possible. Our funding criteria are deliberately broad to enable the Trust to support a range of charities working in areas that align with our mission. We nevertheless prioritise applications from charities which offer practical support for:

  • older people
  • people with disabilities or living with serious illness, or
  • people facing challenges with mental health, social exclusion, homelessness or other difficulties in their lives.

Examples of previous grants can be found on the Trust’s website.


All applications must be submitted using the online application form. Applications sent by letter or email will not be considered.

As part of the application process applicants will be asked to submit a copy of the charity’s most recent signed accounts, a bank statement dated from within the last 3 months, a budget if applying for funding for a specific project, and any other information considered relevant to the assessment of the application.

Before applying charities should ensure that they have read and comply with the guidelines for the programme.

We are very conscious of the level of work involved in applying for funding and would encourage charities to consider whether their work aligns with the priorities outlined above before submitting an application.

If successful, we ask grant recipients to confirm receipt of the donation by email. To minimise the workload for recipients, we do not wish to receive further reports or updates on the charity’s work.


There are no specific dates for submitting applications. Appeals may be made at any time and will be considered by the Trustees as soon as possible.

Not more than one application can be accepted within a period of 12 months.

There are no reporting requirements for awards made under this programme.  We don’t wish to be added to mailing lists for newsletters or marketing materials.

Applicants should contact the Trust, should they have any further questions on [email protected].

More information about previous awards given under this programme can be found on the Previous Awards section of our website.

Apply Here

Applicants should contact the Trust, should they have any further questions on [email protected]