Is my family eligible?

The Sandcastle Trust’s grants are available to families where an individual (or individuals) have been diagnosed with a rare genetic condition (single gene inheritance, mitochondrial inheritance or chromosome disorder) that affects less than 5 in 10,000 of the general population and that condition has had an enduring impact on family life.

At least one of the following must also apply:

  • The condition is degenerative;
  • The condition is life threatening;
  • The condition is life limiting;
  • The condition causes severe, chronic disability or illness; and/or
  • The condition results in complex health needs and/or learning disabilities that impact on the family’s choices, ability to access social opportunities and enjoy family life.

Families who have suffered a bereavement as a result of a rare genetic condition are also eligible to apply.

Please note that currently, due to funding limitations, we are unable to offer our support to those with an undiagnosed genetic condition.  We will keep this under review.

You can review our full eligibility criteria here.


I have a rare genetic condition.  Can I apply for a short break to take by myself?

We do not accept applications for activities taken by individuals with a rare genetic condition on their own.  Our mission is to support families living with a diagnosis of a rare genetic condition build positive family memories and strengthen their family relationships.  Therefore the activity must be for the benefit of the person with the diagnosis together with members of their immediate family.


Is there an age limit?

The Sandcaste Trust is unique in that access to our grants does not stop at age 18.  We recognise that families containing a young adult or a parent with a rare genetic condition need support too.


Is there an income limit?

Access to support from The Sandcastle Trust is not means tested and you do not need to be in receipt of benefits to apply.  However, we do ask for information on the household income in our application form.  This is because all our grants are discretionary and subject to available funding. We may therefore decide to prioritise an application over another where a family has a significant level of household income.


I have received a grant for a short break from another charity – can I also apply to The Sandcastle Trust?

When completing your application you will be asked if you have received support for a short break or holiday from another charity.  Please note that we share information with other grant giving and wish making organisations.

Our funds are limited and although having received support from another charity of a similar nature does not prevent you from applying to The Sandcastle Trust for a short break, priority will be given to families who are not eligible to receive this kind of support elsewhere.  We would therefore encourage you to apply for a special day trip or an annual attraction pass instead or provide an alternative special day trip or annual pass option on your application form in the event we are not in a position to award you a grant for a short break.


My family has received a grant from The Sandcastle Trust before – can we apply again?

The Sandcastle Trust can only consider one main grant application per family unless in exceptional circumstances, (i.e. bereavement). Please contact The Sandcastle Trust if you believe this applies.  This does not apply to additional schemes run by the Sandcastle Trust throughout the year, for example, the Sandcastle Santa scheme.  Families are welcome to apply every year to these schemes although funds are limited and preference will be given to families who have not received support from The Sandcastle Trust before.


I am a health professional.  Can I refer a family I am supporting?

We are keen to make our grant application process as straightforward as possible we are therefore happy to receive applications directly from families or from a supporting health professional.  We ask that the family also signs the application form if they are not applying directly.


How will I know if my application has been received?

We acknowledge all applications received via email (if you have supplied an email address on your application form).  If you have not received an acknowledgement then please email us at


How can I check on the progress of my application?

We acknowledge all applications upon receipt.  It can take up to 12 weeks to receive a decision on your application and we may well contact you within this time to request further information.  If 12 weeks have passed and you have not heard from us please email us at


How long does the application process take?

It will take up to 12 weeks to receive a decision on your application.  However, this timescale is approximate and not guaranteed. The actual time to deal with an application will depend on whether we need to request further information from you, the volume of applications we have and the funding available at any particular time.

Please note that if your application form is incomplete and/or does not include copies of the required documents, then your application will be returned to you for completion. We are unable to consider an application until it is received fully complete.  Please read the application form carefully and enclose copies of all requested documents.


Do you offer short breaks abroad?

When the Sandcastle Trust awards a grant towards a short break it can be redeemed with one of our supplier partners or alternatively we can contribute towards an element of a family trip you are planning yourself.  The Sandcastle Trust will never award cash grants.  Some of our supplier partners offer short breaks abroad and a Sandcastle Trust grant can put used towards this.  However, the level of the grants we award are very unlikely to fund the entirety of the cost of a break abroad.


Do you help with travel arrangements?

The Sandcastle Trust does not usually provide assistance with travel.  However, please indicate on your application form if you anticipate having problems with travel which may affect your ability to access a short break or special day trip.  This can be looked at when considering your application.


My family has been awarded a short break.  How do we book this?

Follow the instructions on your award letter.  You will need to pick which one of our supplier partners you would like to redeem you break with and we will then provide you with a voucher so that you can contact them and arrange your break directly.  If you have any problems doing this please email us at


My family has been awarded a grant – can extended family such as grandparents and cousins be included?

We cannot arrange for additional people to take part in a special day or short break unless an additional carer is required.  If this is the case please provide full details in your application form along with supporting documentary evidence.  However, we can provide all the details so that other members can make their own arrangements to join in with the special day or short break at their own expense.


Terms & Conditions

You can download our full terms and conditions here.

How do I get more information?

Please email us at

Please accept our apologies if we have not been able to answer your question. If you would like to speak to us, please do not hesitate to give us a call on 01737 559 317 or email us at We would love to hear from you and are always happy to answer any questions you have.