The Justice System and Penal Reform


To be eligible for our open programme, an applicant will:

  • Work in one of our priority areas
  • Be registered as a UK charity, delivering work in the UK
  • Have an annual income between £150k and £1.5m
  • Have operated for at least a year and be able to provide a full year’s audited or independently examined accounts


  • Individuals
  • The promotion of religion
  • Capital appeals
  • Academic research
  • Charities with large national links

Please see here for information on the organisation and work that we have funded in the past

The A B Charitable Trust works with organisations which do any or all of the following:

  • Deliver services to improve outcomes for individuals (and their families) who are in the justice system (at any stage, from contact with police to courts and prison)
  • Support effective rehabilitation in the community
  • Work to influence policy and to reform the justice system
  • Strengthen the sector and support organisations delivering work in this area

We usually fund single focus organisations working solely in this priority area. For these organisations, core funding (unrestricted grants) or project funding (restricted grants) are both available. Please apply for the type of grant which would most benefit your organisation at the current time.

On occasion we also accept restricted grant applications from organisations working more broadly, where the project is particularly focused, forms a significant strand, and the organisation can show it is best placed to deliver the work.

What we look for in partner organisations

For us, a good organisation:

  • Delivers effective work and can demonstrate the difference it makes
  • Listens to the people it seeks to support about their needs, and amends its work accordingly
  • Engages the talents of people who have experienced the problems it exists to address
  • Is well run, makes best use of resources and follows best practice (e.g. in governance, financial management, DEI, safeguarding)
  • Works well with others in the geographical or policy area (is happy to combine knowledge and resources where helpful and avoids duplication)
  • Shares knowledge where possible (e.g. with colleagues in the sector, or to influence attitudes to an issue or to influence policy)
  • Would make best use of a grant (i.e. where the grant would make a positive difference)

This is not a checklist but reflects our wish to work with partners who aim to follow best practice and achieve real impact. We are likely to be most interested in applications from organisations who are achieving or consciously making steps towards the above.

Visit our grantholders page for information on the organisations and work that we have funded in the past.


Open Programme application breakdown 2020/21

Total applications


Eligible applications


Grants awarded


Open Programme grant amounts


Largest grant 2020/21


Average grant 2020/21


Smallest grant 2020/21

Information we require

During the online application process, we ask you to provide:

1. Application form

Basic information about your organisation, finances and your request for funding through a four-page application form (the questions in the form can be reviewed here).

2. Other documents

a. 2-page document which summarises your organisation and activities. This should include, for example, background, aims and objectives, activities and achievements. If you are applying for a restricted project you should include a budget. If your proposal is for a Special Initiative or Anchor by invitation, you may exceed the two-page maximum for your proposal.

b. Financial information including most recent audited/ examined financial accounts, current financial year figures, and projection (if your financial year is ending within the next 4 months).

c. A copy of your governing document/ constitution, and your safeguarding policy.

Please note we only accept complete applications submitted through our online application form.

Following your application, we will contact you directly if we require any further information, which may include a phone call as part of the assessment.

Making the application

When you are ready to make an application, click on the apply button at the bottom of this page.

The form does not have to be completed within one session. If you choose to ‘save and resume later’, then you will be provided with a link so you can return to the page within 30 days. The attachments will not be saved between sessions, and so should be attached in your final session, before you submit (and a copy saved locally). If you have any difficulties submitting large files, please contact us directly.

We are proud to be working with 360Giving to share information about our grant making. Please note that if we offer you a grant, we will publish as open data information relating to the grant and your organisation.

Decision making

All grant decisions are made at the absolute discretion of the Trustee Directors.

Our Grants Committee meets four times a year to assess and decide upon grant applications. The application deadlines for 2022/23 are as follows:

Application deadlines for 2022/23

30th October 2022

Decisions in January 2023

29th January 2023

Decisions in April 2023

30th April 2023

Decisions in July 2023

30th July 2023

Decisions in October 2023