Small grants for event accessibility – BSL/captions (2024)

Grant information and eligibility

Are you an NSUN user-led group member organising an online or in-person event in the next few months? NSUN is making five small grants of up to £150 available for British Sign Language (BSL) interpretation or palantypists (live captions) for your event.

Email us at and tell us about your group or organisation (who you are and what you do) and your event (outlining how it is user-/lived-experience led, and including the date/approximate date), and we can take it from there. There is no application process as such – you just need to meet the basic criteria, and we will agree the grants as they come in.

  1. You need to be a group led by and for the people you aim to engage, with a mental health or wellbeing aspect to your work
  2. Your group needs to be an NSUN user-led group member
  3. Your group can be based anywhere in the UK
  4. Your event needs to take place before the end of 2024
  5. You do not need to be constituted (for example, as a charity, or CIC) and you don’t need a bank account
  6. We can send you a short list of BSL interpreters/palantypists or you can use someone you know
  7. You are responsible for contacting the interpreter/palantypist, and making all arrangements
  8. We can offer up to £150 per group which should pay for a 1 hour event. Fees vary between interpreters/palantypists and between freelancers and agencies. Please note that for in person events there may be additional costs such as covering an interpreter’s travel expenses.

What we will do if we agree to make a grant

  1. We can put you in touch with the BSL interpreters we have previously worked with
  2. We can also send you a list of other BSL interpreters or palantypists
  3. Once your event has taken place you can either pay the interpreter/palantypist directly and send us an invoice, or they can invoice us directly. We can only pay invoices/reimburse up to £150.

Information on BSL/palantypist use for online events

It’s a great idea to have a BSLi at any online event that will be recorded for anyone to watch as this helps make sure it will be accessible to more people. For a closed event, you may want to ask for access requirements to determine whether or not a BSLi is needed.

You can see an example of a BSL interpreter at an online event by watching recordings of our livestreamed AGM events, for example our NSUN Members’ Event 2023 on surveillance and data sharing in mental health care. On Zoom or other online meeting platforms, you can “pin” a BSL interpreter to the screen so that their signing is visible to everyone. We can give you more tips on the process for both BSL and captions when you get in touch.

About NSUN membership

NSUN is offering five small grants to NSUN ‘user-led group’ members e.g. a user-led grassroots/community group or organisation run “by and for” people with shared identities or experiences. Examples of eligible members include lived experience-led peer support, mutual aid, campaigning or ‘service delivery’ groups/organisations working in and around mental health. If you are not already an NSUN member, you must sign up as a member (for free) before applying to receive a small grant.

NSUN is a network of grassroots, community mental health groups and people who have lived experience of mental distress, ill-health or trauma. NSUN connects, supports and amplifies the voices and work of the 6,000+ individuals and user-led groups that make up our membership. You can find out more about us here.