Apply for disability grants and scholarships
Last updated on 20 June 2022
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 Ministry of Health (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.
If you are a Cerebral Palsy Society member
You could apply for a grant under:
The Get This & That programme - for small items
Individual Grants - to help you or your family's independence, or quality of life
If you are a Blind Low Vision NZ member
You could apply for a grant from one of the funds Blind Low Vision NZ 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 New Plymouth, Wanganui, Manawatu, Wairarapa, and Wellington regions (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).
If you are deaf or hard of hearing
The National Foundation for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (NFD) website lists more than 20 scholarships and grants available. They include scholarships for Sign Language interpreting or teaching.
Grants for disabled children and young people
Funding for speech and language therapy for children with Down syndrome
The UpsideDowns Education Trust provides funding for private speech and language therapy for children with Down syndrome in New Zealand.
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.
If you are under 22 and live in the Upper North Island
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 Activity Fund. The Fund provides grants to disabled children and young people for sports equipment, lessons or coaching and camps.
If you belong to Deaf Children New Zealand (DCNZ)
You or your family could apply to DCNZ for help with tutoring fees and assistive devices, and for scholarships and grants.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
Search for your local disability information centre - they can help you fill out application forms and apply for grants.