Apply for disability grants and scholarships

Photo: Out in the community in Christchurch by Roger

A number of organisations in New Zealand make grants or award scholarships to disabled children, young people and adults. You could apply for help to pay for things like equipment, education and activities that increase your independence.

Organisations usually accept applications at certain times during the year. These are called funding rounds.

To support your application, you might need a letter from a health professional, teacher or social worker.

Here are some places to start.  

Grants for disabled people of all ages

If you need a vehicle or mobility or communication equipment

If you're not covered by ACC or not eligible for MoH funding, you could apply to Lottery Individuals with Disabilities. This fund provides grants for:

  • Vehicles and/or vehicle modifications.
  • Scooters and other outdoor mobility equipment.
  • Equipment to help with communication.

Lottery Individuals with Disabilities Grants (external website)

If you are a Cerebral Palsy Society member

You could apply for a grant under:

The Get This & That programme - for small items

Go to Get This & That Programme (external website)

Individual Grants - to help you or your family's independence, or quality of life

Go to Individual Grants (external website)

If you are a Blind Foundation member

You could apply for a grant from one of the funds the Blind Foundation manages.

There are specific funds for:

  • Children up to 12 years old who were blind before they turned 2 (Kindred Sharp Children’s Trust).
  • People in the Wellington region (Henderson Fund).
  • People in the Waikato region (Forsyth Fund).
  • Students in or starting tertiary education (Oppenheim Trust).
  • Equipment subsidies and rentals and other funding (Sir Arthur Pearson Memorial Fund).

Financial assistance from the Blind Foundation (external website)

If you are deaf or hard of hearing (external website)

The National Foundation for the Deaf Inc (NFD) website lists more than 20 scholarships and grants available. They include scholarships for Sign Language interpreting or teaching.

NFD scholarships and grants (external website)

Grants for disabled children and young people

If you are under 18

You or your family could apply to Variety New Zealand. They fund things like trikes, iPads, laptops, and mobility equipment for children and young people who are disabled or ill.

Apply to Variety for funding (external website)

If you are under 22 and live in the northern half of NZ

You or your family could apply to the Wilson Home Trust. The Trust has grants available for children or young people with a physical disability (and their family).  They include children’s equipment and activities, holiday accommodation, counselling and emergencies.

If you are under 21 and into sports

You or your family could apply to the Halberg AllSports Activity Fund. The Fund provides grants to disabled children and young people for sports equipment, lessons or coaching and camps.

AllSports (external website)

If you belong to NZ Federation of Deaf Children

You or your family could apply to the Federation for help with tutoring fees and assistive devices, and for scholarships and grants.

Financial assistance for deaf children (external website)

Community funding resources

Contact your public library

Public libraries have information about local and national organisations that make grants to individuals and groups. Look on your library’s website. You might get free access to funding databases such as givMe (see below).

Find a library near you (external website)

Contact your council

Councils have information about grants and funding schemes available for individuals and communities in their local area. Look on your council’s website in the services or community sections.

Find your local council (external website)

Contact a disability information centre

Disability information centres are experts on what’s available for disabled people in their community. They might also be able to help you with your application.

Find your nearest disability information centre 

givMe: Online database of 4000+ grants available for individuals

givMe is an online database with information about money available for:

  • Education, research and fellowships.
  • Arts, cultural and sporting activities.
  • Professional or personal development.

Look for givMe on your:

  • Public library’s website.
  • School, polytech, wananga or university library website.

If your library subscribes to givMe it should be free for you to use. You’ll need a library card number and PIN.

Visit the Generosity New Zealand website to see how givMe works.

More about givME (external website)

Givealittle

Givealittle is a website anyone can use to raise money for a specific cause or need. It’s called crowdfunding. People have used Givealittle to raise money for things like medical treatment and travel costs for themselves, a family member or a friend.

Find out more about Crowdfunding for New Zealanders (external website)

  Search Firstport

Search for your local disability information centre - they can help you fill out application forms and apply for grants.

Search information centres